Frank Skinner has conquered his lifelong fear of water, by swimming 25 metres as part of his ‘Frank Skinner Dipping Challenge’ for Sport Relief.
The comedian put himself to the ultimate test, undergoing eight weeks of physical and psychological training to help him overcome his phobia to be able to take on the challenge. Entering the pool at Barnet Copthall Leisure Centre at 10:16am today, Frank was cheered on by a very supportive audience including Adrian Chiles, Clare Balding and Karen Pickering.
Halfway through the swim, Frank swallowed water and began to panic. He said: “Towards the end I had one of my little panics that I often have – but I could hear the crowd and I just thought ‘no, no, I can’t stop now’ and I kept going. I was half drowning, half choking -It was a good advert for terror!”
However, despite a tense start, Frank managed to complete the swim in his first attempt and was greeted at the sidelines by Karen and trainer, David Tatler, with a congratulatory hug.
Upon completing the challenge, Frank said: “I’m absolutely knocked out. I’m so relieved and excited. I lay in bed last night thinking about all the different ways I wouldn’t finish that length. I want someone to learn to swim because of this. I know it looked really tough and frightening but I’ve had a good laugh and it will stay with me forever.”