First held in 1991 to celebrate the Silver Jubilee of the ILDSA, the event has been running every year with great success for 22 years (2012).
As the Silver Jubilee year approached the committee agreed that something would have to be done to celebrate the anniversary and a special event seemed the most appropriate and Lough Erne was suggested as a good venue.
In 1990 a meeting was arranged with Fermanagh District Council and several committee members travelled to Enniskillen to meet Mr Rodney Conor, the CEO at the Town Hall.
The event was outlined and discussed with Mr. Conor who was keen to have such a swim in Lough Erne. A distance similar to that of the British Championship was favoured and after looking at a map of Lough Erne, a course from Carrybridge to Enniskillen seemed to present the required distance. The course was safe and sheltered for most of the way. An engineer from the DOE measured the course at 17km (10.55 miles).
At a later date the committee again travelled to Fermanagh where the Council provided a boat and driver to take the committee on the water so they could approve the course.
The Championship has attracted swimmers from North and South of Ireland, England, Scotland, USA, Australia and Europe, and the ILDSA has recently been granted approval from Swim Ireland to name it the Irish Championship and many swimmers use the event as training preparation for the English Channel and other long swims.
Fermanagh District Council and their officers have given great support over the years as have Waterways Ireland, and it would have been difficultto have run the event for so long without their help and support, and for that the ILDSA is extremely grateful.
After the Championship each year a dinner is provided for swimmers, canoeists, boatpeople and everyone connected with the swim. This is followed by the presentation of awards and a social evening.