March 11, 2017

The classic open-water swims are an individual exercise. In principle, the only competition is to reach the opposite shore. After my Catalina crossing in January, however, I received an unexpected message in my Facebook inbox from the Australian Stephen Jung.

I decided to message him back to ask what I could do for him. After the formal greetings, Stephen came to the point: “When is your window for the North Channel?” I answered him and asked him when his was. It turns out that his is also this summer—on the tide after mine. He had wanted to know if he was going to have the chance to become the seventh person to complete the Oceans Seven.

Currently, only six people have successfully completed the challenge: Stephen Redmond (Ireland), Anna Carin Norden (Sweden), Michelle Macy (United States), Darren Miller (United States), Adam Walker (England) and Kimberly Chambers (New Zealand). Stephen, along with Penny Palfrey (Australia) and Rohan More (India), has six crossings in the bag, while eight others, including myself, have completed five.

Unlike Stephen, my friend Rohan has already completed the North Channel and has only the Cook Strait ahead of him. However, Rohan’s attempt is scheduled for March, 2018. If I am able to cross the Cook Strait, therefore, I will put myself in a position to become the seventh person to complete the Oceans Seven.

Several pairs of eyes will be watching the results of my attempt. It will certainly add a little extra flavor to my swim.