Sport & Leisure

Dan Jones and Erin Jeffrey take honours in Red Bull Neptune Steps swim in Maryhill

By Ian Marland at

More than 600 hardy competitors braved the icy-cold waters of Maryhill Locks as Red Bull Neptune Steps returned to Glasgow for the fifth consecutive year.

In the men’s race, Welsh swimmer Dan Jones retained his title with a record time of 6m 5s while a new champion was crowned in the women’s race, as Erin Jeffrey claimed first place in 7m 5s.

Neptune Steps

Gruelling: More than 600 competitors took part in Saturday’s event

Dan admitted that he hadn’t done any open-water swimming since his maiden victory in the 2018 edition but was confident his background in swimming would see him through.

He said: “It was good to win again.

“I was still as nervous as I was last year, as the rookie, but the last time I wore a wetsuit was when I was here 12 months ago.

Neptune Steps

Annual: the swimming spectacle returned to Maryhill Locks for the sixth successive year

“My background in swimming gave me an advantage, especially with the 190m sprint at the beginning, so I always felt confident that I could get that win.”

Andrew Horsfall-Turner finished in second place (6m 11s) ahead of Alex Johnson, who placed third (6m 18s).

In the women’s race, Erin powered to victory ahead of last year’s winner Jennifer Davis (7m 24s), who finished second, and 16-year-old Nicole Reynold (7m 38s), who came third.

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Mens winner: Dan Jones Participants perform at Red Bull Neptune Steps in Glasgow, UK on March 23, 2019. Photo: Jeff holmes/ Red Bull Content Pool/AP

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Womens winner: Erin Jeffrey Participants perform at Red Bull Neptune Steps in Glasgow, UK on March 23, 2019. Photo credit: Jeff Holmes/ Red Bull Content Pool / AP

She came first in a pool of 128 competitors, a record number of female competitors taking to the water to swim, climb and conquer the world’s only uphill swimming event in front of 3000 spectators along the Forth & Clyde canal.

Erin said: “I’m in shock, mainly from the cold though.

“The final was really tough and I felt the pressure as I knew Jennifer was chasing me down.

“It felt fantastic to win and it was great to hear the crowd cheering me all the way.”

In a test of physical and mental strength, competitors completed a 420-metre sprint swim, before hoisting themselves over seven canal lock gates using ropes and ladders.

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Side by side: Men’s and women’s winners Erin Jeffrey and Dan Jones on the winners’ podium at Red Bull Neptune Steps in Glasgow, UK on March 23, 2019. Photo credit: Jeff holmes/ Red Bull Content Pool / AP

With water temperature dropping as low as eight degrees, the event once again proved its credentials as the UK’s toughest open-water adventure race.