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Andy Donaldson Joins Oceans Seven Fraternity – in Record Time

Andy Donaldson crossed the 19.5 km Tsugaru Channel in northern Japan today in rough conditions to complete the Oceans Seven within one calendar year, the first person in history to do so.

Not only did Donaldson complete the Oceans Seven within a year, but he also set the fastest cumulative time of the Oceans Seven (unofficial, unverified time of 63 hours 2 minutes), breaking the former record held by International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Honor Swimmer Attila Mányoki of Hungary:

  • English Channel: 8 hours 0 minutes
  • North Channel: 9 hours 13 minutes
  • Cook Strait: 4 hours 33 minutes (record)
  • Molokai Channel: 15 hours 52 minutes
  • Strait of Gibraltar: 2 hours 56 minutes
  • Catalina Channel: 9 hours 22 minutes
  • Tsugaru Channel: 13 hours 4 minutes

Mányoki said, “I am proud to be the second fastest Oceans Seven swimmer behind Andy. I lost the fastest overall time, but it is really nice who I lost it to. I give my place to Andy Donaldson – my crown is now on your head. Congratulations.”

Donaldson had a very tough swim, starting out in a location on Aomori Prefecture never before attempted. He battled a tough lateral west-to-east Tsugaru Current the entire way, in addition to a stubborn eddy as he approached Hokkaido. His experience and course was very reminiscent of Darren MIller’s 15 hour 55 minute crossing in 2012.

Jay Prachal, his handler who fed him regularly every 15 minutes throughout the crossing, mentioned, “Oh boy what a day. I am absolutely knackered. He has battled head-on currents and side-on swells. I am in absolute awe of Andy Donaldson and proud of Team Andy!

Coach Shelley Taylor-Smith who is part of his support team said, “The past 12 months has been an amazing experience and privilege to be a part of Andy’s journey to achieve the Oceans Seven. It may take a great swimmer, but the swimmer is only a small piece of the puzzle. There is no solo in marathon swimming and this team has worked exceptionally together. I have been impressed with the respect everyone has had for each other and the role each has played.”

Images from his tracker:

Mányoki’s cumulative time for the Oceans Seven was 64 hours 33 minutes, completed in August 2019:

  • English Channel: 10 hours 48 minutes
  • North Channel: 12 hours 11 minutes
  • Cook Strait: 6 hours 57 minutes
  • Molokai Channel: 12 hours 2 minutes (record)
  • Strait of Gibraltar: 4 hours 9 minutes
  • Catalina Channel: 10 hours 59 minutes
  • Tsugaru Channel: 7 hours 29 minutes

Donaldson said after the crossing, “I take my hat off to Attila. This last swim was the toughest. I didn’t think I was going to finish, let alone break his time.”

Donaldson’s goal in completing the Oceans Seven within a year is to raise money and awareness for mental health, honoring his grandfather who had depression, by representing research charity the Black Dog Institute. He had a talk with Steven Munatones prior to departing California for Japan en route to the Tsugaru Channel.

Donaldson became the 24th person in history have completed the Oceans Seven:

  1. Stephen Redmond (Ireland)
  2. AnnaCarin Nordin (Sweden)
  3. Michelle Macy (U.S.A.)
  4. Darren Miller (U.S.A.)
  5. Adam Walker (UK)
  6. Kimberley Chambers (New Zealand)
  7. Antonio Argüelles (Mexico)
  8. Ion Lazarenco Tiron (Moldavia and Ireland)
  9. Rohan Dattatrey More (India)
  10. Abhejali Bernardová (Czech Republic)
  11. Cameron Bellamy (South Africa)
  12. Lynton Mortensen (Australia)
  13. Thomas Pembroke (Australia)
  14. Nora Toledano Cadena (Mexico)
  15. Mariel Hawley Dávila (Mexico)
  16. André Wiersig (Germany)
  17. Elizabeth Fry (USA)
  18. Attila Mányoki (Hungary)
  19. Jonathan Ratcliffe (UK)
  20. Jorge Crivilles Villanueva (Spain)
  21. Adrian Sarchet (Guernsey)
  22. Prabhat Koli (India)
  23. Dina Levačić (Croatia)
  24. Herman Van Der Westhuizen (South Africa)
  25. Andy Donaldson (Scotland)

What a year. What an achievement. What guts.

What a group of adventurers.

Photos above show escort boat pilot Captain Mizushima, coordinator Haruyuki Ishii, and handler Jay Prchal observing Andrew Donaldson in the Tsugaru Channel en route to complete the Oceans Seven in northern Japan in July 2023.

© 2023 Daily News of Open Water Swimming – “to educate, enthuse, and entertain all those who venture beyond the shore

1 thought on “Andy Donaldson Joins Oceans Seven Fraternity – in Record Time”

  1. Congratulations Andy, Eoin Carroll his swim coach at Perth City Swimming Club and Ryan Evernden his S+C coach at formidable strength and conditioning.
    The hard work has paid off.

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