Prestigious Ocean Swims
Besides the ‘Oceans Seven’ we also have the ‘Triple Crown of Open Water Swimming.’
According to the ‘World Open Water Swimming Association’, the Triple Crown refers to open water swimming’s equivalent of the Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing and includes successfully completing three cherished (recognised and listed) ocean / open water marathon swims. The International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame then issues ‘Triple Crown of Open Water Swimming Certificates of Merit’ and places each person’s record of achievement into their ‘Hall of Fame’.
In 2008 ‘The Oceans Seven’ concept was developed, consisting of seven long-distance open water swims, which are compared to climbing the seven highest mountain peaks, titled the ‘Seven Summits’. The Oceans Seven are:
The NORTH CHANNEL swim is between Ireland and Scotland a distance of 33.7 km. You can expect big seas, strong currents and cold water.
The COOK STRAIT swim is the channel between the North and South Island of New Zealand. It is a 26 km swim where you can expect choppy cold water, (14 – 18°C) sharks and a rock cliff finish.
The MOLOKAI CHANNEL swim is between Molokai Island and Oahu in Hawaii a distance of 42 km.
The CATALINA CHANNEL swim is between Santa Catalina and Los Angeles, a distance of 34 km.
The TSUGARU CHANNEL swim is between Honshu and Hokkaido Islands in Japan a distance of 19.5 km.
The STRAIT OF GIBRALTAR swim is between Spain and Morocco, a distance of 14.5 km.
The ENGLISH CHANNEL swim is located between England and France with the narrowest point being between Dover, England and Calais, France. It is a distance of 34 km through a narrow international shipping channel. However, the swim is generally much longer due to the strong currents, tide flows and strong winds. The cold-water temperature varies from 13 – 16° deg C.
Stephen Junk’s marathon swimming career as recorded in the ‘Open Waterpedia’ is as follows:
- Junk completed a English Channel single crossing with a duo relay with Mark Cockroft on 5 August 2003 in 11 hours 40 minutes
- Junk completed a crossing of the Strait of Gibraltar on 1 July 2005 in 4 hours 1 minutes at the age of 24
- Junk completed the 20 km Lake Argyle Classic in North West Australia on 4 June 2007 in 6 hours 4 minutes
- Junk completed the Ederle Swim in October 2007 in 5 hours 55 minutes
- Junk competed in the Rottnest Channel Swim: 14 x solo swims, including one double crossing on 15 March 2008 in 10 hours 38 minutes 18 seconds at the age of 47, and 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 (3 crossings includes one double crossing), 2009 and 2010
- Junk completed a crossing of the Cook Strait on 8 March 2010 in 8 hours 8 minutes
- Junk completed the Manhattan Island Marathon Swim in 5 July 2008 in 7 hours 48 minutes
- Junk completed the Manhattan Island Marathon Swim on 12 June 2010 in 8 hours 8 minutes
- Junk completed a crossing of the Catalina Channel (CM) on 8 August 2008 in 10 hours 29 minutes
- Junk was nominated for the 2009 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year for his participation in the 120 km Taupo x 3 relay of 33 hours 31 minutes with Chris Palfrey, Stephen Spence, Dougal Hunt, and Mark Cockroft
- Junk attempted a crossing of the Tsugaru Channel in 2015, and completed a successful crossing of the Tsugaru Channel from Honshu to Hokkaido in 11 hours 2 minutes on 19 August 2016
- Junk completed a crossing of the English Channel on 5 September 2016 in 14 hours 20 minutes
- Junk began an attempt to cross the Molokai Channel in 2015, but became seasick and did not finish in 2015 with Mike Twigg-Smith as his escort pilot.
- Junk travelled to Hawaii to attempt the Molokai Channel, but conditions prevented him from starting on 20 June 2016
- Junk completed a Molokai Channel crossing on 5 October 2016 in 13 hours 50 minutes with Mike Twigg-Smith as his escort pilot.
- Junk completed a crossing of the Strait of Magellan in Chile on 10 April 2018 in 1 hour 14 minutes 52 seconds.
- He was named one of the World’s 50 Most Adventurous Open Water Menin 2019 by the World Open Water Swimming Association.
Stephen Junks many other marathon swims include (but are not limited to),
17 x Solo Rottnest Channel crossings, including 1 x double crossing in 2008 at the age of 47 years
2005: Strait of Gibraltar, being the second Australian to complete this swim
2007: Ederle Swim, from Battery Park to Sandy Hook
2007: Lake Argyle Swim (Inaugural swim)
2008: Catalina Channel, being the third Australian to complete this swim
2008 & 2010: Manhattan Island Marathon Swim, finishing 5th and 4th overall, respectively
2010: Cook Strait, being the 6th Australian to complete this swim
2016: Tsugaru Strait, being the 3rd Australian to complete this swim
2016: English Channel
2016: Kaiwi (Molokai) Channel, with the 10th fastest overall time, to date
2018: Strait of Magellan. Though not a true marathon swim at less than 5km, it was in 5C water and was the first Australian to complete this swim.
In addition to the above, Stephen has had a number of notable DNFs, including
– His first attempt at the Manhattan Island Marathon Swim in 2000, where he collided with a pier 2km from the finish and being hospitalised
– His first attempt at the Molokai Channel in 2015, suffering severe seasickness mid-channel
– His first attempt at the Tsugaru Strait in 2015, once again suffering severe seasickness
– The North Channel, suffering hypothermia, seasickness and a collapsed lung!
Since these unfortunate swims, Stephen has helped numerous other swimmers worldwide who have had to come to grips with a DNF.
In 2009, Stephen was in the 120km Taupo x 3 relay with team members Chris Palfrey, Stephen Spence, Dougal Hunt and Mark Cockroft. The time of finishing was 33hrs 31mins, with the event being nominated for the Open water Swimming Performance of the Year by the World open Water Swimming Association.
Stephen was named as one of the World’s 50 Most Adventurous Open water Male Swimmers in both 2017 and 2019 by the World Open water Swimming Association.
Stephen has the Triple Crown of Open Water Swimming and is one swim (North Channel) away from achieving the Oceans Seven title.
Sources: https://www.openwaterpedia.com/index.php?title=Stephen_Junk & Facebook link: https://longswims.com/p/stephen-junk/
Ken B., Mollymook Beach Waterfront: Editor for Mollymook News, Destination Mollymook Milton Ulladulla and Mollymook Ocean Swimmers