Red Bull Neptune Steps - 2019

Red Bull Neptune Steps - 2019

“It’s a lot warmer than last year!” is a phrase we heard from competitors arriving at the event who’d previously competed at Red Bull Neptune Steps.

Competitors on the start line at Red Bull Neptune Steps 2019

In March 2018 Glasgow, Scotland was still recovering from the ‘Beast from the East’, a wave of freezing cold weather that engulfed the country. The day before the event organizers were removing snow from paths around the course and smashing through ice in the canals! Competitors had to swim in water temperature of 37ºF and battle against torrential rain. 2019 though, was slightly different. The sun was out to start with and the canal water was a (comparatively) balmy 46ºF!

Diving off a Lock gate at Red Bull Neptune Steps in Glasgow, Scotland


Not that this makes Red Bull Neptune Steps any less brutal. Anyone competing in this elite endurance swimming competition still has to take on a 460-yard sprint swim through the canal at Maryhill Locks, alongside eight climbs over each canal gate that they encounter. Each gate features a different obstacle, which the swimmers use to climb up – including a cargo net, ropes, wood ladder, rope ladders and a climbing wall. It’s probably the only uphill, open-water swimming contest in the world!

Climbing up a Lock at Red Bull Neptune Steps 2019


Preparing for such a unique event can be difficult and with so many different skill sets required to triumph it can be hard to predict a winner. When we spoke to dryrobe ambassador Ross Edgley at a special training session ahead of Red Bull Neptune Steps he told us why this is such an incomparable challenge:

“There’s just nothing like it really, you get surfers, kite surfers, swimmers and rock climbers all competing. So the sports scientist in me just loves it, because when I’m watching the start line I can’t pick who’s going to win, I literally have no idea! And that’s why it’s so good, because there is no blueprint for a great competitor, because it’s not been around that long, it’s still evolving and training for it is still evolving.”

Ross Edgley in his his dryrobe at Red Bull Neptune Steps 2019

This year saw 600 people take part in the men’s and women's races, with the highest placed swimmers from each heat grabbing a golden ticket to move onto the semi-finals and eventually the final.

Jumping into the canal in Glasgow - Red Bull Neptune Steps 2019

Once they were out of the cold canal, it was vital that competitors who qualified for the next round kept their core temperature up whilst waiting for their next race. dryrobe again proved to be an essential piece kit for elite swimmers as they managed their body temperature in the wait between swims.

Competitor at Red Bull Neptune Steps staying warm in a dryrobe

Cheered on by a crowd of 3000 spectators, competition in both contests was fast and furious! A tough day of racing saw last year’s winner Dan Jones retain the men’s crown, smashing the previous course record of 00:07:19 with a time of 00:06:05. Closely followed by Andrew Horsfall-Turner (0:06:11) and Alex Johnson (0:06:18).

Dan Jones in his dryrobe - Photo courtesy of Red Bull Content Pool / Jeff Holmes

(Photo courtesy of Red Bull Content Pool / Jeff Holmes)

Speaking after the race Dan 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. My background in swimming gave me an advantage, especially with the 190m spring at the beginning, so I always felt confident I could win.”

In the women’s event, first-time competitor Erin Jeffery beat last years winner, Jennifer Davis, with a time of 0:07:05, claiming her first Trident and a limited edition winners dryrobe. 16-year-old Nicole Reynolds took third place in an impressive 0:07:38.

Red Bull Neptune Steps 2019 Women's winners - Photo courtesy of Red Bull Content Pool / Jeff Holmes

(Photo courtesy of Red Bull Content Pool / Jeff Holmes)

Talking about her win, Erin revealed:

“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 was great to hear the crowd cheering me all the way. I was dreading it originally as I had no cold water training, so it's more than I could have ever hoped."

Men's result:

1. Dan Jones 0:06:05
2. Andrew Horsfall-Turner 0:06:11
3. Alex Johnson 0:06:18
4. Morten Hansen 0:06:22
5. Vincent Leblond 0:06:44

Women's result:

1. Erin Jeffery 0:07:05
2. Jennifer Davis 0:07:24
3. Nicole Reynolds 0:07:38
4. Lilyella Craw-Seaman 0:07:56
5. Rebecca Lodge 0:08:01

Bell diving into the canal at Red Bull Neptune Steps, Glasgow

Thanks to Red Bull for putting together such an epic contest, we’re proud to have supported this awesome event for the fifth time. We can’t wait for next year, who’s up for the challenge?

Photos by Scott Seefeldt


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