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Sunday 17 December 2017

Swimmers to brave Liffey for 90th year

Breda Heffernan

THERE aren't as many shopping trolleys to dodge these days, however most people would still recoil at the prospect of dipping a toe in the River Liffey.

Yet a hardy group of swimmers had no qualms about testing the murky waters yesterday ahead of this weekend's annual Liffey Swim.

Now in its 90th year, around 350 men and women are due to take part on Saturday and cover the 2.2km course from Watling Street Bridge near the Guinness brewery to the finish line at Custom House Quay.

Entrants must complete a number of open sea swims before they can take part and a handicap system is used with time penalties based on ability.

Dublin Lord Mayor Gerry Breen will get them underway, however he won't be donning his trunks just yet.

"I like floating not swimming. It would be too cold for me," he joked yesterday.

Father and son, Pat and Daire O'Driscoll from Rathfarnham, will be hoping to repeat their successful swims last year which saw them win the race overall and record the fastest time respectively.

"I started swimming the Liffey Swim in 1968 and I've competed almost every year since 1968 so it was a big, big thing for me to win last year. I was very pleased, after more than 40 years, that I got there in the end," said Pat.

"If you hit something you don't really stop to check what it is," quipped Daire.

Meanwhile Phibsboro firefighter Rachel Lee will be competing in her 13th Liffey Swim and said she and her colleagues have become all too familiar with the river.

"Last week we were doing a drill down the Liffey and we have had rescues. But it's part of our job, part of our life," she added.

Irish Independent

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