Longest river swimmer first to conquer Severn

  • Published
Kev Brady
Image caption,
Kevin Brady took a month to swim the river - he had hoped to do it in 19 days

An aquatic adventurer has become the first person to swim the UK's longest river.

Kevin Brady, 32, took a month to swim the 220-mile (350km) River Severn and said he was "sad it was over".

Along the way he front crawled past dangerous currents and dead sheep, dealt with violent bouts of river belly and stood to greet admiring supporters.

He began on 23 September at the river's source and reached Severn Beach, his endpoint, just before 18:45 BST.

After completing the swim, he said he was feeling "awesome, I've just swum the Severn".

He said: "I'm feeling more like laughing than crying. I'm so happy to have finished the river, but do you know what?

"Seeing all my family and friends coming together every single day, I'm just going to be so sad that this is over.

"It's been the most amazing experience of my life."

Mr Brady, who last year spent 140 days canoeing the length of the Mississippi River in the US, had originally planned to swim more than 10 miles (16km) per day.

However, because of bouts of sickness and difficult currents, he settled on a lesser daily distance and came in 12 days behind schedule as a result.

The highs

  • The welcome at Gloucester Docks

  • Safely swimming through 'the noose'

  • Constant kindness from strangers

  • Paddle board support

Image caption,
Kevin Brady said "I'm just going to be so sad that this is over"

The adventure began at the river's source in Plynlimon, Powys, and Mr Brady swam through Shropshire, Worcestershire and Gloucestershire along the way to the Severn Estuary.

On Wednesday, he safely overcame the most dangerous stretch of water, taking two hours to swim through "the noose".

He had been urged by the Severn Area Rescue Association - which deployed two small lifeboats nearby - to abandon the swim over safety concerns.

Media caption,

See how Kev Brady has taken on the mammoth 220-mile swim

However, spurred on by a rising tide of support, the Severn Bridge and the Second Severn Crossing were the last remaining landmarks in his sights as he swam beneath both before reaching Severn Beach.

The lows

  • Nearing hypothermia daily

  • 48 hours of violent river belly

  • Swimming past a dead bloated sheep

  • Seeing rubbish in the river around Worcester and Gloucester

Image caption,
Kevin Brady had expected it to take up to three weeks to complete the swim

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