Monday, August 2

Six Brighton swimmers swim the Channel

- August 9, 2012

A Hove business boss and five fellow Brighton Swimming Club members swam across the English Channel for charity yesterday (Wednesday 8 August).

Rob Starr, 43, who lives and works in Hove, started learning to swim just two and a half years ago with the aim of swimming to France.

He was raising money for the Edward Starr Charitable Trust which was set up in memory of his father with the aim of helping children smile.

He was joined for the Channel relay by Brighton DJ Alex Downey, 38, Hove book editor Lindy Dunlop, 48, Hove dentist James Hooper, 56, Brighton University lecturer Leo Santos-Shaw, 48, and holistic therapist Shoichi Yanagisawa, 34, from Hove.

Team Starrfish – Rob Starr with James Hooper, Lindy Dunlop, Leo Santos-Shaw, Shoichi Yanagisawa and Alex Downey

Mr Starr, chief executive of Seico, the Hove insurance company and mortgage broker, described the swim as “12 hours and 57 minutes of madness”.

The relay team set off from Dover at about 4am.

Mr Starr said: “We had expected, and hoped for, a calm sea throughout and a bright sun once the moon had dropped off.

“What we got was a gale force 4 from start to finish, a cloud covering that was greyer than something very grey and the odd splat of rain. So this clearly was not going to be a Channel swim with ease.

“The swim itself was gladly not plagued by jellyfish as we all feared and a force 4 gale, while very choppy and bumpy, was not enough to stop six swimmers who spend every morning in the sea off Brighton.”

He said that he was the slowest of the six swimmers, adding: “My average of 52 strokes a minute was good enough for someone who two years ago could hardly swim and had never been in the sea.”

On his blog, Mr Starr quoted Henry Ford, saying: “If you believe you can or if you believe you can’t, either way you are right.”

To donate, go to

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