A MAN has become the first person ever to swim the breaststroke from Penarth to Clevedon.

Phil Warren, 51, travelled to Penarth from Reading to tackle the challenge on July 7.

Mr Warren is a keen open water swimmer and is the record holder for the breaststroke at the Thames Marathon, as well as participating in a variety of events including the World Ice Swimming Championships.

He plans to be the first person to swim all four routes of the Bristol channel while swimming breaststroke to raise money for the mental health charity Mind.

Mr Warren said: "This charity is close to me after having several breakdowns and learning to live with depression.

"Mind carry out amazing work within the mental health field including support for both adults and children."

So far Mr Warren has raised around £3,000 for Mind.

The routes are:

  • Penarth to Clevedon (11 nautical miles, around 14 miles with tides);
  • Penarth to Weston-super-Mare (eight nautical miles);
  • Glenthorne to Porthcawl (15 nautical miles but tides will make it 26 miles);
  • Ilfracombe to Swansea (24 nautical miles but around 30 miles with tides).

Mr Warren attempted to swim from Penarth to Weston-Super-Mare on June 8, but missed land by around 500 metres after spending seven and a half hours in the water.

The swim to Clevedon has only been completed by 11 people in the past, and took Mr Warren seven hours and four minutes.

The swim was a tricky one for Mr Warren as he was experiencing sea sickness - but he persevered and was able to complete the swim.

Mr Warren said: "It was reasonably rough in there, it was like being in a washing machine for six hours.

"Trying to swim and being sick is not nice.

"This is the first ever crossing of the Bristol Channel swimming only breaststroke, I'm quite proud of it."

Mr Warren will be back in Wales to swim from Glenthorne to Porthcawl on August 20 and will swim from Ilfracombe to Swansea on September 17.

He will attempt to complete the route from Penarth to Weston-Super-Mare in the future, insisting he is "not done with it."

To support Mr Warren in his challenge to raise money for Mind, visit his JustGiving page here.