WHY I TRI
After 157 days at sea and 1,792 miles, Ross Edgley has just become the first person to swim the coast of Britain
The Great British Swim finish was just nuts. We invited 300 swimmers to do the last mile with me. We had guys in skins out there, we had some amazing Channel swimmers with us and we had the Royal Marines guiding everyone in… It’s hard to explain how I felt in that moment. I had to remove my goggles, I got so choked up.
From the outset this was a team effort. The community of openwater swimmers and triathletes helped with advice and help! It was really nice getting that support. They’d say, ‘Oh wetsuit chafing, here’s what I’d do’, or ‘Your tongue is falling apart? Here’s a homemade remedy.’
The team got me through it too, for sure. Me and [captain] Matt got quite choked up last night. The sense of humour that you develop to try and get through is quite something. Last night we watched the sun set and we were talking about how he’d bought 5kg of Vaseline with him for the swim… So much lube… and I’d said we were never going to need it all, but we got through 4kg! That’s the statistic from the swim that I’m most proud of! Towards the end Matt’s putting Vaseline on my neck and I just whispered ‘I’ve never really been chafing, I just like these moments together…’ and he’s just rolling around in stitches laughing.
I prepped as much as I could for the changes my body would experience, but all of that’s just theory. A lot of things weren’t necessarily captured. At one point the chafing was so bad it was an open wound and it was so sore. I’d go to sleep and then when I woke up it was just stuck to the sheets. We were like, ‘1, 2, 3… rip it off!’
There were times too in Scotland when we were swimming for 10-12 hours and we were playing with hypothermia, pushing the boundaries of common sense. One time the crew were heating up the galley, putting the kettles on to create a sauna and huddling round me. In situations like that you don’t stop to put the camera on.
“We used 4kg of Vaseline. That’s the statistic I’m most proud of!”
I can’t say no to a really good idea… So since doing this, there have been some really cool suggestions which I find it hard to say no to. I’m quite swim-fit at the moment and I’m not bored of it yet, but I’ll have to get it past my girlfriend Hester first!
Now I’m back on dry land, I just want to be warm! I haven’t been warm in 157 days so now I just want to be toasty. I mean, I haven’t sweated in 157 days! People ask if there’s anything else and I’m like ‘No, just warmth!’ It sounds cheesy, but I just want family and friends – and to be warm! Barbeques too, maybe. I missed out on a summer of barbeques…