Store boss takes on champion swimmer in madcap challenge

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HE’S a supermarket manager and she is a world champion swimmer.

It’s not the most likely of match-ups but yesterday Phil Bridgeman, who manages Sainsbury’s in Farlington, took on Portsmouth’s own Katy Sexton in a charity swimming race.

They went head-to-head in a 100m race in the swimming pool Springfield School in Central Road, Drayton, in aid of Comic Relief.

But in a twist, Katy had to balance a plastic cup on her head to give Phil an advantage.

A crowd of pupils and staff turned out to watch the entertainment.

Phil told The News: ‘We thought it would be great to launch Comic Relief fundraising at Farlington, and it’s great that Katy and I agreed to race 100m.

‘I thought I’d challenge her to see who was the fastest – and I can’t swim!

‘I’ve had some fantastic pledges from colleagues, managers and customers.

‘Another part of the event was that I was waxed and we had some great fun in the store with customers.

‘I don’t think you can put a figure on how much you raise for charity so I’m just going to go out for the max.’

Katy said: ‘I had to swim with a cup on my head to give Phil an advantage.

‘It’s good to do anything like this for charity around this time of year with Comic Relief and Sport Relief, and this is how we fell into this one.’

Phil made an impressive start to the race, opting for the front crawl, while Katy launched herself into action with the backstroke.

She was calm and collected as she tore through the pool with ease – and the plastic cup did not move an inch.

Her competitor was left in her wake as she stormed to victory, leaving Phil a little out of breath as he touched the finish line.

But the pair were in buoyant mood following the light-hearted competition knowing it was all for charity.

‘It was fantastic, great fun but it’s not like swimming on holiday’, Phil added.

‘I’m not planning on doing anything for next year but if we do it’ll be in a car or on a bike. I want to thank Katy for allowing us to do this and to Springfield School.

‘It has been good fun and I’m sure we’ve raised a good amount of money.’

Katy said: ‘The cup balancing was a skill I had practised when training anyway so I am quite confident with it and got it quite down. It was good fun.’

This year’s annual Comic Relief fundraiser takes place nationally on March 15.

Every year millions of pounds is raised nationally and locally through fundraising initiatives – both challenging and quirky.

Last year Sport Relief, its sporting counterpart, raised a staggering £67m.

To find out how you can get involved next month, go online at

n The News is helping to give away £50,000 as part of Comic Relief to local groups this year, with grants available of up to £1,000.

To apply on behalf of your group, and to find out more about the scheme, go to




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