TEN teenagers have managed to raise thousands of pounds for charity by working together to take on a mammoth swimming challenge.

Pupils from Bryanston School near Blandford have completed a challenging swim across The Solent and have already raised nearly £5,000 for Level Water, a national children’s charity.

The ten pupils, aged between 14 and 18, successfully completed the 6km crossing from Fort Gilkicker near Gosport to Ryde Sands on the Isle of Wight after many months of intensive open water training at various locations along the Dorset coast.

Bryanston’s Head of Swimming, Richard Johnson, said: “This is a stunning achievement for every member of the team.

“The Solent is an iconic stretch of water and presents a real test of endurance and a demanding challenge for even the most accomplished swimmers, as the swell, tidal currents and water traffic can be very disorientating. Although absolutely exhausted, all of our swimmers had beaming smiles as they climbed out of the water and there is no doubt the experience will last in their memory for many years to come.

"They deserve a great deal of credit for their diligent approach to training and for rising to the challenge with such determination and good humour.”

It took around 2 hours for all pupils to complete the swim, with 14-year-old Max Leigh completing the course in just 1 hour 8 minutes. The event was planned and supervised by experienced event organisers, Solent Swim, with kayakers accompanying each pupil and RIB boats providing full safety cover throughout the swim.

The pupils are all from the swimming team at Bryanston, which was formed a few years ago following completion of the school’s new swimming facility. After successful participation at the national swimming event held at the London Aquatics Centre, team members were said to be keen to develop their open water swimming experience and chose The Solent swimming challenge as an ambitious target to aim for.

Although the national lockdowns curtailed further gala attendance and much of the planned training, they have spent the past six months training in Bryanston’s swimming pool and in the sea at Chapman’s Pool, Weymouth and Studland.

Bryanston's new Swim Squad Captain, Blaise Lanphere, 17, said: “We are delighted to have raised so much money for Level Water.

“Although the swim was a real test of stamina and it was quite unnerving to be swimming with so many yachts, hovercrafts, ferries and cargo ships around us, we all knew our efforts were for such a good cause. The charity is very close to our hearts as it uses the power and experience of swimming to improve lives for children with disabilities.”

Anyone wishing to support the fundraising by the Bryanston Swim Squad should visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/brysolentswim2021.