The Oceans Seven is open water swimming’s version of the Seven Summits.

The Seven Summits are the highest mountains in each of the seven continents that 348 people have successfully achieved.

These 348 people have set a bar that others seek to achieve. Their Seven Summits takes years of effort, money, equipment, and mind-boggling focus and endurance.

The Seven Summit mountaineers have climbed Kilimanjaro (5,892m/19,340 ft) in Africa, Vinson Massif (4,892m/16,050 ft) in Antarctica, Everest (8,848m/29,035 ft) in Asia, Elbrus (5,642m/18,510 ft) in Europe, Mount McKinley (6,194m/20,320 ft) in North America, Aconcagua (6,962m/22,841 ft) in South America, and either Kosciuszko (2,228m/7,310 ft) or Carstensz Pyramid (4,884m/16,024 ft) in Australia.

However, no one has yet successfully swum the English Channel (between England and France), the North Channel (between Scotland and Ireland, the Catalina Channel (between Catalina Island and Southern California, USA), the Molokai Channel (between Oahu and Molokai Islands in Hawaii, USA), the Tsugaru Channel (between Honshu and Hokkaido islands in Japan), the Cook Strait (between North and South islands in New Zealand) and the Strait of Gibraltar (between Spain and Morocco).

Although land-based endurance athletes and mountaineers may hold different opinions, we believe completing the seven different channels of the Oceans Seven is more challenging than climbing the Seven Summits. There are various reasons for this opinion.

1. Fundamentally, swimming is more difficult than walking. It is estimated that less than 2% of the world’s population can swim 500 meters non-stop so it stands to reason that fewer people can swim a channel than the number of people who can climb a mountain.

2. More solutions are available to combat altitude sickness than seasickness, including time. An athlete can ascend slowly, take the drug acetazolamide, Dexamethasone, Nifedipine or sumatriptan, or undergo oxygen enrichment.

3. If the weather or conditions get bad in a climb, time is on the side of the climber. If the conditions get bad in a channel swim, you have to get out. That is, the windows of opportunities are smaller.

4. Attire can prevent hypothermia in Seven Summits, but not in the Ocean’s Seven.

5. Mountaineers can be assisted by others; a swimmer must take every single stroke by themselves.

6. Beasts and creatures generally do not hamper humans on a mountain while sharks and jellyfish are present immense obstacles.

7. Mountaineers can generally talk, see and hear things while climbing, but their visual, auditory and verbal abilities are hampered.

8. Climbers can rest and sleep on their way up the mountain, but open water swimmers still have to tread water when “at rest” and sleeping is definitely out of the question.

But anyone who achieves a Seven is a remarkable individual with the stamina, mental toughness and physical abilities exceedingly rare in this world.

Copyright © 2011 by Open Water Source