Actor ready for latest role – swimming from Mumbles to Porthcawl

HE has treaded the boards, but he is certainly not treading water.

Port Talbot actor Kristian Phillips is taking to the sea again on Friday for his latest long-distance swim.

Last year he completed a 7.5-mile sea swim in the slipstream of his father, setting off from Mumbles Pier Beach and arriving at Aberavon three hours 22 minutes later.

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Now he is doubling up, setting out from the same point but this time going the extra seven miles or so to Porthcawl.

Taking on such maritime challenges is as much in the 28 year-old’s blood as performing on stage or in front of the camera.

ABOVE: Kristian Phillips emerges from the sea at Aberavon after another training swim.

So much so, that he is planning to swim the English Channel next year if all goes well with this one.

“I started training in March when it was 13C,” said Kristian. “I always start when it is cold so I get used to it. I have done one and a half hour swims at Aberavon and when I am in London I swim in an open air lido in Brixton.”

His most recent role took him to Croatia for a production of Shakespeare’s Richard 111 with Ralph Fiennes.

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“We had three weeks of rehearsal and the production was a week,” he said. “I trained when I was there.”

So he is all set to tackle the Mumbles to Porthcawl sea route.

“Last year I raised over £3,000, but it put a lot of extra pressure on,” said Kristian. “This year I am doing it for myself. But next year I am aiming to do a big swim, the English Channel from Dover to Calais, so I might raise some money then.”

ABOVE: Kristian Phillips takes a drama workshop at Blaenbaglan Primary School in 2011.

Last year he raised money for Cancer Support UK as gratitude for his father’s recovery from bowel cancer. Robbie Phillips did the Mumbles to Aberavon swim 50 years ago before at the age of 16, and his long list of aquatic honours includes two valiant English Channel attempts. He was also one of the founders of the New Year’s Day Dip at Aberavon.

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Robbie Phillips has also done Mumbles to Porthcawl and said: “It is a route recognised by the British Long Distance Swimming Association and the old Welsh Amateur Swimming Association. This one is 14 and a half miles long in a straight line, but Kristian will end up doing about 16 miles. Last year’s Mumbles to Aberavon swim was seven and a half miles, which was actually eight or nine miles. He did it in three hours 22 minutes and this one should take five to six hours from Mumbles Pier to Coney Beach.”

Kristian, a product of Bristol Old Vic, has a list of credits which include Wizards Vs Aliens for the BBC, a host of theatre productions and recently filming in Swansea for Fish Finger Sandwich with Kev Johns.

But his next appearance is in the sea, with a scheduled 12.40pm departure from Mumbles Pier Beach.

“I was nervous last year,” he said. “I found it stressful. This year I am chilled. I feel positive.”

Chris Peregrine / @Perers71

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