Up to 80 swimmers taking part in a race to raise money for the RNLI had to be rescued after getting swept out to sea, a spokesman for the charity said today.
Strong currents led to many of the competitors being pulled away by the tide during the 2.4-mile event in Joss Bay, Broadstairs, Kent, yesterday morning.
Peter Barker, from Margate RNLI lifeboat station, said: "Our inshore lifeboat at Margate was on exercise in the area when they spoke with people and it seemed very clear that a number of swimmers were experiencing difficulties in swimming against the tide.
"We went and picked up the swimmers and there were no injuries or problems."
He said the Ramsgate inshore lifeboat was also launched to assist but by the time it arrived everyone had been accounted for.
A spokesman for Dover Coastguard said he believed 80 people out of the 93 who had entered the race had to be rescued.
The race was one of a number of events to raise money for the charity organised by coaching and event company Votwo.
One swimmer, Mike Jennings from Gravesend, said just three people finished the race.
He told BBC Kent: "I didn't realise the seriousness of it until I got back to shore.
"They were still bringing them back at least an hour after I'd finished.
"I did two of the three laps and I realised that there was no way I going back out there for that third lap, just un-swimmable in one direction."
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