Swim pioneer helps team in Portsea Island challenge

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NAVY divers planning a charity swim around Portsea Island have taken advice from the first man to ever complete the challenge.

Brian Rann, 76, took on the gruelling 12-and-a-half-mile swim more than 30 years ago – and now he is helping a Royal Navy team prepare for their attempt later this year.

Lieutenant Commander Mick Beale said after meeting Brian he was considering changing the start point of their swim, to avoid being caught out by the tides.

‘His view was that starting from Gunwharf we might not be able to get all the way round,’ he said. ‘And he may be right.

‘It looks like we might choose a different point to start from because then the tides will be with us.’

The divers are part of Project Vernon – a campaign group trying to put a monument to navy divers in the shopping centre. Visit vernon-monument.org.