Castle to Castle Swim a massive success

29 May — 29 November 2011

The course record at the RNLI’s open water swim across the River Fal has been smashed today (Sunday 29 May) by a Fire Fighter from Plymouth.

The course record at the RNLI’s open water swim across the River Fal has been smashed today (Sunday 29 May) by a Fire Fighter from Plymouth. Paul Brew (45) completed the mile in just 21 minutes and 20 seconds. The last swimmer of the 400 who took part stepped onto the beach at St Mawes after an hour and eight minutes in the water. It’s hoped the collective efforts of all those who took part will raise more than £35,000 for the charity.
The event, which took the competitors from Pendennis Point to St Mawes, was started by former Olympic swimmer, Sharron Davies and BBC Radio Cornwall’s award winning presenter Laurence Reed. Both then handed out the trophies and medals to every one of the successful swimmers.
Winner Paul Brew, who is a Fire Fighter at the Crownhill Station in Plymouth, was delighted to see Sharron Davies at the end as they both trained together many years ago. He said the course had been excellent:
‘The course was first rate and though I’ve done a few open water swims before, I’m delighted with the time. I entered because the RNLI is such a good cause. In times of need you realise just what the volunteer lifeboat crews go through and they deserve our support.’
First woman home was Lena Oldrieve (25) from Falmouth who is a newly qualified Doctor at the Royal Cornwall Hospital Treliske in Truro. She said she enjoyed the event and would do it again:
‘I enjoyed the experience. In fact I did it before two years ago and now plan to enter again in the future. The swim went much quicker that I thought it would and though it was really quite choppy in mid river, it was ok and I’ve raised £70 for the RNLI.’
Sharron Davies had a good deal to smile about as she greeted the successful swimmers on to the beach as one of them was her 17 year son, Elliott Redmond. He was delighted with his time of around 45 minutes:
‘It’s the first such event I’ve taken part in as all I’ve ever done in the sea before is surfing. I’ll definitely do it again. I have to say at one point about ten minutes in to the swim, I started to think the beach at St Mawes would never get closer but suddenly I was approaching the end and in a relatively good time.’
One of the youngest competitors was 11 year old Caja Parkes from Pensilva near Liskeard. This was her second open water swim and she was full of smiles at the end:
‘That was fun and I really enjoyed it. I’ve also raised £281 for the RNLI.’    
The biggest cheer of the day was reserved for the last swimmer in, Sarah Forbes (47) of Falmouth. The RNLI lifeguards who had provided some of the safety cover for the event gathered around her as she approached the beach and were the first to cheer and applaud as she made it onto dry land. Sarah said of her time of one hour and eight minutes:
‘Not bad for someone who only began training in earnest about two and a half weeks ago. It’s my first open water swim and I guess you could call it my mid life crisis.’
Dave Nicoll, RNLI Community Fundraising Manager for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, says the event’s success was down to the huge army of volunteers who helped provide safety cover:
‘Thanks must go to all the RNLI lifeguards who patrolled the swimmers as they crossed the river, to the Falmouth lifeboat crews and to the many safety boats and kayakers who also played their part in keeping everyone safe.  I must also congratulate Tim Goldburn who kept everyone in order and ensured everything ran so smoothly. He and his team were magnificent and I thank them all.’    
The RNLI are also involved in other major swim events including an open water lake swim at South Cerney in Gloucestershire on 12 June and a sea swim at Bournemouth in Dorset on 14 August. To find out more visit

Overall winner Paul Brew from Plymouth...

First woman home Lena Oldrieve...

The start line...