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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Adam Walker Rises To #7 In The Oceans Seven

With his 12 hour 15 minute crossing of the Catalina Channel on behalf of Sports Aid, Britain's Adam Walker continued his steady climb up the Oceans Seven rankings.

Now holding at #7 with his English Channel, Molokai Channel, Strait of Gibraltar and Catalina Channel crossings, Walker is heading to Japan in June 2013 for his next challenge, the Tsugaru Channel.

Walker aims to be the first British swimmer to complete the 7 channels.

And like his fellow adventurers, Walker is constantly reminded in his travels around the world that the Oceans Seven is always a daunting task and each channel presents unique challenges and a never-ending battle against nature. "Conditions in Catalina were very unusual foggy so I couldn’t see land until I was 150 yards away from shore. This was very demoralizing as I never felt I was getting any closer."

If it was not external forces throwing up obstacles, Walker was also facing inner demons. "The swim started at midnight. I was repeatedly sick for the next 3½ hours, I felt completely drained of energy after 4½ hours and hit a huge wall." But the famed Oceans Seven swimmers are well-known for their going over or threw walls. "After 5 hours I was over halfway across. I told myself I had been tired like this before and pressed on. Light came up at 6:30 am, which made me feel upbeat. However, the sun was covered due to the fog so the air temperature was still cool."

Compared to the English Channel, North Channel and Cook Strait, the Catalina Channel is not known for being a cold-water channel, but circumstances always differ for each swimmer. "I was cold throughout, although the temperature was around 19-20°C. However, I had much less fat this time so felt it more. With 3 miles to go, my left shoulder started to pack in and the temperature dropped by 3°C to 17°C which was expected. But it instantly gave me the shivers."

Shivering, yes. But giving in to the cold, fog, disorientation in the dark, sore shoulder or illness, no. A definite, resounding no. "I was cold throughout due to being repeating sick and having no warm drinks in my body. I had the fire service follow me in for the last 3 miles to encourage me which was great." And besides the human companionship, marine life also made its presence known. "I was stung several times including on my face by jellyfish. I also had some seals follow me behind at some points."

But land and his finish made it all worthwhile. "The best part of the swim was eventually seeing land - which seem to take forever - and knowing that another one of the Oceans Seven is ticked off the list."

4 down, 3 to go on the list.

Copyright © 2012 by World Open Water Swimming Association

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