A Loughborough University alumnus is taking on an epic 200km swimming challenge for mental health – a feat which involves completing the seven toughest and most iconic channel swims in the world.
Andrew Donaldson, an Accounting and Financial Management graduate from the university, has set himself the ambitious challenge of completing the ‘Ocean’s Seven Swim Challenge for Mental Health.’
He hopes to break the current cumulative record time of 64 hours and 35 minutes and to raise vital funds for the Black Dog Institute – a charity advocating for mental health research.
So far, he has completed five of the channel swims, breaking the World Record on the Cook Straight and achieving a new British Record on both the English and North Channels.
Last month, Andrew achieved another extraordinary feat by completing the 14.4km Strait of Gibraltar swim from Tarifa, Spain to Morocco in a time of 2 hours and 56 minutes.
This latest accomplishment brings him one step closer to becoming the first person ever to conquer all seven swims of the Oceans Seven within a single year.
Explaining his decision to raise funds for mental health, Andrew said: “According to the World Health Organisation, depression is expected to become the leading global health concern by 2030. Mental illness is something that doesn’t discriminate, and having personally experienced the challenges of depression, I wanted to do something that could help.
“As a lifelong swimmer, the Oceans Seven provided the perfect opportunity and platform for this. And through this endeavour, I hope to share powerful messages around resilience, community, and hope, and to raise much needed funds for this cause close to my heart.”
His previous endeavours include a challenging swim from the island of Molokai to Oahu in Hawaii, where he battled treacherous conditions for nearly 16 hours to cover over 50km. In contrast, the favourable conditions in Tarifa provided Andrew with an opportunity to showcase his speed and expertise in the water.
Next month will see him take on the final two swims on his journey; the Catalina Channel in Los Angeles and the Tsugaru Strait between Honshu and Hokkaido in Japan.
If you wish to donate to Andrew’s chosen charity and support his mission, visit: https://www.teamblackdog.org.au/fundraisers/oceansseven