An eminently accomplished swimmer drowned while going for an early morning swim at a popular bathing spot in Dublin Bay last year, an inquest has heard.
sitting at Dublin County Coroner’s Court hearing that Dr Holly Delaney-Rice, a 42-year-old mother of two, died while swimming before dawn at the Half Moon swimming club located on the Great South Wall near the Poolbeg Lighthouse on August 11, 2021.
One witness, who alerted the gardaí after worrying to find the victim’s sports bag, dry robe and shoes on the Great Wall with no sign of any swimmers, said that he would not enter the water because it was “very choking”.
The inquest heard Dr Delaney-Rice – a native of Sandycove, Co Dublin, who worked as a radiologist at Tallaght University Hospital – was a regular swimmer and a gifted athlete. ran several marathons in New York.
Dr Delaney-Rice’s husband, Fergal, said he last saw his wife the evening before her death when she got home from work.
Mr. Rice said his wife slept in an upstairs bedroom with the couple’s two young children because she loved letting them sleep after a long day at work.
He told the inquest that there was nothing out of the ordinary about her behavior,
“She is very happy, optimistic and loves being with the kids. It was just an ordinary day,” he said.
Mr. Rice said he didn’t see his wife the next morning when he woke up around 8:15, but it was not unusual for her to go swimming early in the morning.
The investigation said Dr Delaney-Rice had traveled from the family home on Serpentine Avenue in Sandymount to the Great Wall, where CCTV footage showed her parking at 4.53am.
In a written statement, Shane O’Mahony, who was heading out to the Poolbeg Lighthouse, described how he had become concerned after noticing a bag and clothes at the Swim Club for Sale. Moon when there is no sign of anyone underwater.
Mr O’Mahony said he continued his journey to the lighthouse but noticed that his belongings were still there when he returned.
He said he alerted the gardaí and checked the contents of the bag. In the bag, he found a car key, which he set as that of a Volkswagen parked nearby, which helped identify the missing swimmer.
Mr. O’Mahony said he is a regular swimmer in the sea but he will not be in the water that morning because the sea water is very strong.
Graham Charles, a volunteer with the Irish Coast Guard, said the alert was raised at 7.30am. Delaney-Rice’s body was found by an RNLI lifeboat near the rocks on the Great Wall at 10:36 a.m., about 30 meters from where she is believed to have entered the water.
The inquest said there was no sign of life after her body was brought out of the water and Dr Delaney-Rice was pronounced dead at 11:44am.
The coroner, Aisling Gannon, said medical reports from the victim’s GP indicated she had no underlying medical condition.
“She is exceptionally fit and healthy. It was normal for her to do significant exercise,” the coroner observed.
Ms Gannon said an autopsy showed low alcohol levels in the victim’s body as well as traces of antihistamines and sleeping pills, but they were not a contributing factor to her death.
The coroner said the autopsy results confirmed that Dr Delaney-Rice had died from drowning.
Based on the evidence, she recorded a narrative verdict which noted that there were no other contributing factors to her death.
Condolences to Dr Delaney-Rice’s family, the coroner said her sudden and unexpected death must have been “a terrifying experience” for them.
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/she-was-exceptionally-fit-and-healthy-inquest-hears-triathlete-mum-of-two-drowned-during-dublin-bay-swim-41432419.html ‘She is exceptionally fit and healthy’ – inquest hears mother of two triathletes drowned while swimming in Dublin Bay