Oxford students Lennard Lee, Harry Fisher and Nicholas Berry have broken the British record for crossing the Straits of Gibraltar, raising over £1,700 for charity through their account at http://www.justgiving.com/gibstraits.

The three students, who met through the Oxford University swimming club, swum the 22km from Spain to Morocco in three hours and 38 minutes, beating the previous high-profile record set by Little Britain actor David Walliams and Olympic rower James Cracknell by almost an hour.

Queens medic Lee, who finished his degree this year, is believed to be the first Malaysian to have completed the feat.

The passage across the Straits of Gibraltar is widely considered one of the most challenging and dangerous swims in the world. Before their attempt the students highlighted the potential pitfalls of sharks, killer whales, jelly fish, currents of up to 5km/hour and icy cold water temperatures.

The money raised will go to children’s charity the Variety Club, which works to provide care, equipment and practical support for sick, disabled and disadvantaged children.