Endurance Athletes Becomes First to Swim Completely Around Great Britain

This past weekend a British endurance athlete completed his attempt to swim completely around his home country. The journey, which covered more than 1790 miles (2880 km) took 157 days to complete, as triathlete, strongman, and all-around inspiration Ross Edgley wrote his name in the record book by becoming the first person to circumnavigate Great Britain by swimming and completing the longest staged sea swim in history as well.
Edgley began his journey five months ago, setting out from the harbor in the town of Margate back on June 1. His route took him clockwise around the British Isles, as he focused on swimming six hours at a time, each and every day. A support ship followed along with him to ensure his safety, and when it came time to take a break Ross would climb aboard the ship, get some much needed calories (as many as 15,000/day) and sleep. Over the course of the five month expedition he didn’t step foot on land once, instead living aboard the catamaran when he wasn’t in the water.

Over the course of this endeavor, which was dubbed the Great British Swim, Edgely was stung by jellyfish 37 times. He also suffered chafing around his neck from his wetsuit and had to endure something called “salt mouth,” which occurs when salt from the ocean collects in a swimmers mouth. It can cause the tongue to deteriorate, as Ross found pieces of his breaking off throughout the journey.

That said, there were plenty of great moments too. The swimmer pointed to being followed by a large pod of minke whales at one point as true highlight and on Sunday as he was returning to Margate, more than 300 swimmers joined him in the water for the final leg. That gesture reportedly brought tears to his eyes as he turned for home and the final stage of the swim.

This is a huge accomplishment for an athlete who is as dedicated and focused as any I’ve ever met. I had the chance to get to know Ross a bit a couple of years back when we met on the island of Nevis. At the time, he was there to take part in a triathlon, although not content to race in a regular triathlon, he did the entire thing while carrying the trunk of a rather large tree on his back. I found him to be incredibly humble, good natured, and fun to be around, so I couldn’t be happier for him that he managed to finish this amazing feat.

After 157 days in the water, I’m sure he’s ready to take a break and get back to normal life for awhile. The first things he did after greeting friends and family yesterday were to take a shower and get some pizza. I think that seems well deserved. Congratulations Ross!


Kraig Becker