Hardy souls set to make splash in the annual Liffey swim race
SWIMMERS will dive into Dublin's murky main waterway to take on the Liffey Swim challenge on Saturday.
A total of 380 competitors - who qualified to take part in the annual race after completing six qualifying races from the Leinster Open Sea Calendar - will race from the Rory O'Moore Bridge beside the Guinness Brewery down to the Custom House.
The contestants will make their way down the quays and under 12 bridges, finishing in front of the Custom House.
For competitors, winning the Liffey Swim is like winning an All-Ireland Final, a spokesperson for Dublin City Council said.
"There will be competitors of all ages, abilities and nationalities, with teenagers pitting their strengths against 70-year-olds and club swimmers from all over the country competing against each other," the Herald was told.
Among the competitors are 15 overseas swimmers who are travelling from USA, Australia, Holland and France to take part.
Lord Mayor of Dublin Criona Ni Dhalaigh invited the public to come out and cheer on the swimmers.
The course is 2.2-kilometres long and competitors will be given a handicap based on their performance in the qualifying race.
The handicapper will determine when a swimmer will start the race, with the slower swimmers kicking off one to two minutes the official start and faster swimmers waiting four or five minutes after the start.
A spokesman for the race explained that it gives everyone an equal shot.
"The handicap gives each swimmer an equal opportunity to win the race and allows a 70-year-old swimmer to compete against a young athlete who is competing for Ireland at an international level," he said.
The winner is the first to pass the finish line.
The men's race will begin at 2.30pm, and the women's race an hour later at 3.30pm. The prestigious Liffey Cups will be presented at 5.30pm along North Wall Quay.
At the end of the race, Dublin Fire Brigade will provide the traditional showers.