Sights set on elite company

Tayler NealeAlbany Advertiser

Denmark local Steve Junk hopes to become the first Australian to complete the infamous Oceans Seven circuit when he attempts to complete the North Channel swim later this year.

The Oceans Seven comprises seven of the world’s major open-water channels and totals more than 200km in distance.

Mr Junk began open-water swimming in 1999 and in 2005 decided to swim the Strait of Gibraltar.

“I just did it because it was something on the map and I thought that sounds pretty cool to swim between Europe and Africa,” he said.

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“So I just did it and then it’s gradually sort of taken over and I’ve done another one and then another one.”

Since 2005, the open-water swimmer has finished five more of the gruelling swims and now has his sights set on the final leg.

Mr Junk attempted the 35km North Channel swim last year but was forced to stop about 20km in after suffering from hypothermia and loss of consciousness. With water temperatures in the North Channel dropping to 12C, Mr Junk said the 14C at Greens Pool helped with preparation. “I never thought I would enjoy the cold water but now I think it’s wonderful,” he said. “I’ve put on about 14kg for it.”

Other hazards Mr Junk is preparing for are strong currents and stings from Lion’s mane jellyfish, which have tentacles up to 30m in length.

“Currents could extend the swim from 10-11 hours to 15-18 hours, so that’s something I have to be cautious of,” he said.

“These jellyfish are absolutely beautiful but they sting like buggery.”

Mr Junk is training seven times a week at Greens Pool and clocking up about 40km.

Excitement overrides nerves for Mr Junk as he looks to become only the seventh person in the world to complete the open-water circuit.

“I used to get nervous but I’m actually really excited about doing this one,” he said.

Mr Junk said it would be a special moment to become the first Australian to complete the Oceans Seven.

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