British man swims across the Irish Sea ... and into record books

Adam Walker has completed, at his first attempt, the Ocean's Seven challenge
Adam Walker has completed, at his first attempt, the Ocean's Seven challenge

A British competitor swam into the record books this week when he crossed the Irish Sea in the final gruelling leg of an international challenge.

Adam Walker became the first-ever British athlete to succeed at the Ocean’s Seven challenge, in which daring competitors take on some of the toughest stretches of open water in the world.

The 36-year-old Englishman finished the last of these on Wednesday, when he made it across the sea from Donaghadee to Portpatrick in south-west Scotland.

The journey is roughly 21 miles, and he made it in 10 hours and 45 minutes.

It followed swims across open water in Hawaii, Gibraltar, the USA and elsewhere.

The task has taken him six years to complete.

He said: “I just can’t believe that I’ve finally done it! I am ecstatic to finish seven out of seven swims on the first attempt.

“This swim was the last of the hardest seven ocean swims on the planet and to know that I am the first British person ever to succeed is a truly amazing feeling.”

As well as being the first British person to succeed at the Ocean’s Seven, he is also only the second person in the world to complete all seven swims that make up the Ocean’s Seven challenge on the first attempt.

Before him, only four challengers have ever completed the feat at all – which has been described as the aquatic equivalent of the Seven Summits.

Amon them had been Stephen Redmond from Ireland.

A statement on behalf of Mr Walker added that “the Irish Channel is widely considered to be the most difficult channel swim in the world due to its heavy seas, hypothermia-inducing water temperature and strong currents.

“Adam also faced the threat of large pods of Lion’s Mane jellyfish, the largest known species of jellyfish that inhabits the waters and can reach a diameter of over 6ft 6ins with its tentacles topping 49 ft.”

He was stung a few times, but said that “their bark is worse than their bite”.

According to the statement, some hair-raising encounters he faced on other swims included being stung by a Portuguese Man ‘O War and being saved from a Great White shark by a protective pod of dolphins.

The Lincolnshire man, who recently gave up his job as a travelling salesman to be a swimming coach, trained five days a week in readiness for his final leg.