There was no need for a stunt double for Alexandra Paul when those dangerous swimming scenes came calling on the set of Baywatch. She had it all covered.

“I’m a loner when it comes to training.” “I’m a loner when it comes to training."
Images: Pedro Virgil

By the time she’d made it on set, much to the delight of just about every red-blooded male teenage viewer the world over, she’d been slaving away for an hour in the gym – meaning she was ready for whatever the show’s directors threw her way.Since leaving the long-running smash-hit TV series and her beach-going mates like CJ Parker and Mitch Bucannon, who made up the Los Angeles County Lifeguards corp, LA-based Paul’s TV and film career (she shot six flicks in 2006 alone and has starred in several small screen series as well) has been complemented by other interests including activism (the environment, animal welfare, among many others) and sport. Yep, Paul, 46, has kept in such great shape thanks to her love of ultra-distance swimming, which she took up after knee surgery ended her running-for-fitness days.

In 1997 she attacked the Ironman Triathlon in Hawaii, finishing in 13hrs, 18mins. In ‘04 she competed in the Bonaire 10km ocean swim race. In 2006 she swam the Maui Channel Swim, a 16km course. When we caught up with her, she still held great memories of swimming from Denarau to Beachcomber Island, an 18km race in Fiji in 6hrs, 56mins in ’09. We can all learn a thing or two from “Stephanie Holden”


“It was a case of me having to take up marathon swimming. I had knee surgery in early 2004 which meant I could no longer run, so I needed to find a sport which would allow me to set myself goals without hurting myself. I really loved running – I’d done three marathons and an Ironman and some Half Ironman events. I’d been jogging for fitness since I was a teenager.“I’m not particularly competitive, so I wanted something that was more about the joy of the journey rather than how fast I could do it. I realise every athlete attacks their chosen sport with personal goals in mind, but for me there’s a real feeling of accomplishment – even if I finish last, which I do … ”


“I’m a loner when it comes to training. I can also take or leave too much racing, competitions and stuff. I prefer to train by myself and then tackle a long competitive swim every once in a while.“As an actress on location, sometimes pools or beaches are hard to find. When training for a road marathon, you can always go out running, but on location I find there aren’t many opportunities for me to train for ultra-distance swimming events. On top of that, when I swim, I get goggle marks under my eyes. If I get to the set looking like that and the marks are there for five hours, that’s not going to look good on camera! Avoiding getting sunburnt while training is another on-camera issue for me.”