THE popular Pickie to Pier swim will return with a splash later this month as over 200 swimmers compete to secure the coveted Bangor sea-swimming crown.

Swimmers will be on their marks as they brave the salty depths on Saturday, June 24 at 2pm, as they make the 800m swim from Skipperstone Beach, just past Pickie playpark, to the RNLI slipway at Bangor Marina.

After a 30 year absence, Open House Festival’s Seaside Revival team breathed new life into the historic swim as part of their 2019 celebrations.

The swim is now a regular summer event with hundreds of onlookers gathering at both the starting and finish lines to cheer the swimmers on as they make their way across the bay.

Last year’s race was won by Jessika Robson, who successfully defended her 2021 win with a time of nine minutes 15 seconds. In a very tight race, Jessika’s sister Holly Robson finished in second place at nine minutes 25 seconds, and third placed Sian Clements was just 20 seconds behind Holly.

Participants must be over 16 years of age, and confident, experienced swimmers who are capable of swimming 1000m within 30 minutes. The route will be supported in the water by kayaks, ribs and paddleboards.

Kieran Gilmore, Open House director, was delighted to announce the welcome return of this popular summer event. “We are thrilled that the Pickie to Pier Swim has become a staple summer event in Bangor once again.

“It’s as popular now with spectators as it is with swimmers, and we’re looking forward to seeing crowds of people at Skippingstone Beach and along the pier cheering the competitors on.”

Kieran paid tribute to everyone behind the scenes who help to make the swim such a success. “We couldn’t run the event without the help and support of so many people, including Ballyholme Yacht Club, Kevin Baird at We are Boat Folk, the safety crews manning the route on boats, kayaks and paddle boards, and our local RNLI.

“Special thanks to all the local businesses supporting the event, and of course to our own Open House volunteers who’ll be making sure everything runs smoothly on the day.”

For the second consecutive year, prizes will be presented by Cosimac Ltd, the Bangor-based outdoor clothing company which specialises in swimming robes and towels.

The firm will present a £100 Cosimac Dippers Bundle to the first swimmer home, a Cosimac hooded poncho towel to the runner up, and a Cosimac changing mat bag to the swimmer in third place.

The participant’s swimming caps are sponsored by Bangor business consultancy, Rockpool Insights ltd., and the post swim snacks will be provided by Eurospar Gransha Road and ASDA Bangor. All participants will receive a medal for completing the course.

Angela Skarmoutsos of Cosimac said: “As a local Bangor brand, we’re delighted to be supporting this brilliant event once again. It fits perfectly with the Cosimac ethos to get into the water and have an adventure.
“We are so grateful to Open House for bringing this joyful event back to Bangor again and wish all the swimmers the best of luck.”