An actress who will play the first woman to swim across the English Channel in an upcoming movie spent “hours in the water” during filming.

Kirsten Callaghan, from Brighton, plays Mercedes Gleitze in the film Vindication Swim and revealed that she spent hours in the water during filming.

She acts out the story of Mercedes in the biopic which tells the tale of the woman who became the first to swim the English Channel in 1927.

Until recently, Mercedes’ story was more or less forgotten.

But in January last year, the swimmer was honoured with a blue plaque in Freshfield Road, where she was born.

It commemorated Mercedes' remarkable achievement swimming the Channel in 15 hours and 15 minutes and also marked the end of filming for Vindication Swim.

Following her successful channel swim, Mercedes turned her focus to breaking new recordsby swimming the Straits of Gibraltar, the Dardanelles and all around the Isle of Man.

By the time of her retirement in 1932 her record for endurance swimming was 46 hours.

Kirsten revealed she spent hours in the water during filming as she took part in the city’s Big Brighton Sea Swim on Sunday, July 9, to raise money for charity.

Funds raised from the swim went towards Friends of Brighton and Hove Hospitals.

Inspired by Mercedes’ determination, Kirsten has now developed a passion for sea swimming.

“I love sea swimming so I am honoured to be an ambassador of the Big Brighton Sea Swim,” said Kirsten.

“Over the past year, I have become very close to the members of Friends of Brighton and Hove Hospitals. As the daughter of an intensive care nurse, I understand the pressures on NHS staff.”

Friends of Brighton and Hove Hospitals support the city's NHS services by raising funds from the local community to benefit patients in hospital and those treating and caring for them.

Kirsten said: “The charity's work is truly inspirational, making a difference to patients' and NHS staff’s lives. 

“So far, we have raised £5,000 and we hope to raise more now the swim has been completed.” 

Vindication Swim is due to be released this October 2023.