Mon 15th July 2019
Hull Swimmer

Record-breaking Hull swimmer Richard Royal has set his sights on a new goal – to be the first person to swim the length of the Humber Bridge, and back, solo.

Richard aims to complete the swim on Saturday 27th July, starting near the Humber Rescue boathouse on the north bank of the River Humber just before the afternoon high tide. He will swim the approximately 1.85km across to Barton on the south bank and back to the start point on the north bank. With only a short period of slack tide, he aims to make the 3.7km swim before the notorious currents push him down-river towards the North Sea.

Although Royal was part of a regular group swim which did a one-way from south to north bank last year, and there have been previous swims at the mouth of the estuary, it is believed that nobody has yet swam it solo shore-to-shore (exiting the water at both banks) at this location, or completed a two-way swim across the river at any point. In doing so, he aims to set an inaugural record for both, which is expected to be ratified by the World Open Water Swimming Association. 

Richard is also using his swim as an opportunity to raise money for Humber Rescue, who have sanctioned the attempt and will be providing support throughout.

Last year Royal set a world and British record by becoming the first person to swim to the UK mainland from the Principality of Sealand, a micro-nation often described as “the world’s smallest country” which sits in the North Sea 12km off the east coast. He was subsequently awarded a knighthood by Sealand and a short documentary film titled ‘Escape from Sealand’ was made about the challenge.

Richard is a member of Hull Masters Swimming Club and Humberside Water Polo Team, and his previous swims include Alcatraz to San Francisco, an English Channel relay and the World & European Masters Swimming Championships. His swims have helped to raise over £18,000 for good causes including mental health charities Mind and Young Minds, and spinal injury charity Aspire.

Richard said:

“I’m looking forward to this challenge, which is shorter than some others I’ve completed but could be tougher due to the unpredictable nature of the River Humber and its strong tides. It’s a special swim for me, being local and looking out across the river most days, I’ve been contemplating and planning it for some time.

“I’ve done the organised group swim previously which is fantastic and more leisurely, but wanted to see how fast I could do it solo and whether I could make it there and back before the tide changes. I’m aware that there’s been one-way solos elsewhere in the river, but hopefully this can set a precedent for more attempts at this location.

“I hope I can raise a significant amount for the superb volunteers at Humber Rescue, who have been keeping us all safe in and around the water, year-round, for three decades.”

Donations can be made to Humber Rescue on Richard’s Just Giving page at

Just Beverley