Picking up a new hobby after watching a movie on an aeroplane may seem fairly normal to most people – but when that new hobby involves swimming the English Channel followed by some of the most dangerous straits of water known to man, it begins to sound less conventional!
Adam Walker did exactly that, and eventually his accomplishments in swimming allowed him to turn his passion into a career as a swim coach and motivational speaker, with his own coaching website oceanwalkeruk.com to promote the teaching of the Ocean Walker front crawl technique.
How the Ocean Walker swim stroke can benefit triathletes
Adam on one of his record-breaking swims - with some company in the background!
From his humble beginnings as a toaster salesman, Adam went on to become the first Brit to swim from Spain to Morocco and back (a feat only nine people have ever accomplished). Not only this, but Adam had ‘no choice’ but to break the British record for a single crossing on the return swim before the tides and the weather got the best of him. He has also swam the Oceans 7 channel swimming challenge, the swimming equivalent to the seven summits in mountaineering, and a new book charting his epic adventures is now on sale.
As a youngster, Adam suffered numerous injuries that hampered a potential cricket career and other sporting opportunities:
“It’s a similar story to most sportsmen who suffer injuries at a young age. By the time I got to my twenties I thought I was too old to make it anywhere in sport because you need to do it as a teenager.
“I felt I was capable of doing something, but didn’t know what it was. I watched a movie of a man swimming the English Channel on a plane and was inspired. I thought: well the two things I was bad at in my swimming days were front crawl and long distance. I was a backstroke sprinter before, so I made it my aim to master something I never got the hang of before.”
Adam’s rise from salesman to one of the most accomplished open-water swimmers around was immortalised by a peculiar scenario that would eventually end up on TV screens. While swimming in New Zealand for his dolphin conservation charity, Adam was joined on his journey by some unfamiliar company that may have saved his life. Footage went viral and has been seen over 5 million times on YouTube.
The video of Adam swimming in the Cook Strait, which has been viewed millions of times.
“A couple of dolphins appeared, I had a shark underneath me but they stayed with me for an hour and a half, pretty much saving my life. This then led to a documentary on dolphin intelligence that I’ve hosted this year. It’s amazing what materialised from this strange sequence of events in the end!”
The sheer distances Adam covers led us to wander how he fuels his mammoth swims. His reply wasn’t quite what we expected:
“By the time I got to New Zealand, the one thing that always settled my stomach and I found really beneficial was homemade soup; so I was getting my carbs mostly from vegatables and natural foods. Obviously that’s not as many carbs as you’d get in specific energy products, but because it’s all natural and good for my system I didn’t get any acid reflux issues that could have done more harm than good.”
Throughout his ocean adventures, Adam has been an ambassador for swimming brand Zoggs, and talked us through their new Predator Range:
“The new Predator swim shorts are fantastically comfortable and durable, the last thing you need when you’re swimming for 17 hours straight is poor quality kit so they’ve been brilliant for me so far.
“I’ve always been a huge fan of the Zoggs Predator goggles; they’re very soft and well-fitting, and I’m excited for the smoke lenses to come out in January to help with really sunny swims!”
Adam puts in a pool session wearing the new Zoggs Predator gear
After so many accomplishments, Adam told us he’s not quite done yet, and still has some tricks up his sleeve for the future:
“I’ve now started hosting long-distance swimming events, so I’m really enjoying giving back to others and helping them achieve their goals.
After achieving most of the things I wanted to personally, I’m now more focused on promoting the sport of swimming by coaching and teaching the Ocean Walker swimming technique, which has led to many of my swimmers achieving PB’s and preventing shoulder injuries. I’m also committed to raising awareness of my dolphin conservation charity, something very dear to my heart.
“I’m not sure if there will be another ocean challenge because once you’ve swam the seven toughest, there’s nothing to really top it! But I do have a challenge planned, it’s a bit up in the air at the moment and I can’t reveal what it is, but watch this space in the new year!”
Adam Walker's book 'Man VS Ocean' is now available to buy here. You can also visit the Ocean Walker website to find out more about the Ocean Walker front crawl swimming technique, and Adam's website to find out more about his latest challenges and events.
The Zoggs Predator swimwear range launches in January 2016 and will be available exclusively at Wiggle. The launch is being supported by open water swimmers and triathletes who have tried and tested the Predator range.
From January 2016 further information and product details will be available at www.wiggle.co.uk/zoggs