Boy (15) and garda win 100th Liffey Swim races

Water ‘a little murky with a lot of seaweed’ amid pollution warning for the river

A 15-year-old boy and a 38-year-old garda, both from Co Meath, were the winners of this year’s Liffey Swim.

Teenager Mark Hanley, who is a member of the North Dublin Swimming Club, claimed first place in the men's event.  Sinead Delaney, who swims with the Phoenix Club in Clondalkin, won the women's event.

Billy Keogh (61) of Sandycove Swimming Club finished second in the men's event. Sarah Keane, Olympic Council of Ireland president and chief executive of Swim Ireland, from Clontarf Swimming Club, finished second in the women's  race.

Swimmers are given a time handicap depending on their level of proficiency, accounting for discrepancies in finish times.


Over 600 swimmers took part in the 100th Liffey Swim, despite a level of pollution recorded in the Dublin river this week which would close bathing spots covered by water quality regulations.

Speaking after the event, Mark Hanley, from outside Laytown, Co Meath said he was feeling "tired but proud".

“I don’t think anyone goes in expecting to win and I certainly wasn’t,” he said.

The 15-year-old took part in the Liffey Swim last year and has been swimming competitively since he was seven. He said water conditions “didn’t put him off”.

“I actually thought it was cleaner this year than last year, less gunk on the top. It was easier to swim through."

Delaney, from Dunboyne, Co Meath, finished in first place alongside her mother Joan, who also finished in the top 10  for the women's event.

“I’m absolutely delighted, I can’t believe it, just absolutely over the moon...I really didn’t expect this,” she said.

Delaney, who is based at Garda headquarters in the Phoenix Park, took part in her first Liffey Swim 25 years ago, aged 13, alongside her mother.

"I was trying to do it on my own and she says 'mam can I come along with you'. I thought I'd have time on my own and I said 'oh come on then' so we've being doing it ever since," said Joan Delaney.

“I mean everyone’s pure desire is to win the Liffey and to win the 100th, it’s out of this world, it’s great.”

Both women said the water was “a little murky with a lot of seaweed”, but that the crowds gathered for this year’s event were “brilliant”.

“The organisers did a fantastic job with the publicity this year, it’s a huge honour to be part of it, never mind win it. It’s spectacular,” Delaney added.

Sarah Burns

Sarah Burns

Sarah Burns is a reporter for The Irish Times