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Swimmer Lewis Pugh reaches Dover completing mammoth channel swim from Land’s End

The 48-year-old is estimated to have made more than 500,000 strokes across 49 days

Endurance swimmer Lewis Pugh has completed his 330-mile swim along the length of the English Channel from Land’s End to Dover.

The 48-year-old, who is estimated to have made more than 500,000 strokes across 49 days, was accompanied to the finish line on Shakespeare Beach by dozens of supporters from a local swimming group.

After arriving on the pebbled beach, he said he was “exhausted and exhilarated in equal measure”.

Mr Pugh, UN Patron of the Oceans, set off from Cornwall wearing swimming trunks, a cap and goggles on July 12.

He covered 10km to 20km (six to 12 miles) per day in the challenge overseen by the Channel Swimming Association.

His boundless endurance pushed him to carry on the taxing challenge, despite being told he had tendonitis and advised to rest by his physiotherapist just 10 days before the end.

The Long Swim is part of Mr Pugh’s mission to highlight inadequate protection of UK waters.

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Lewis Pugh swims into Shakespeare Beach

He is calling on the government to urgently strengthen marine protected areas around the UK and its Overseas Territories.

Before setting off, he warned of a “shocking” figure that just seven square kilometres (2.7 square miles) out of 750,000 square kilometres of coastal waters are fully protected.

The seven-week challenge saw Mr Pugh accompany marine conservation campaigners Surfers Against Sewage on beach cleans along the south coast.

Members of the group joined him on the beach after taking part in a litter-picking exercise in anticipation of his arrival.

Mr Pugh, from Plymouth, has been swimming the world’s waters for three decades and witnessed first-hand the threat that plastic pollution and climate change poses to the oceans.

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