There has been a huge growth in the number of extreme swimming challenges that people are prepared to attempt. Perhaps it is the idea of achieving something that nobody else has ever done or seizing the opportunity to push your body to the limit of its endurance and many swimmers see it as a chance to raise a lot of money for charity. Here are some of the most impressive swim challenges that have been achieved.
Sean Conway – Lands End to John O’Groats in 2013
Sean Conway was the first person ever to complete this incredible swim challenge and here at Simply Swim we were really proud to have supplied some of the kit that helped him through it. He started on 30th June 2013 at Lands End and swam along the West coastline of the United Kingdom until he reached the northern most point of John O’Groats. The challenge took a total of 135 days of which 90 days were spent swimming. Sean swam a distance of 900 miles which is 1,400km and had to grow a beard to protect his face from jellyfish. He carried out this extreme swim challenge to raise money for the well known charity War Child.
Patagonia Extreme Cold Water Challenge
Open water swimmers are used to the challenge of swimming in colder waters but in 2011 five swimmers took this to the extreme when they attempted the Patagonia Extreme Cold Water Challenge. The plan was to complete three swims in a period of ten days by swimming the Straits of Magellan, Beagle Channel and a mile swim around Cape Horn which had never been completed before. The cold was not the only problem facing the five swimmers as conditions were dire for all three swims with high swells and strong currents. They managed to successfully complete the challenge and remain the only swimmers to have done so.
David Walliams – Thames Swim 2011
David Walliams has completed many different sporting challenges to raise money for Sports Relief and the challenge to swim the 140 miles of the River Thames was definitely one of the most difficult. The swim took eight days to complete and Walliams had to contend with illness, strong winds and fierce currents. Despite this, he remained in good cheer throughout and even managed to rescue a dog from the river while he was swimming. David Walliams raised over one million pounds for Sports relief by completing this impressive swim challenge.
Antarctic Circle Ice Challenge – 2014
Probably the most impressive challenge ever undertaken in terms of cold water, this took place in March 2014. The aim was to swim an ice mile, which is 1,650m, in the waters around Port Lockroy in Antarctica. The temperature of the water was -1C and for medical reasons the swimmers were only allowed to stay in the water for 35 minutes. Kayakers had to be deployed to clear ice from the path of the swimmers and they also had to contend with extremely strong currents. Three swimmers completed the mile course and became the first people ever to swim one mile inside the Antarctic Circle.
This challenge is undoubtedly the ultimate achievement for any extreme swimmer. It involves swimming seven of the hardest long distance swims in the world and includes the English Channel, the North Channel, the Strait of Gibraltar, the Cook Strait, the Tsugaru Strait, the Catalina Channel and the Molokai Channel. Only five people in the world have successfully completed all of the seven swims. Adam Walker from Nottinghamshire is the first Briton to complete the Oceans Seven Challenge, completing it by swimming the North Channel only a few days ago. Adam has not only completed the Oceans Seven challenge, he is also the first person to complete each of the swims on his first attempt! Well done Adam!