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Home / News / Ross Edgley achieves world’s longest non-stop swim

Ross Edgley achieves world’s longest non-stop swim

The endurance athlete and adventurer Ross Edgley has announced he has completed a record-breaking continuous swim of 510km in brutal 9°C water.

Photo of Ross Edgley from the Great British Swim
Ross Edgley during a previous world record, the Great British Swim

The endurance athlete and adventurer Ross Edgley has announced he has completed a 510km continuous swim (pending ratification), after gruelling conditions meant two previous attempts had to be halted.

Via his Instagram account, Ross shared the news that he has swum 510 km (317 miles) continuously with no stopping. sleeping or touching land – and in water temperatures of 9°C/48.°F.

Ross Edgley swims in the Yukon river
Ross Edgley during his record-breaking swim

The swim took place in the Yukon River in Canada, where Ross states: “So much EPIC content to come, but for now I’m going to chill and celebrate with the MOST EPIC team ever assembled on a river whose heroics saved me from white water rapids, bears, wolves and hypothermia!”

Screen shot of Ross Edgley's announcement notice on Instagram
Credit: Ross Edgley took to Instagram to announce his record swim

Huge swim challenge

As this was a continuous swim attempt, that meant Ross was unable to stop for any reason, including sleep. He has not yet revealed how long the swim took but it would have taken place over a number of days, meaning Ross was swimming through multiple days and night.

Those temperatures are impressive too. Here in the UK we use the RNLI’s assessment of water conditions and 9°C/48.°F is officially classified as ‘very cold water’. Only the most extreme triathlons would go ahead with water at this temperature!

Video and photos shown on Edgley’s Instagram post show his hands and face suffering the effects of a long period of cold water immersion and we see him lying on the ground, still in his DeBoer wetsuit, wrapped in foil blankets.

Photo of Ross Edgley's hand looking white and wrinkled after a long period in cold water
Credit: photo from Ross Edgley’s Instagram post announcing his record swim

He also shows a nasty cut on the back of one leg (not shared here, as it’s quite graphic, so if you like your swim reports gruesome, head to the post). We are yet to discover how the injury happened.

True to form Ross is typically upbeat, stating: “Also CANNOT wait to celebrate with burgers with my @gymking and @phdnutrition familia who made this possible”.

Tough previous attempts

Ross Edgley is known for many feats of endurance, often based around swimming.

He has completed the Nevis Triathlon dragging a tree and is perhaps best known for being the first person to swim around the coast of Great Britain in the record Great British Swim. He is also the author of several books about his challenges and the sport science involved.

Ross Edgley finishes the Great British Swim
Ross Edgley finishes the Great British Swim after 157 days at sea. Image: 220/Gavin Parish

Edgley has previously attempted the world’s longest continuous swim twice before: once in Loch Ness and once in Lake Trasimeno in Italy.

The attempt in Scotland saw Edgley swim for 79km over 52 hours and 39 minutes which gave him the record for the longest swim in Loch Ness. In that swim, he endured temperatures as low as 5°C at night.

The second attempt in Lake Trasimeno, near Perugia, in Italy was abandoned after 70km due to soaring temperatures making it unsafe to continue.

Ross Edgley holding an award and bottle of Champagne
Ross Edgley breaks world record for longest sea swim

More to come

Edgley highlights that the record is “pending ratification once governing body has had a chance to look over all videos, GPS tracking and witness accounts”.

It looks like we won’t have to wait too long to find out more either. Edgley is appearing in a new documentary soon, which inspired this swim:

“Have to mention the distance of this swim was heavily inspired by shark migrations in NEW documentary, “Shark vs. Ross Edgley” that’s coming to @natgeotv on Sunday, June 30th at 10pm and streaming on @disneyplus July 1.”

You can see more of Ross Edgley’s posts via his Instagram account.

Addition 9th July 2024: The World Open Water Swimming Association (WOWSA) have contacted 220 Triathlon to clarify some elements of this swim challenge. Statement as follows:

“Ross Edgley’s Yukon River swim does not qualify as an official open water swimming record due to the use of a wetsuit. Open water swimming records only allow unassisted swims, meaning swimmers can’t use gear like wetsuits. This standard is upheld by all open water swimming organizations worldwide, not just the World Open Water Swimming Association (WOWSA).

For accuracy and fairness to the sport, it would be helpful to avoid referring to this swim as a “World Record”. If Guinness World Records (GWR) eventually recognizes this, it would be considered a Guinness World Record. But their recognition does not align with the official standards of marathon swimming.”

You can read a full statement from WOWSA in their blog post here.

Profile image of Helen Webster Helen Webster Editor, 220 Triathlon


Helen has been 220's Editor since July 2013, when she made the switch from marathons to multisport. She's usually found open-water swimming and has competed in several swimruns as well as the ÖtillÖ World Series. Helen is a qualified Level 2 Open-Water Swim Coach focusing on open-water confidence and runs regular workshops at the South West Maritime Academy near Bristol. She is also an RLSS UK Open Water Lifeguard trainer/assessor.