Ross Edgley

Ross Edgley: “Pick a swim that excites you”

On 19 June 2024, endurance swimmer Ross Edgley completed a 510km swim in the Yukon River – a feat he undertook in 62 hours. Fresh from his challenge, Ross Edgley shares his advice for anyone considering their own swimming adventure, be it large or small.

On 19 June, ultra-marathon endurance swimmer Ross Edgley successfully completed a 510km swim without stopping, sleeping or touching land. The challenge was completed over 62 hours in Yukon, Canada. Supported by PhD Nutrition, the swim signifies a momentous achievement for both Ross and the field of sports science, setting new parameters on the limits of the human body.

Edgely took to the Yukon River, leaving Whitehorse on Lake Laberge on Sunday 16 June, and finishing in Dawson City on 19 June. Throughout the challenge, Ross overcame an array of challenges ranging from sleep deprivation (Ross was awake for 60+ hours) to water temperatures 9°c (48°f). Swimming in the planet’s most remote regions, Edgley accounted not only the mental and physical demands of such a challenge, but the need to manage external factors such as bears, wolves, white water rapids, log jams and even forest fires.

Following his challenge, Ross commented, “The success of this swim feels especially significant given it is pioneering research into the body’s ability to overcome sleep deprivation, freezing water and so many more factors. The sheer number of hours, days, months and years we have devoted make the record feel unique and I cannot wait to celebrate with my team.”

Ross’s feat is the culmination of over two years of sports science research, taking Ross and his team from the lab to a multitude of destinations including Loch Ness where he completed a 53 hours swim in water as cold as 5°c to Lake Trasimeno where he completed a 107km swim in temperatures exceeding 45°c. Ahead of Yukon, Ross also completed a 140km pool swim in Mallorca.

Shortly after his Yukon challenge, we put this question to Ross: “What you do is way beyond what most swimmers dream of. However, is there one piece of advice you could give our readers thinking about taking on their next swimming challenge – whether it’s their first half-mile swim or major swimming marathon?”

In response, Ross said: “I think it’s so important to pick a swim that excites you. It doesn’t have to an established swim and route either, it could be completely ‘off the beaten track’. Maybe it’s a lake or river that’s tied to a charity close to your heart. Or a part of the coastline that your family visited as a child or your great, great, great grandparents sailed. I always think that void of speed, distance and time metrics, the best swims are those routed in stories because when it’s all done and finished, that’s what you want to share with the team around you.”

Congratulations to Ross and his team for this astounding achievement!

Article amended 5 July: In the original article we referred to Ross Edgley’s River Yukon swim as breaking the record for the world’s longest non-stop river swim but this is a claim that has not been ratified by a swimming body. We’re seeking clarification from Ross and his team about the records they’re claiming to have set.

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