On Saturday 16th of October British Army veteran Michael Coates and serving RAF pilot Nathan Jones completed the first 26.2 mile continuous swim in the River Thames.
The swim started in the River Thames at a point adjacent to Dorney Lake and the finish point was Teddington Lock in West London. Between 7am on Saturday 16th and the early hours of Sunday 17th, the pair swam 40,000 strokes each in an average water temperature of just 10 degrees.
Both swimmers completed the epic feat as a swim pair, swimming side-by-side for the full duration in average water temperatures of 10 degrees. Unlike recent weeks when the river was flowing fast due to rain fall, the little rainfall in the past fortnight allowed for no extra flow through this marathon section of the river, making the swim even more gruelling.
A brutal single day event that last nearly 17 hours and had to negotiate nine different locks resulted in a one-of-a-kind swim event and placed the pair as two amongst the top endurance swimmers in the UK.
However Michael and Nathan’s efforts were not in vain, as they managed to raise over £7,000 to support multiple charities: ACT international, Unicef UK and the Canal & River Trust.
Speaking after the swim, Michael Coates said: “These last 17 hours were brutal, no other word comes close to describing it. The distance twinned with the water temperature proved to be a winning combination to inflict suffering on us both.
“But it was all worth it, we’ve raised 1000s of pounds for three amazing charities and made history along the way.”
Michael is a former soldier, firefighter, business owner and award-winning podcast host.
An advocate for mental health and wellbeing, Michael works with global brands such as Salesforce, Lululemon and Facebook to promote positive mental and physical fitness. He is also co-founder of the Declassified Network and host of the multi-award-winning podcast ‘Declassified’ (Gold for Best Interview and Bronze for Best Wellbeing podcast in the 2020 British Podcast Awards).