Castle to Castle Open Water Swim 2009

Wonder if Steve McFadden, better known to millions of soap fans as Phil Mitchell in Eastenders, remembered this famous exchange from 1985 before setting a fantastic example by joining 38 open water swimmers in Falmouth to help raise cash for the RNLI:

Andy: We are going to be clinically obese.
Sam Mitchell: Yeah, but you’ll still love me when I’m fat, won’t you?
Andy: No

[following extract from via Falmouth Packet]: Steve plunged in to the sea off Penndennis headland for the mile long Castle to Castle open water swim. The swimmers tackled the River Fal from Pendennis Head to St Mawes to raise money for the RNLI’s new South West Lifeguard Appeal. He completed the mile in 46 minutes.

It was first time the actor has attempted an open water swim and he prepared for the event with some timely training with RNLI lifeguards who briefed him on useful open water techniques.

Steve said: “It was quite choppy with a swell running and it made the going tough, but once I cleared that I got in to a rhythm and was able to swim quite comfortably. The best bit was as I neared the beach and I could see the sand beneath me, it’s quite reassuring to be able to see the bottom!”

The 39 swimmers aimed to collectively raise more than £2,000 for the RNLI’s appeal. The swim was the first major event held in support of the appeal, which aims to raise £500,000 over three years to equip and train the charity’s lifeguards.

Steve said: “The volunteer crews of the lifeboats and the charity’s lifeguards are vital when it comes to staying safe on and around the shores of the south west and I appreciate what they do and how committed they are. I was delighted to be supporting them by taking part in this swim.”

Thirty eight of the 39 swimmers who set off completed the mile including Ann Jordan from Falmouth who finished in just over an hour despite breaking her leg just eight weeks ago. Ann, who is currently studying at university in Falmouth, was one of the first female lifeguards to go on duty in this country in the 1970’s, when she was based at Bude.

Falmouth RNLI crew volunteer Marc Thomas who is also a Coastguard watch manager also braved the water as part of his preparations for a triathlon in two weeks time.

The event was supported by the volunteer crew of the Falmouth RNLI inshore lifeboat and a team of volunteer lifeguards, some of whom were from Gyllyngvase Surf Lifesaving Club.

It’s now hoped that the Castle-to-Castle open water swim will become an annual event.

Steve McFadden has now offered his support to the RNLI’s national Swim a Mile campaign, which encourages people to swim a mile and raise money for the charity that saves lives at sea.

Those taking part can swim the mile in one hit, or take days or even weeks to count up the lengths of a pool until they have reached the mile mark. For more information please visit www.rnli.org.uk/swimamile