Adam Walker

Oceans seven: the toughest channel swims

Photo: ANDREW WHITTON

Adam Walker is the fifth person to complete the challenge of swimming the seven toughest channel swims in the world. Here he tells The Red Bulletin what went through his mind while conquering mother nature

English Channel

English Channel

English Channel

21 miles, 11hr 35min

“Just over three hours into the swim, I convinced myself that is was over as I couldn’t stop being sick! I thought, ‘I’m burning 1,100 calories an hour and not taking in any fuel, its impossible!’ I gave myself a good talking to and said, ‘if the boat wasn’t there you would swim across to save yourself Adam.’ I had to go into survival mode to succeed!”

2 Way Gibraltar Straits

19 miles, 9hr 39min

“Breaking the British record took everything out of me. I tried to convince myself it would be easier on the way back when deep down I knew it would be twice as long and a race against time before the current could push me out to the Atlantic. I had to switch off any negative thoughts, as I knew deep down the odds of completing it were stacked against me.”

2 Way Gibraltar Straits

2 Way Gibraltar Straits

Molokai Straits

Molokai Straits

Molokai Straits

26 miles, 17hr 2min 

“It was like two different swims, I was so close to finishing after nine hours and then it all went wrong! I was pushed backwards for hours and I had a couple of shark sightings. I was stung by a Portuguese man o’ war, lost feeling in my spine and had to pull tentacles off my stomach. My first thought was that this wasn’t just the end of the swim but the end of me! To this day, I’m still not sure how I kept going with no support. I have never felt so much pain and I had to keep swimming for more than three hours to complete the 17 hour non-stop swim!”

“I had to go into survival mode to succeed!”
Adam Walker, 37

Catalina Island

21 miles, 12hr 15min

“After swimming in darkness for the first six hours, I was glad to see the sun come up. As it did my tendon in my shoulder ruptured and it became useless to pull with my left arm! I  knew it would take another six hours of swimming with just one arm if I wanted to finish.”

Catalina Island

Catalina Island

Tsugaru Channel

Tsugaru Channel

Tsugaru Channel

15 miles, 15hr 31min

“I was sick after just 30 minutes and it carried on for the first four hours. The swim looked over before I had even started. I was then told by the pilot to sprint to beat the current. This went on for almost twelve hours and I knew that if didn’t swim fast enough I wouldn’t make it. My heart was beating so fast I thought it was about to burst and the waves were 10 to 12 foot high. I knew I had to just stick with it and believe at some point the ocean gods would let me finish!”

 “I have never felt so much pain and I had to keep swimming for more than three hours to complete the 17 hour non-stop swim!”

Cook Strait

14 miles, 8hr 39min

“Everything was going great for the first two hours and then I started to be sick and couldn’t stop. I prayed to the Ocean gods to give me something positive. Just after I thought that out of nowhere a pod of dolphins came beside me. After 30 minutes I looked down and saw a shark floating underneath me, checking me out. The dolphins treated me like part of their pod and wedged me in. They stayed with me until the shark disappeared; it was incredible.

Cook Strait

Cook Strait 

North Channel (Ireland to Scotland)

North Channel (Ireland to Scotland)

North Channel (Ireland to Scotland)

22 miles, 8hr 40min

“One hour into the swim I got barricaded in by lion’s man jellyfish and my crew didn’t know what was happening as I began to swim backwards to avoid them. My concern was to not get too many stings early into the swim. Although stings would have warmed me up a little as the water was freezing!”

“The dolphins treated me like part of their pod and wedged me in; it was incredible”
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04 2016 The Red Bulletin

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