Eco campaigner Oly Rush completes 37-hour Caribbean island swim

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Oly Rush finishing his swimImage source, Deep South Media
Image caption,
Mr Rush said completing the challenge was the "hardest thing" he has ever done

An eco campaigner, who has raised thousands of pounds for charity, is thought to be the first person to swim around Grand Cayman non-stop.

Oly Rush, 37, completed the 95.5km (59.3 miles) swim around the Caribbean island in 36 hours and 59 minutes.

Mr Rush, from Upton, Dorset, said the "absolutely brutal" challenge was "the hardest thing" he has completed.

Last August, he completed a 15-hour swim around the Isle of Wight to highlight marine pollution.

The plasterer was able to walk from the sea unaided but was taken in an ambulance to hospital after completing his latest feat.

Image source, Deep South Media
Image caption,
Mr Rush, from Dorset, also completed a swim around the Isle of Wight in August

He was partnered by charities Plastic Free Cayman and Project Planet in his challenge, and has so far raised more than £18,000 online.

"I got round but it was absolutely brutal, it was so, so difficult," he said.

"It took me to some very dark places and I literally wanted to ocean to swallow me up."

"I was never going to quit because I was so motivated by the environmental cause and what humans are doing to the planet, but it was the hardest thing I've ever done.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Grand Cayman includes beautiful beaches including Seven Mile Beach

"My food plan went out of the window after four hours and there were channels I had to swim through by myself because the support kayaks couldn't get through due to the swell.

"There were some sections where I was making little to no progress against the currents."

Mr Rush said there were "no major incidents" during the swim, as he battled through difficult conditions that left him with a tongue so swollen he found drinking difficult.

He added: "It is too early to say what I'll do next but I'll continue to raise awareness about sea pollution and no doubt when I get home I'll be on beaches clearing them of plastics."

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