A day at the beach: ‘I’ve earned my nickname Sea Bull for good reason’

Rough waters couldn’t slow Lynton Mortensen’s unprecedented attempt to swim around Lord Howe Island but things became interesting when inquisitive Galápagos whaler sharks showed up

I fell into open ocean swimming after an incident in 2012. Not long after my 48th birthday, I ripped my right bicep tendon off the bone mucking around at the beach with my kids. After surgery to reattach the tendon, I started swimming for rehab. Then I met long-distance swimmer Trent Grimsey, who encouraged me to train for ocean swimming. In 2018 I became the first Australian to complete the Oceans Seven, solo swimming across seven channels around the world.

When Covid made overseas swims impossible, I considered Lord Howe Island, not just for a family holiday, but an island to swim around. No one had done it! I also discovered the work of scientist Dr Jennifer Lavers. She leads a small team researching the impact of plastic pollution in the stomachs of Lord Howe’s shearwater birds. Her project gave me extra impetus to do the swim – to raise money for their research.

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