Fleetwood ‘Superman’ prepares for second shot at history

Fleetwood triathlete Adam Diver is aiming to enter the record books by becoming the first person to swim from mainland UK to the Isle of Man following an unsuccessful first attempt.

The 46-year-old was recently called up to represent the Team GB Age-Group triathlon team later this year, but his current focus is on the Big Swim to the Isle of Man.

The former military Captain served for 27-years in the army, and across the two attempts has already raised over £6,000 for mental health charities across the UK.

Three members of Diver’s Fleetwood Community Triathlon Club have been called up to the Team GB team

Diver and his team attempted the challenge last July and swam 14km of the 51km journey from St Bees to the Isle of Man across five hours before a freak storm forced the attempt to be abandoned.

Not wanting to be beaten by the weather, the father of two is back in training and is even more determined to enter the record books.

“As soon as I got on the boat, I was there planning it again, this was only the start, let’s move forward and do this again,” said the social prescriber.

“We’re going to keep this positive mindset and then keep moving forward.

“We are going to do it this time.”

The man tasked with telling the former captain he couldn’t continue was his kayaker, fellow ex-military member, Kevin Gray.

Gray breaking the news that the first challenge had to be abandoned (Facebook: The Big Swim to the Isle of Man)

Gray, who was diagnosed with Post-Traumatic-Stress-Disorder, found it difficult to break the news to his friend while keeping spirits high.

“My job with Adam is to keep a positive mental attitude but that was difficult because he was so far down thinking he’d failed all the people who had donated money,” said the kayaker.

“I said to him ‘people don’t take pride in the fact you completed it, they donated money to give to a worthwhile cause.

“In no way had it been a failure at all it was all about bringing together people who suffered from mental health and raising money for a good cause and that seemed to have cheered him up a little bit.”

Kayaker Kevin Gray out on the water (Facebook: Kevin Gray)

For the iron-man triathlete, the Big Swim is an event over two years in the making, with the idea starting out during lockdown.

“I was swimming in the sea with my son and my parents live in the Isle of Man and we can see the island from where we train and he said to me, do you reckon you could swim to the Isle of Man?” said the Fleetwood native.

“It was at that moment in time I looked at the Isle of Man and thought probably not but you never know.

“I had a meeting with the team and we planned out the route and looked at the ways the current and the tides move and thought it could actually get done.”

Diver has completed military service in Bosnia, Iraq, Northern Ireland and Afghanistan, and the ‘military mindset’ plays a big role in the challenge for all the team.

Military man Captain Adam Diver pictured during his time in the army (Facebook: Adam Diver)

“It’s was a case of ‘it doesn’t matter what time training is, it doesn’t matter how long you have to sit there in a boat, you just have to do it’ so having that military connection is a massive bonus to us all,” said Gray.

“It was like an honour and a privilege when a captain asked me to be on his team.”

Diver’s training schedule has to balance all three of triathlon’s disciplines, swimming, running and cycling, on top a full-time job in the NHS as well as a spending time with his wife and kids.

“I go for a swim every morning at six o’clock so when everyone’s in bed I get up and go swimming so that’s that tick box done so throughout the day all I have to do is focus on running and cycling,” said the swimmer.

While no date can be put in place due to unpredictable tides, Diver keeps himself ticking over with another of his lockdown creations, the Fleetwood Community Triathlon Club.