Professor Greg Whyte takes on Thames swim world record

The swimming coach who helped David Walliams complete an epic swim on the River Thames for Sports Relief in 2011 is attempting the same swim himself – but in an official World Record time.

Entering the water on Tuesday 12 July 2022, the swim will see the UK’s leading sports scientist, Olympian and coach to the stars attempt to complete 125 miles of swimming in under four days. Professor Greg Whyte will be covering around 30 miles per day. He will be in the water for around 20 hours per day, with only four hours for sleep, sports therapy and rest. 

It’s the first time anyone has attempted to swim the Thames as quickly as possible. While many swim challenges focus on distance, Greg’s epic swim combines endurance with fast-paced swimming. 

“125 miles in four days is a gargantuan challenge, which I’m weirdly excited about,” says Greg, who has coached many celebrities for Sport Relief challenges such as David Walliams, Davina McCall, Jo Brand and Eddie Izzard. “For me, combining endurance with speed will be interesting – this is without doubt the toughest challenge I have ever attempted.”

Greg is passionate about drowning prevention and the importance of all children having access to swimming lessons. The challenge will raise vital funds for The Royal Life Saving Society UK (RLSS UK) and the RNLI.

“One person drowns every 20 hours in the UK and water safety is central to reducing this figure,” says Greg. “Unfortunately, only one in five children have received any formal water safety education. By tackling this enormous challenge, I am aiming to raise funds to support the RLSS and RNLI to improve water safety education and reduce the tragedy of drowning.”

The swim will begin at 9am on Tuesday 12 July in Lechlade, the start of the ‘swimmable’ Thames. He hopes to finish at 7pm on Friday 15 July at Teddington Lock. Greg is encouraging other swimmers to join him for a mile of swimming and to donate to the appeal along the way.

The challenge is supported by HUUB, Elliot Brown Watches, 220 Triathlon, U Perform, Beyond Swim, Le Boat, CDT Marine and Luxury Sports Breaks.

Follow Greg’s progress via his Instagram, Twitter or Facebook. You can also donate via his Crowdfunder page.

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Jo is the Gear Editor for Outdoor Swimmer and also writes news and features for the website. A keen open water swimmer and long-distance walker, she loves seeking out lakes and lidos close to her home in the Mendip Hills, Somerset. She is the author of The Slow Traveller, editor and founder of independent magazine, Ernest, and has previously tested outdoor clothing and kit for BBC Countryfile Magazine, BBC Focus and Ernest Journal.