Oceans Seven: The Hardest Challenge In Swimming

“Oceans Seven”, together with the “Triple Crown”, is the toughest challenge for open water swimmers. A truly epic feat.
Oceans Seven: the hardest challenge in swimming

Oceans Seven is a truly difficult feat that only a few athletes have been able to accomplish : it consists of traversing seven canals or straits into the open sea, within what is known as an open water marathon. We tell you more in the following article.

What you need to know about the Oceans Seven

We could say that it is a challenge at sea equivalent to that of the seven peaks on land. To complete this course, swimmers must cross seven channels or straits during their career.

The first athlete to win the Oceans Seven was Irishman Stephen Redmond, aged 47, in 2012. Not many can boast of having done the same.

So far, only the following swimmers have completed the feat:

  • Anna-Carin Nordin (Sweden).
  • Michelle Macy and Darren Miller (United States).
  • Adam Walker and Kimberly Chambers (New Zealand).
  • Adam Walker and Jonathan Ratcliffe (Great Britain).
  • Rohan Dattatrey More (India).
  • Abhejali Bernardová (Czech Republic).
  • Lyntons Mortensen and Thomas Pembroke (Australia; Pembroke was the youngest, aged 29).
  • Cameron Bellami (South Africa).
  • André Wiersig (Germany).
  • Attila Manyoki (Hungary).
  • Antonio Arguelles (the eldest, 58) and Nora Toledano (Mexico).

What are the channels and straits of the Oceans Seven?

This open water swimming marathon includes four channels and three straits, representing every continent (excluding Antarctica). From east to west they are:

1. Cook Strait (Oceania)

It separates the two main islands of New Zealand, with a width of 26 kilometers and an average depth of 128 meters. The Cook Strait also separates the Tasman Sea from the Pacific Ocean.

It is named after the English sailor James Cook. On one of its banks is the capital of New Zealand, Wellington.

2. Tsugaru Strait (Asia)

It is located between two Japanese islands: Honshu and Hokkaido. It connects the Sea of ​​Japan with the Pacific Ocean and has a depth of between 140 and 200 meters. The distance of this channel is 47 kilometers, the longest in the Oceans Seven challenge .

Strait of Tsugaru.

3. English Channel (Europe)

The English Channel, or simply The English Channel, lies between England and France. It has a distance of 34 kilometers in the narrowest part and in the middle there are islands that belong to the British Crown.

The most important cities on both banks are: Dover, Southampton, Portsmouth (England), Le Havre, Calais, Dieppe and Cherbourg (France).

4. Strait of Gibraltar (Africa)

It is the smallest of the straits and canals within the Oceans Seven, at 14.4 kilometers. It divides two continents: Africa (Morocco) and Europe (Spain). The Strait of Gibraltar is located where the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean meet, as well as the rift point of two tectonic plates.

5. Northern Channel (Europe)

It is located in the British Isles and separates the eastern part of Northern Ireland with the southwestern part of Scotland, connecting the Irish Sea with the Atlantic Ocean. At its narrowest part, known as Moyle, it measures 20 kilometers.

6. Catalina Channel (America)

It has an extension of 33.7 kilometers and separates the continental part of California (United States) with the island of Catalina. The latter is a rocky island that “looks” directly at the city of Long Beach. Its highest point is Mount Orizaba, 639 meters high.

Athlete swimming in open water.

7. Moloka’i Channel (Oceania)

This channel is located in Hawaii, more precisely between the islands of O’Ahu and Molokai, with an extension of 41.8 kilometers. It is part of a network of natural channels between the islands of the archipelago.

Beyond the Oceans Seven …

Another of the most ambitious feats in the world of swimming is the “triple crown”, which is recognized by the World Open Water Swimming Association. This challenge consists of three channels: La Mancha, Catalina and Manhattan Island.

It is clear that, due to the degree of difficulty these challenges represent and the preparation they require, facing them is not for everyone. Of course you have to be ready both physically and psychologically to swim in these channels!

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