Belfast Telegraph

Blue Peter star's deep water swim

Blue Peter presenter Andy Akinwolere has made a splash by setting a pair of world records for swimming one of the deepest stretches of water on the planet.

The TV star's challenge was even more of a feat because until a matter of weeks ago, he struggled to swim a length - and was terrified of open water.

However, after intense training sessions Akinwolere conquered his fears and inexperience to swim five miles across the Palau Trench, an 8,000-metre deep abyss in the Pacific Ocean.

The brave presenter has not only become the first person to swim across the deepest part of the trench, but he now holds the record for the deepest location for an open water swim.

His achievement comes little over a year after his colleague Helen Skelton scored her own momentous achievement becoming the first person to kayak solo down the length of the Amazon river.

Akinwolere, clad in a wetsuit, rubber cap and goggles, took three and a half hours to complete his record-breaking swim. His records were verified by the World Open Water Swimming Association.

Until recently he described his dread of open water as his "final fear". But he prepared for the daunting deep ocean dip with daily swims to improve stamina and technique, carrying his trunks around at all times in case he passed a pool to build up the lengths.

His swim challenge was driven by the BBC's Big Splash initiative, a UK-wide campaign to get the nation swimming.

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