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Hull man Richard Royal becomes first to swim solo across River Humber and back in horrific condition

A Hull swimmer has become the first to swim solo across the width of the River Humber and back.

Richard Royal, who also works as the energy programme manager at the Humber Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), took the plunge into the estuary on Saturday afternoon, cheered on by family and friends.

He made the crossing, close to the Humber Bridge, in a time of just one hour and 14 minutes, becoming the first person to do the swim alone.

Richard, who has previously swum the English Channel, admitted the River Humber crossing had been “a lot more difficult than expected.”

He said: “You do everything you can to plan and make sure you choose the right date and time, but actually you cannot predict the weather.

“The waves were a lot bigger than I thought they would be, and it was choppier too. On the way going out I was trying to swim in one direction, but being taken in the other.”

It is not the first time that Richard has dipped his toes into the waters of the River Humber. Last year, he was part of a group of swimmers that completed a one-way swim from the south to the north bank. However, nobody has ever swam shore-to-shore in a two-way swim on their own before.

Richard took on the swim to raise money for charity Humber Rescue, which works tirelessly to save lives in the estuary.

He was accompanied on the crossing on Saturday afternoon by the Humber Rescue boat, and said afterwards: “They just do such an incredible job of keeping everyone safe.

“They are all volunteers, and they are reliant on people raising money for them so they can continue. It was quite nice when I was swimming and turned my head that way to see the rescue boat alongside me.”

He is a member of Hull Masters Swimming Club and Humberside Water Polo team and has ticked off many challenges from an impressive list.

He has previously swam from Alcatraz to San Francisco, completed an English Channel relay and has competed in the World and European Masters Swimming Championships.

Last year, he set a world and British record by becoming the first person to swim to the UK mainland from the Principality of Sealand. The record-breaking 12km swim in the North Sea was made into a short documentary titled ‘Escape from Sealand’ and Richard was knighted by the micro-nation described as “the world’s smallest country.”

Richard has so far raised more than £700 for Humber Rescue.

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