14 September, 2023
Andy Donaldson Splashes out the Last Frontier of the Ocean Sevens Challenge!
In an electrifying display of determination and skill, Andrew Donaldson of Team Speedo has etched his name into history as the 25th individual to conquer the Oceans Sevens Challenge. With his indomitable spirit, Donaldson achieved this remarkable feat on the 27th of July, triumphantly crossing the Tsugaru Strait in Japan’s mighty waters in a heart-pounding spectacle that lasted 13 hours, 4 minutes and 30 seconds (quite the contrast to his 19.7km Rottnest Channel Swim win in 2021 which only took 4 hours 4 minutes). This leg, though the shortest in distance, became an epic showdown with time itself, as relentless currents dared to drag him away from the shorts in the final five kilometres.
But this is no ordinary victory – Donaldson has shattered records and redefined what’s possible. Not only has be accomplished all seven swims within a single year, an unprecedented feat, but he’s accomplished it in record-breaking time, crushing the previous mark held by Attila Manyoki of Hungary. The fastest overall time, a daunting 64 hours and 35 minutes has been obliterated by Andy’s astonishing achievement of 63 hours flat.
Donaldson, embodying the spirit of an aquatic superhero, donned his Speedo Briefs and Speedsocket Goggles, diving into this exhilarating journey in August 2022 with an explosive start – conquering the English Channel Swim with a blazing time that market the fastest crossing from England to France in a decade, and an all-time fastest for a British Male. Adding to his litany of triumphs, he became the trailblazing pioneer to complete the Tsugaru Strait Crossing in the year 2023.
Prepare to be spellbound by Donaldson's extraordinary times for each leg of this aquatic odyssey:
- English Channel (England-France, 33km): 8 hours 0 minutes (A new British Record!)
- North Channel (Ireland-Scotland, 34.5km): 9 hours 13 minutes (Another British Record!)
- Cook Strait (New Zealand, 22km): 4 hours 33 minutes (A World Record!)
- Molokai Channel (Hawaii, 43km): 15 hours 52 minutes
- Strait of Gibraltar (Spain-Morocco, 14.5km): 2 hours 56 minutes (Yet another British Record!)
- Catalina Channel (USA, 32km): 9 hours 22 minutes (You guessed it, another British Record!)
- Tsugaru Strait (Japan, 19.5km): 13 hours 4 minutes of sheer adrenaline-pumping triumph!
Throughout this audacious expedition, Donaldson encountered moments that would make your heart race – from sharing the water with majestic pods of dolphins in the Strait of Gibraltar to overcoming daunting challenges such as unpredictable currents. Even a stay in hospital following his “Channel of Bones” swim in Hawaii couldn’t dampen his unyielding focus on completing the Ocean Seven Challenge.
But the battles he waged weren’t just against natures elements. Andy displayed unparalleled courage as he wrestled with his own mental struggles. In the face of fierce currents, frigid waters, menacing jellyfish, and lurking sharks, he also confronted his inner demons. This courageous crusader was not just swimming for himself – every stroke raised funds for the Black Dog Institute, a vanguard in mental health research. In his own words, “mental illness doesn’t discriminate. Anyone can be affected, and often, those who need help the most won’t seek it.” His dedication to the Black Dog Institute was a testament to his unwavering commitment to understanding, treating, and preventing mental illness. His heroic efforts raised over $40k, and the charity continues to welcome donations to support their critical work.
From all of us at Speedo, thunderous applause and congratulations resound for Andy and his phenomenal achievements! Our excitement knows no bounds as we eagerly anticipate the next chapter in his aquatic saga.
Curious to delve deeper into Andrew’s Ocean Seven Swims? Dive into our riveting blog articles and soak in the awe-inspiring journey Blog!