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B&FC’s Adam Diver attempts to become first person to swim to Isle of Man

Published on 04/02/2022 by SGLAS

General news

What started as a casual conversation between British triathlete and B&FC tutor Adam Diver and his son during lockdown has now resulted in a plan to swim the 32 miles from St Bees in Cumbria to the Port Mooar on Isle of Man.

Whilst the crossing has been attempted a few times before, no one has yet succeeded and Adam who is an experienced open water swimmer and has represented GB in triathlon, is under no illusions as to the challenges he will face on the crossing.

“Apart from the physical demands of the swim, the Irish Sea is one of the busiest shipping areas in the UK so that can pose a real danger. There is also the possibility of encountering lion’s mane jellyfish which are particularly prevalent in July when the swim is taking place and can give you a really nasty sting if you come into contact with them.”

Adam does, however, have an edge when it comes to understanding the tides and currents off the Cumbrian coast thanks to his association with B&FC and, in particular, the Fleetwood Nautical Campus. For example, Adam has been able to schedule the swim to take place when conditions will be especially favourable and call on assistance from his Fleetwood Nautical Campus colleagues some of whom will be playing key roles in his support team on the day itself.

Big Swim

Such is the unique nature of the challenge that it has already attracted regional media attention with Granada Reports already having broadcast a piece on Adam on their regional evening news programme on Monday 31 January 2022 with plans to follow up on the event itself.

As well as colleagues from the Fleetwood Nautical Campus, lecturers from B&FC’s Marine Biology degree will also be joining the support boat and taking the opportunity to conduct a number of experiments to assess the impact of climate change and pollution on the local marine environment.

Storm Isles, one of the marine biologists, says:

“The opportunity to join the team and conduct a major sampling exercise means that we can generate data back at the College which will give us a unique insight into how the local marine environment is faring. This, in turn, will give our students access to real data sets which they can use to inform their own research and feed into their dissertation work.”

Adam has taken the opportunity to train at the environmental pool at the Nautical College  which can simulate rough conditions at sea as well as in the boating lakes on Fleetwood’s promenade to help him acclimatise to the cold. Although the sea temperature in July won’t be as brutal as it is in winter, it certainly won’t be tropical and wind speed could also influence how easy or difficult the swim is by impacting the height of the waves.

For Adam, who previously served as a captain in the Army, the swim is also a chance to champion a charity particularly close to his heart that works to provide mental health support to ex-armed service personnel.

If successful, (and few doubt that this gritty individual will be) Adam will be greeted on the beach in the Isle of Man by a group of local dignitaries including the island’s Lieutenant Governor Sir John Lorimer. Much as this will be a great honour, Adam will equally be looking forward to seeing two other people who will hopefully be there to greet him as well - his mum and dad who have lived on the island for several decades. In fact, it was because Adam’s family couldn’t travel to the island to see them during lockdown that Adam’s son suggested swimming there instead.

“It’s amazing how one conversation can really stick in your head. It niggled away at me and I began to wonder if it would really be possible. I then started doing some research to find out if anyone had tried and now I’m planning to be the first person to complete this swim successfully.”

The College will be following Adam’s progress as he makes his final preparations and will be posting on social media throughout. We are also hoping to be able to bring you live reporting from the swim as Adam sets off from St Bees on the morning of Friday 22 July 2022.