Ross Edgley’s World Record-Breaking Swim

Blog - Ross Edgley’s World Record-Breaking Swim

Ross Edgley’s World Record-Breaking Swim

3 minute read

“Naive enough to start, stubborn enough to finish” is Ross Edgley’s mantra when it comes to the extreme challenges that he takes on, and his plan to swim around the entire coast of Britain was no exception!

Ross Edgley gets out of the sea at Margate - Image courtesy of James Appleton
[Image courtesy of James Appleton]

On Sunday 4th November Ross - a British strongman swimmer whose previous challenges include running a marathon whilst pulling a car and completing a triathlon carrying a tree - arrived back on shore, in front of a huge crowd and accompanied by 300 open-water swimmers, as the first person to have ever swum around the whole of Great Britain.

Ross Edgley celebrating his Great British Swim - Image courtesy of James Appleton Photography
[Image courtesy of James Appleton]

Ross believed it would take 100 days to complete this extraordinary feat, but it became clear early on that it would take a lot longer than that! In total he was at sea for 157 days, swimming for 12 hours a day (6 hours on, 6 hours off), travelling 1791 miles, setting three new world records including the world’s longest staged sea swim.

Along the way, he encountered challenges that would have stopped a less stubborn individual in their tracks. Including - severe wetsuit chafing that earned him the nickname ‘Rhino Neck’, having bits of his tongue fall off due to mass exposure to saltwater (AKA ‘salt tongue’), a suspected torn shoulder and being stung by jellyfish countless times. One jellyfish even attached themselves to Ross’ face and wouldn’t let go for 30 minutes. This didn’t slow him down, Ross just kept on swimming!

Ross Edgley Swimming - Image courtesy of Red Bull Content Pool / Harvey Gibson
[Image courtesy of Red Bull Content Pool / Harvey Gibson]

Despite the lows, there were many high points, including swimming alongside a Minke whale for 5 miles, and playing hide and seek with a seal that had taken a shine to Ross’ pink buoy.

Ross Edgley eating - Image courtesy of Red Bull Content Pool
[Image courtesy of Red Bull Content Pool / Harvey Gibson]

In order to have enough energy to swim for 12 hours, Ross consumed between 10,000-15,000 calories a day, which meant a steady diet of pizzas, fries and steak sandwiches. During the 157 days at sea, he also managed to consume 649 bananas!

Ross Edgley wearing his dryrobe - Image courtesy of Red Bull Content Pool / Harvey Gibson

As well getting his diet right, managing the cold was essential. As soon as he was out of the water the first thing Ross did was get his dryrobe on. This got his core temperature back up quickly so he was ready to go again on the next swim:

“It became such an essential tool because without if you’re just starting the next swim cold. You can’t start the next tide already cold”

Ross Edgley on the importance of his dryrobe.

So what’s next for Ross? A victory lap around Great Britain? Swimming around the world? Turns out learning to walk again is the next big challenge! Spending 157 days in the water has shrunk the tiny ligaments, tendons and muscles in his legs and feet. This is similar to effects that astronauts suffer after spending months in zero gravity.

Ross Edgley with a flotilla of open-water swimmers - Image courtesy of Red Bull Content Pool / Olaf Pignataro
[Image courtesy of Red Bull Content Pool / Olaf Pignataro]

We’re proud to have supported Ross on this record-breaking adventure and we can’t wait to see what challenge he decides to take on next. Whatever he does, the legacy from this extraordinary feat has raised the profile of open-water swimming and is already starting to inspire people across the globe.

Check out his full interview with us below: