Loughborough alumnus takes on charity swim challenge

Andy Donaldson swimming in the ocean. A ship is in the distance.

Alumnus Andrew Donaldson has taken on the ‘Ocean’s Seven Swim Challenge for Mental Health’, which involves the seven toughest and most iconic channel swims in the world, equating to a total of almost 200km.

Andy Donaldson swimming underwater

Donaldson has set himself the ambitious goal of breaking the current cumulative record time of 64 hours and 35 minutes, as well as completing all seven channels in one year. The Accounting and Financial Management graduate hopes to raise vital funds and awareness 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 Strait and achieving a new British Record on both the English and North Channels. 

Last month, Donaldson achieved another extraordinary feat by completing the 14.4km Strait of Gibraltar swim from Tarifa, Spain to Morocco in an astonishing 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. The Oceans Seven is a prestigious marathon swim challenge that includes seven of the most arduous channel swims in the world. 

“According to the World Health Organisation, depression is expected to become the leading global health concern by 2030,” Andrew explained. 

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."

Andy Donaldson sat on a wall by the oceanHis 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 Donaldson with an opportunity to showcase his speed and expertise in the water. 

As he approaches the final two swims on his journey, Donaldson will take on the Catalina Channel in Los Angeles and the Tsugaru Strait between Honshu and Hokkaido in Japan, both scheduled for July 2023 

Donaldson's record-breaking performances have made him an inspiration for athletes and mental health advocates alike, demonstrating that determination and resilience can lead to incredible achievements. 

Find out more about Andrew's charity swim and follow his journey online.