Lee Swim ends in double victory for Cork family

Young triathletes Chris and James Mintern come out on top in 2km river swim


Swimming can often be a very solitary pursuit but this year’s Vibes and Scribes Lee Swim in Cork which attracted thousands of spectators proved very much a family affair for the Mintern family.

Eldest son, Chris (21) won the main non-wetsuited category for the second year in a row when he completed the 2km course through the centre of Cork in a time of 22 minutes and six seconds.

But while Chris won out in the non-wetsuited category, he was pipped on the line by his younger brother, James (15), who finished in 22 minutes to win the wetsuited category.

Completing a remarkable day for the Mintern family from Pouladuff Road on Cork’s southside were father, Declan (52), and youngest son, Seán (13), with all being cheered on by their mother, Jackie.

A former boxer, Declan Mintern told The Irish Times that all three of his sons are keen triathletes with Chris representing Ireland internationally and James being on an Ireland development squad.

“All three are very serious about their sport so they’re swimming a lot as part of their training – Chris won the Lee Swim last year so he was really looking forward to this year’s event.

“Obviously to have Chris win the non-wetsuited category and James win the wetsuited category was great and we’re very proud of them and Seán for completing the course too.”


Not that it was just the Mintern family who were celebrating – also delighted were the Irwins from Glanmire with parents, Eddie and Nora being joined in the water by their son, Neddy (13).

Eddie, who has swum the English Channel and the Strait of Gibraltar, revealed that Neddy, who swims with Sunday’s Well, has been looking forward to his first Lee Swim.

“He only turned 13 in April to become eligible so he was thrilled to compete and he won his category, the U-18 non-wetsuited section so we’re delighted for him,” said Eddie.

Joe Donnelly of the Cork Masters Swimming Club, which organises the event, said they were pleased with the participation which saw more than 460 swimmers tackle the city-centre course.

“The day was very dull and we had some drizzle but we were delighted – I think we had the biggest ever crowd cheering us on since the race resumed as the Vibes and Scribes Lee Swim in 2005.

“Normally the swim is with tide coming in but this year it was just after a high tide so the swimmers had the tide with them coming down the North Channel of the Lee so we had very fast times.”