Swimmer Ross Edgley back on dry land after record-breaking trip round UK

Ross Edgley finishes his 1,791-mile, 157-day Great British Swim in Margate. Picture: Luke Walker/Getty Images for Red Bull
Ross Edgley finishes his 1,791-mile, 157-day Great British Swim in Margate. Picture: Luke Walker/Getty Images for Red Bull
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Ross Edgley’s love of swimming is as strong as ever after becoming the first swimmer to circumnavigate Great Britain on Sunday.

The 33-year-old was joined for the final kilometre of his 1,791-mile, 157-day Great British Swim around the mainland by 400 fellow swimmers in Margate on Sunday.

Edgley left the Kent town on June 1, swimming in a clockwise direction, and his arrival on the beach at 8.40am was his first time on dry land since then.

Edgley, of Grantham, Lincolnshire, is already plotting his next adventure, which could be another swimming exploit, and he would happily pop into the nearest pool.

“It probably won’t be long before I’m putting on a pair of goggles again,” he said.

Swimming up to 12 hours a day, including through the night, he has battled strong tides and currents in cold water, storms, jellyfish and swimming into the chilly autumn.

His efforts have taken their toll on his body, including shoulder pain and wetsuit chafing, plus salt water exposure.

Edgley’s odyssey was compared from the outset to the feat of Captain Matthew Webb, who in 1875 became the first person to swim the English Channel.

But, while more than 1,900 swimmers have since made the crossing, few are likely to follow in Edgley’s wake. Fifty-seven of the swimmers who joined him on Sunday morning have swum the Channel.

Edgley was accompanied by Cornish sailor Matthew Knight, supporting from his catamaran Hecate.

In planning the adventure, he anticipated it would take 100 days, and told his family and girlfriend Hester Sabery “sorry I’m late” as they greeted him on Sunday alongside hundreds of others on the sand.

He admitted being a bit wobbly after five months either swimming or being on his 
support boat - and emotional, too.

He added: “It wasn’t just me. It wasn’t just one person swimming, even though it was called the Great British Swim.

“I always keep saying ‘what we’ve achieved’ because in no way is it an individual sport. I keep stressing without Matt and the crew, the flotilla coming at the end, it shows swimming isn’t an individual sport in so many ways.”