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Tuesday 20 August 2019

Liffey Swim 2019: Women's race winner 'completely overwhelmed' with victory 25-years after first taking part

Sinead Delaney is congratulated by her mum, Joan after finishing in first place in the ladies section of the swim in Dublin
Picture credit; Damien Eagers / INM
Sinead Delaney is congratulated by her mum, Joan after finishing in first place in the ladies section of the swim in Dublin Picture credit; Damien Eagers / INM

Aoife Walsh

The winner of the women's leg of the 100th Liffey Swim "wasn't expecting to win" the race after taking part for the first time 25 years ago.

38-year-old Sinead Delaney, of Phoenix Swimming Club in Clondalkin, was over the moon after winning the ladies’ race.

Sinead swam alongside her mother, Joan Delaney, who she has participated in the annual Liffey Swim with for the last two decades.

"I'm completely overwhelmed, I'm absolutely delighted. I'm thrilled.

Sinead Delaney is congratulated by her mum, Joan after finishing in first place in the ladies section of the swim
Picture credit; Damien Eagers / INM
Sinead Delaney is congratulated by her mum, Joan after finishing in first place in the ladies section of the swim Picture credit; Damien Eagers / INM
Swimmers pose for a picture after competing in the Liffey swim in Dublin. Picture credit; Damien Eagers / INM
Rachel Lee, from Malahide, is congratulated by her sons, Bruce, left and Rex after competing in the Liffey swim in Dublin. Picture credit; Damien Eagers / INM
Mark Hanley (15) celebrates after finishing in first place in the men's section of the swim in Dublin Picture credit: Damien Eagers / INM
Sinead Delaney celebrates after finishing in first place in the ladies section Picture credit; Damien Eagers / INM
Declan Culliton, pictured before competing in the Liffey swim in Dublin Picture credit; Damien Eagers / INM
Competitors pictured before competing in the Liffey swim in Dublin Picture credit; Damien Eagers / INM
3/8/2019, Sinead Delaney, from Dunboyne, co. Meath celebrates after coming in first place in the ladies section of the Liffey swim in Dublin. Picture credit; Damien Eagers / INM
Competitors compete in the Liffey swim in Dublin. Picture credit; Damien Eagers / INM
Ladies go through a shower after finishing the Liffey swim in Dublin Picture credit; Damien Eagers / INM
Sinead Delaney is congratulated by her mum, Joan after finishing in first place in the ladies section of the swim in Dublin Picture credit; Damien Eagers / INM
A Swimmer in the Liffey swim in Dublin. Picture credit; Damien Eagers / INM
Competitors go through a shower after finishing the Liffey swim in Dublin Picture credit; Damien Eagers / INM

"I wasn't expecting to win. I did my first Liffey Swim 25-years-ago, when I was thirteen. It was all thanks to my mam that I got into swimming in the first place. It's a race I think everyone wants to win. I'm overwhelmed that I won, I actually can't believe it."

"When I dived in I knew I had to catch mam and there's another girl, Catherine Fenton, I knew they were ahead and I knew I'd have to do everything to catch them. I was hoping for top ten, and then I passed them maybe just before O'Connelll bridge.

"I just thought the race was never going to end, it was the longest and hardest race I've ever done," she said.

Rachel Lee Healy, a firefighter with the Dublin Fire brigade, helped set up the race on Saturday morning before ditching her uniform for a pair of togs and taking part herself for the 18th time.

"I'm delighted now. It was quite dirty, a lot of stuff in it, but no I was delighted. I really enjoyed it. I'm a fire fighter with the fire brigade so we were setting up this morning, and set up the river rescue. I'm going back now to sort it all out. It's all part of it. I take part every year, it's great fun."

In the men's race,  15-year-old Mark Hanley swam his way to victory.

Capture (2).jpg
Mark Hanley (15) celebrates after finishing in first place in the men's section of the swim in Dublin Picture credit: Damien Eagers / INM

Earlier this week, a burst of heavy rainfall in Dublin caused sewer debris to seep into the Liffey, prompting Dublin City Council (DCC) to test the water quality in the run-up to the landmark event.

The council said Irish Water was also made aware of an overflow or discharge of sewage from the sewer network. It said the discharge may have been active for some days before it was rectified but added that the utility company had told them the matter had been resolved.

"The results are exceptionally poor and significantly exceed the maximum permitted levels for designated bathing waters," a council spokesperson said. "Due to the fact the annual Liffey Swim is scheduled to take place, DCC has notified the HSE and the event organisers of these sample results.

"Unfortunately, it is not possible to get any more up-to-date samples taken and tested in advance of the event. The river Liffey is not a designated bathing water location".

Speaking about the quality of the Liffey water, Mark said: “It was grand, I actually think it was cleaner this year than last year. Less gunk on the top."

 In a statement, Liffey Swim organisers said they were aware of the water quality concerns, but said further high tide overnight with dilute contaminants in the water.

"All involved know there are risks associated with sea swimming but we understand a lot of people are very excited about swimming tomorrow," they said.

"We urge all 650 swimmers to read the HSE advice and to make their own individual decision about participating in the race."

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