Despite being completely surrounded, Adam Walker had no other choice but to continue swimming until he could figure out what the heck was going on. He was used to swimming in open waters, but nothing could’ve prepared him for an encounter such as this one. Dolphins are generally friendly, but he wasn’t used to being so close to them. Despite being a little bit confused, he pushed through and focused on his mission. He looked down, but his goggles were foggy. Still he managed to see what was going on. Finally, he understood everything.
But before this encounter took place, Adam could’ve never imagined he’d go through such an incredible situation. A few years earlier, he was working for a huge blue chip company in England. He excelled as a national salesman, meeting sales targets, and quickly climbing the corporate ladder. Despite doing so well at his job, Walker felt like there was something missing.
Sports was a family event, and since he grew up in Nottingham, Adam and his brother followed in their dad’s footsteps and played cricket and rugby. But during his teen years, he suffered back and knee injuries, which forced him to stop playing. That’s when he decided to try swimming, and he was good at it. He competed in the 50m backstroke at country level. But he never considered making this a lifelong career.
His family had always specialized in sales, so naturally, Adam followed the same path after graduating from college. He worked for some major companies and always performed perfectly. It seemed like he was on his way to corporate success by the time he was in his mid-twenties. But he realized he was meant to do something else after he came back from a family trip to Australia. And it was thanks to an in-flight movie.
The film “On A Clear Day,” was about a guy who swims the English Channel. This reminded Adam how much he loved swimming, so he started to think of other career choices. Soon, he decided to do what the man in the movie did. He trained his body by holding his breath while performing long-distance swimming. He also enhanced his focus through meditation. Then, he picked a date and dove into the waters of the Atlantic. But something went wrong.
Adam started to suffer from severe hypothermia 45 minutes into his swim. After all, the water’s temperature was at 9°C. He left the water and got medical help. When he recovered, he used his failed experiences to perfect his swimming technique. But he waited until the water temperature got warmer to train his body to adapt to the temperature. In 2008, he managed to finish the swim. But Adam still had plenty of swimming ambitions.
Adam decided to try the Strait of Gibraltar next. These Mediterranean waters weren’t as chilly and the distance wasn’t as long as his previous challenge, so he knew this challenge was doable. But he still wanted to challenge himself, so he swam both ways. After his challenge was complete, he was known as the first British person to swim in both directions. So, what would be Adam’s next challenge? Turns out he had five more challenges planned.
That year, the Oceans Seven Challenge was created, which was similar to the Seven Summits Mountaineering Challenge. But this challenge involved seven swims in the open water channel in various parts of the world. Among them was the North Channel, The Molokai Channel, the Cook Strait, the Catalina Channel, the Gibraltar Straight and the Tsugaru Strait. Adam had already done two of these channels, so he only had to complete five more.
Adam had swum the Catalina Channel, the Tsugaru Strait, and the Molokai Channel by 2014, and he was about to finish the Cook Straight, which divided North and South New Zealand. This was a 22-kilometer stretch of waters that were both unpredictable and dangerous, but Adam was willing to do this. He tackled the challenge on April 21st, knowing it would take at least 8 hours to complete. But something shocking happened during the third hour.
Adam was minding his own business in the water when he noticed a fin pop up very near him. Then several shadows approached him. His heart raced because he knew the dangers that lurked in the waters. Then he saw something amazing. He was surrounded by a bunch of dolphins. So, he kept on swimming, but could barely contain the excitement of the experience. But the dolphins kept up the pace with him and he wasn’t sure why.
Adam continued to swim with his escort of dolphins. But then he looked underwater and noticed something that made his heart skip a beat. There was another creature following him, and it wasn’t a dolphin. It was a shark. The water was too murky for him to know what type of shark it was. New Zealand and Australia were known to a variety of species, especially Great Whites. That’s when he realized why the dolphins had surrounded him.
Everyone’s heard of how dolphins protect humans in the ocean during a shark attack, but Adam was actually experiencing it. The dolphins swam by his side and never broke formation. Eventually, the shark lost interest and gave up pursuing him. Still, the dolphins continued to watch over him for an extra 90 minutes. Once they felt he was safe, they swam away. But this touching experience would be one he would always cherish.
Adam was back on dry land 8 hours and 36 minutes after he had jumped into the water. The following day, he shared his experience on Facebook, and also shared a video of the dolphins, which was taken from the escort boat. Adam suddenly felt the urge to learn more about dolphins.
After a bit of research, Adam discovered that a 50m sprinter runs fast, but not as fast as dolphins swim. This convinced him that they had stayed at his side all along in order to keep him safe from the shark. Then, Adam was asked to appear in the documentary series “The Nature Of Things,” in 2016. The episode was titled “Conversations with Dolphins.” There, Adam talked about the amazing connection between dolphins and humans. But he did more than that.
Adam completed the Oceans Seven Challenge seven years after he originally swam the English Channel. Now, he swims to raise money for Whale and Dolphin Conservation and Stop Whaling, two non-profit groups. He also spends time working as a motivational speaker and as a swim coach in order to train other swimmers to endure longer in the water while promoting for a good cause, which involves dolphins.