Andy Donaldson (swimmer)

Andrew Donaldson (born 10 February 1991 in Irvine, Scotland) is a Scottish-Australian marathon swimmer. Donaldson is a three-time world record holder[1] with records including the fastest time to complete the Oceans Seven marathon swim challenge,[1] and the fastest swim across the Cook Strait - the waters between New Zealand's North and South Islands.[2][3][4]

Andrew Alan Donaldson
Personal information
Born10 February 1991
Irvine, Scotland, UK
CountryGreat Britain
SportMarathon Swimming
ClubCity of Perth Swimming Club
Coached byEoin Carroll, Ryan Evernden

Andrew was voted Man of the Year and Performance of the Year in the World Open Water Swimming Association awards for 2023.[5]

Early life and career edit

Growing up in West Kilbride, Scotland, Donaldson started swimming with the North Ayrshire Amateur Swimming Club at age seven.[6] Donaldson attended Largs Academy for secondary school, then graduated from Loughborough University in 2012.[7] In 2013, he relocated to Perth, Western Australia to pursue professional swimming.[8][9]

After falling short of his Olympic aspirations, he retired from swimming in 2016 to work in accounting and finance.[8] Following struggles with his mental health and after completing his Chartered Accounting studies, Donaldson took a career break to backpack overseas.[10] At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, he was working as a volcano tour guide in Nicaragua.[8]

He returned to Perth and to swimming in 2020. He found that the sport helped him with his mental well-being.[8] In Perth, Donaldson co-founded Swimclan with his mentor Martin Smoothy to assist adults in learning to swim, to improve their health, and to pursue goals.[11]

In 2021, he placed first in the 19.7 km Rottnest Channel Swim.[12][13] In 2022, he set a new record in the 34 km Derwent River Big Swim in Tasmania, and won the 25 km Palm Beach to Shelly Beach Swim.[8]

Oceans Seven edit

In 2022, Donaldson announced that he would embark on the Oceans Seven challenge.[14] Donaldson's goal was to complete the challenge in one year [15] to raise money for the Black Dog Institute and awareness for mental health.[14][16] He was nominated for the World Open Water Swimming Association's Man of the Year 2022.[17]

Donaldson crossed the English Channel in eight hours.[18] Donaldson set the British record for the swim.[19][20] He became the first Scottish male to complete the swim between the North Channel (Great Britain and Ireland).[6][21] In New Zealand, Donaldson set a new world record for fastest swim across the Cook Strait in four hours thirty-three minutes.[2][3][4]

Donaldson was hospitalised after completing the Molokai Channel. He faced strong waves and headwinds during this swim.[22][23] He set a new British record for his swim of the Strait of Gibraltar with a time of two hours and fifty-six minutes.[24] In Los Angeles, he overcame illness to complete the Catalina Channel in nine hours twenty-two minutes.[25] After successfully crossing Japan's Tsugaru Strait in July 2023, Donaldson completed the Oceans Seven challenge.[26]

Swims of the Oceans Seven
Date Swim Route Distance Time Remarks
2022-08-07 English Channel England to France 33 km 08:00:00 [18] British record
2022-09-19 North Channel Ireland to Scotland 34 km 09:13:57 [21] British record
2023-03-07 Cook Strait South Island to North Island (New Zealand) 22 km 04:33:50 [3] World record
2023-04-18 Kaiwi Channel Molokai to Oahu (USA) 45 km 15:51:00 [23]
2023-05-20 Strait of Gibraltar Spain to Morocco 14.4 km 02:56:00 [24] British record
2023-07-11 Catalina Channel Catalina Island to Los Angeles (USA) 32.3 km 09:22:52 [25] British record
2023-07-27 Tsugaru Strait Honshu to Hokkaido (Japan) 19.5 km 13:04:30 [26]

World Records edit

  • The fastest male (and person overall) to swim across the Cook Strait, between New Zealand's North and South Islands in 4:33:50 on 8 March 2023.[3]
  • The fastest time to complete the Oceans Seven swimming challenge (calendar duration) in 355 days between 7 August 2022 and 27 July 2023.[1]
  • The fastest time to complete the Oceans Seven swimming challenge (cumulative swim time) is 63:02:09 between 7 August 2022 and 27 July 2023.[1]

Charity Work edit

Donaldson is a dedicated advocate for mental health, sustainability, and the sport of swimming. He has undertaken various swim challenges to raise funds in support of these causes, consistently expressing his commitment to "combine purpose with sport".

He has actively supported mental health charities including the Kai Fella Foundation and the Black Dog Institute, which he raised money for during his Oceans Seven campaign. In October 2023, Donaldson successfully swam 33km from Rottnest Island to Elizabeth Quay in Perth, Western Australia, to raise money for Telethon and the Perron Institute for Neurological Science.[27]

Sources edit

  1. ^ a b c d "Scots swimmer breaks record for Oceans Seven challenge". BBC News. 2023-08-04. Retrieved 2023-10-31.
  2. ^ a b "Scottish swimmer sets record between New Zealand islands". BBC News. 2023-03-21. Retrieved 2023-07-21.
  3. ^ a b c d Scottish swimmer breaks Cook Strait world record, 2023-03-21, retrieved 2023-07-21
  4. ^ a b Sahu, Tanisha Rachel (2023-03-23). "Scottish Swimmer Creates World Record By Swimming In Shark Infested Waters Across Cook Strait". Le Matinal. Retrieved 2023-07-21.
  5. ^ WOWSA (2024-02-08). "Press Release: World Open Water Swimming Association Celebrates the 2023 WOWSA Awards Winners". World Open Water Swimming Association. Retrieved 2024-02-12.
  6. ^ a b "Marathon swimmer from West Kilbride overcomes 'butt-cheek' cramp to cross North Channel". Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald. 2022-09-30. Retrieved 2023-07-21.
  7. ^ "Loughborough alumnus takes on charity swim challenge". Loughborough University. 2023-06-20. Retrieved 2023-07-21.
  8. ^ a b c d e "Perth marathon swimmer attempts epic channel-crossing record". The West Australian. 2022-07-09. Retrieved 2023-07-21.
  9. ^ "Relative newcomer smashes his rivals". The Albany Advertiser. 2015-04-13. Retrieved 2023-07-21.
  10. ^ "Sharks, jellyfish, and world records: Meet the Scot who swam seven channel crossings". The Herald. 2023-08-26. Retrieved 2023-10-31.
  11. ^ "Adults coached to brave water". Community News. 2021-02-04. Retrieved 2023-07-21.
  12. ^ "'Retired' Rotto winner on how he clinched big finish". The West Australian. 2021-02-20. Retrieved 2023-07-21.
  13. ^ "Rottnest Channel Swim winners crowned". PerthNow. 2021-02-20. Retrieved 2023-07-21.
  14. ^ a b "Inspiring CA's global swim for mental health". Acuity Magazine.
  15. ^ Ryan, Suzie (2023-01-17). "Andy Donaldson To Conquer The Ocean's Seven In One Year". Retrieved 2023-07-21.
  16. ^ Whyte, Abigail (2023-04-04). "Andy Donaldson: Flying the flag for mental health". Outdoor Swimmer Magazine. Retrieved 2023-07-21.
  17. ^ "West Kilbride man up for international swimming award". Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald. 2023-01-24. Retrieved 2023-07-21.
  18. ^ a b Munatones, Steven (2022-08-07). "Andy Donaldson Crosses English Channel in 8 Hours, First Leg of His Oceans Seven Challenge". World Open Water Swimming Association. Retrieved 2023-07-21.
  19. ^ "Why swim the world's most dangerous seas? For mental health -- let Andy Donaldson explain". 2023-05-19. Retrieved 2023-07-21.
  20. ^ "Scot sets new record for swimming the English Channel". The Scotsman.
  21. ^ a b WOWSA (2022-09-30). "Andy Donaldson Completes a Fast Crossing of the North Channel". World Open Water Swimming Association. Retrieved 2023-07-21.
  22. ^ "Oceans Seven helps turn the tide on mental health". The West Australian. 2023-06-19. Retrieved 2023-07-21.
  23. ^ a b "West Kilbride swimmer rushed to hospital after smashing Hawaii charity crossing". Largs and Millport Weekly News. 2023-05-19. Retrieved 2023-07-21.
  24. ^ a b WOWSA (2023-05-30). "Andrew Alan Donaldson Conquers the Strait of Gibraltar in Record Time". World Open Water Swimming Association. Retrieved 2023-07-21.
  25. ^ a b "West Kilbride swimmer on verge of completing global charity challenge". Largs and Millport Weekly News. 2023-07-12. Retrieved 2023-10-31.
  26. ^ a b Whyte, Abigail (2023-08-01). "Andy Donaldson has smashed the Oceans Seven!". Outdoor Swimmer Magazine. Retrieved 2023-10-31.
  27. ^ SarahJee_GWTB (2023-12-08). "Huge thanks to Andy Donaldson!". Kai-Fella. Retrieved 2024-01-13.