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First Known Swimmer to Circumnavigate Britain Spent 5 Months at Sea

LONDON — A British man who spent five months at sea is believed to be the first person to swim around the island of Great Britain, making his way back to land in Margate, a coastal town in southeastern England, on Sunday.

The swimmer, Ross Edgley, 33, had not been ashore since June 1, when he set off on his 1,780-mile aquatic journey.

Sunday morning, he was welcomed ashore by loud, enthusiastic cheers.

“It still doesn’t feel real,” Mr. Edgley told the BBC.

For more than 150 days, Mr. Edgley swam six to 12 hours a day. He spent the rest of his time eating and sleeping on his support boat, from where he documented his quest in episodes streamed online.

Mr. Edgley, the author of a fitness guide, created the #GreatBritishSwim hashtag for his feat, and regularly posted on Instagram to his 268,000 followers. His audience saw his struggles with strong tides, soreness, cold water, and jellyfish.

Almost two weeks after he entered the Guinness Book of World Records for the longest staged sea swim, Mr. Edgley posted an unflattering photograph of the impact the swim was having on his body — specifically his heavily bruised, swollen feet, which looked as flat as fins.

“The harsh reality of spending hours, days & months at sea swimming,” he captioned the Sept. 2 photograph.

Swimming day in and day out in saltwater also turned his tongue dry and sore, making it hard for him to eat, swallow or talk. The solution? Coconut oil and yogurt, which helped him to overcome the soreness and keep going.

Mr. Edgley said that even though he had not enjoyed every single moment of the swim, discipline kept him going.