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Endurance athlete Ross Edgley tests new Bremont dive watch

Words by Rob Chilton

Brutal tides, vicious jellyfish and rotting skin – Ross Edgley’s record-breaking, five-month swim around the coast of Great Britain required a watch as tough as him

A flight from London to Moscow takes around four hours. Extreme athlete Ross Edgley swam the equivalent distance in just 157 days, braving terrible conditions and brutal physical hardship. The British adventurer swam 2,882km around the coast of Great Britain in five months, a feat that awarded him the world record for the longest staged sea swim.

Topping that remarkable achievement will be difficult, but Edgley isn’t the type of guy to let a challenge slip by and is now dreaming up ideas for new physical feats in 2019.

For his record-breaking British swim in 2017, Edgley required a watch that was as tough as him and wore the S2000 diving watch from Bremont. Edgley is now testing the brand’s new version of the S2000 watch during his training.

Edgley on his quest

Looking back on his Great British swim, Edgley, 33, said he suffered “hundreds of bites” from jellyfish and deliberately grew a beard to protect his face from stings.

He brought wetsuits in several different sizes to account for the weight he would lose during the swim and took 3kg of Vaseline to help prevent chafing from the rubber suit. Salt water rotted parts of his tongue and skin.

Edgley inspects his foot

He swam for two six-hour stretches per day, stopping to sleep on a support catamaran, the Hecate, sailed by Matthew Knight.

Edgley burnt more than 500,000 calories during his endurance challenge and required between 10,000 and 15,000 calories a day.

During his swim he ate food such as pizza, pasta, rice pudding, 649 bananas and 314 cans of Red Bull (his sponsor for the event). Inspired by Edgley’s quest, one swimmer braved the waves off the coast of north Scotland to give him a fig cake she had baked.

Edgley tackles a fig cake

The worst moment came when a giant jellyfish attached to Edgley’s face for 30 minutes during a night swim in the middle of the world’s third-largest whirlpool off the west coast of Scotland.

“It wrapped around my goggles and the sting was searing into my skin,” he said. “It was brutal but I couldn’t stop swimming.”

With his world record confirmed, Edgley enjoyed a warm shower and a pizza and reflected on his extraordinary feat. “Hands down the hardest thing on so many levels: physical, mental,” he said.

“I felt fatigue that I’ve never felt before. Honestly, I’d swim tomorrow, just because it’s going to be nice to swim without having to scrape the ice off a cold wetsuit before you get in, or to swim without getting stung in the face by a jellyfish.”

Taking calories on board

Some of Edgley’s past escapades include running 31 marathons in 31 days on a treadmill and climbing the height of Everest on a rope in one attempt lasting 19 hours.

He's also ran a marathon while dragging a Mini, wrestled sharks in the Bahamas and swan 100km in the Caribbean in 32 hours while attached to a 45.4kg log. He has yet to announce what his next challenge will be. Topping his Great Britain coastal swim will require high levels of imagination and endurance – luckily Edgley has plenty of both.

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