Watch: Dolphin Pod Protects Swimmer from Great White Sharks

Written by Cindy Rasmussen
Updated: July 4, 2023
Share this post on:


Key Points

  • In the video, you can see around 10 dolphins swimming next to Adam Walker. They get really close to him at times and surround him on all sides.
  • Walker said during his open-water swim a dolphin pod showed up and started swimming next to him.
  • He figured the dolphins had known the shark was there all along and were swimming with him to protect him.

This incredible video shows open-water swimmer, Adam Walker, swimming with a pod of dolphins. This isn’t a tourist attraction where you can “swim with dolphins”, this is out in the open sea off the shores of New Zealand. What you don’t see is the enormous Great White shark swimming below Walker.

Check Out This Video Of A Dolphin Pod Protecting A Swimmer From A Great White:

Swimmer has a dolphin escort during his open water challenge.

What Happened During Adam Walker’s Swim?

In the video, you can see around 10 dolphins swimming next to Adam Walker. They get really close to him at times and surround him on all sides.

Dolphins can swim much faster than humans, but these dolphins clearly were swimming at Walker’s pace, but why? Walker said during his open-water swim a dolphin pod showed up and started swimming next to him.

76,093 People Couldn't Ace This Quiz

Think You Can?

You can see in the video that the dolphins are on both sides of him and swim out front, almost paving the way. He thought it was very cool and was enjoying it and was unaware of the Great White shark lurking below until he happened to look down and saw a shark a few meters underneath him.

He figured the dolphins had known the shark was there all along and were swimming with him to protect him. If you are a shark you are more likely to attack a single prey vs. a group of prey, so the dolphins created the illusion that Walker was part of their group!

Great White shark with fish
Can you imagine looking down to see a Great White shark? Did a dolphin pod protect a swimmer during a long-distance swim?

©Fiona Ayerst/

Why Was He Swimming In The Ocean?

Adam Walker was swimming as part of the Oceans Seven mission, a marathon challenge started in 2008 where long-distance swimmers are challenged to swim specific routes as a fundraiser for conservation. The challenge consists of seven open water channel swims: The North Channel, the Moloka’i Channel, the English Channel, the Catalina Channel, the Cook Straight, the Straight of Gibraltar and the Tsugaru Straight.

This event took place in the Cook’s Straight in New Zealand on April 22, 2014.

The best part is that Walker was swimming to support the Whale and Dolphin Conservation group Stop Whaling. What an amazing coincidence that the dolphins were now helping him!

Did The Shark Ever Try To Attack Walker?

Most Vicious Animals
The Dolphin Pod protected the swimmer from a Great White shark!


No, the shark did not attack Walker or the dolphins. The dolphins did stay with Walker until the shark finally lost interest, or felt overwhelmed, and left. Despite what it may seem like, sharks rarely attack humans and would much rather feed on fish and marine mammals. Sharks may think people are other animals and a bite is generally a case of mistaken identity. They have been known to attack humans when they are confused or curious. If a shark sees a human splashing in the water, it may try to investigate, leading to an accidental attack. It’s also possible that some bites are the result of a shark defending itself.

What Did Adam Walker Have To Say Once He Safely Reached Land?

dolphins jumping out of the water
Adam Walker posted, “I’d like to think they were protecting me and guiding me home.”

©Sally Hinton/

Walker posted on social media, “Swimming with dolphins on my 6th of Oceans 7 swims ‘Cook Strait’ open water swimming doesn’t get any better than this! Dream come true!” Instead of focusing on the danger of the shark, he was ecstatic to have had the opportunity to swim with the dolphins. He went on to mention, “I’d like to think they were protecting me and guiding me home. The swim will stay with me forever.”

He had been told that the likelihood of sharks being in the area was none and that he would be able to swim without any fears, which is what got him to try this swim. He stated that the best thing to do when seeing a shark is not to panic.

Did Adam Walker Complete the Ocean Sevens Challenge?

Yes! The Cook’s Straight swim in New Zealand was the 6th of 7 swims and he finished the 7th swim on June 8, 2014! The Oceans Seven was created by Steven Munatones as an endurance challenge for long-distance swimmers. It took Walker 7 years to train and complete the 7 swims but he did it, despite encounters with sharks, Portuguese-man-o-war, and strong currents. Here is an overview of his seven swims.

1) English Channel

  • Date: July 14, 2008
  • Time: 11 hours 35 minutes
  • Distance: 21 miles
  • Struggles: Walker had to postpone the swim for 4 days due to bad weather. The weather seemed to die down so he attempted the swim but after about 3 hours the waves got very choppy and made Walker sick. The trouble became keeping down enough calories from the carbohydrate drink to give him enough energy to make the swim. He pressed on and completed the swim in 11 hours and 35 minutes.

2) Straights of Gibraltar (Spain to Morocco…and back!)

  • Date: July 5, 2011
  • Time: 9 hours 39 minutes
  • Distance: 19 miles
  • Struggles: Most challenging part of this swim was the high tides. Walker thought they would have to cancel the trip but he pressed on. He became the first British person to complete the swim and the 6th person in the world.

3) Molokai Straight, Hawaii

Portuguese Man O' War - Physalia physalis - at the surface of the Atlantic Ocean, Madeira.
Portuguese Man O’ War can sting you with their very long tentacles. It can be very painful but not fatal.


  • Date: June 21, 2012
  • Time: 17 hours and 2 minutes
  • Distance: 26 miles
  • Struggles: This time he ran into bad currents that kept pushing him away from the ending point. A swim he thought would take 14-15 hours kept getting longer since he couldn’t get to shore. He kept going and finally finished the swim in 17 hours and 2 mins.
  • Animals/Wildlife encountered: Unfortunately, he got hit by a Portuguese-Man-O-War which can deliver a venomous, painful sting. They are strange-looking jellyfish-like creatures with long tentacles and often swim in large groups. The stings are painful but not deadly to humans.

4) The Catalina Channel, Southern California to the Santa Catalina Island

  • Date: October 16, 2012
  • Time: 12 hours 15 minutes
  • Distance: 21 miles
  • Struggles: The biggest challenge with this swim was the temperature. Walker said he was cold the entire swim. He was also discouraged by the heavy fog which made seeing the encouraging land on the other side difficult. He completed the 4th swim in 12 hours 15 minutes.
  • Animals/Wildlife encountered: Walker said near the end of the swim he had a few seals follow him!

5) The Tsugaru Straight, Japan

A diver swimming with a Shortfin mako shark. These sharks are aggressive predators and should be avoided if possible.
The shark Walker saw during his swim off the coast of Japan may have been a shortfin mako shark.


  • Date: August 12, 2013
  • Time: 15 hours 31 minutes
  • Distance: 15 miles
  • Struggles: Again he faces strong waves and sea sickness for much of the swim. He got pushed back near the end of the swim with strong currents but finished in 15 hours and 31 minutes.
  • Animals/Wildlife encountered: He said, “I got stung in the face with jellyfish that were so small I couldn’t even see them!”. Later during the swim as the sun started to set Walker was concerned about sharks coming out and later he saw a 6-foot-long shark. No dolphins to help him this time, he just kept swimming and luckily avoided any problems. His next swim is when a dolphin pod protects him from a Great White!

6) The Cook Straight, New Zealand

Great white sharks are the ocean's apex predators.
Great white sharks are the ocean’s apex predators.


  • Date: April 22, 2014
  • Time: 8 hours 39 minutes
  • Distance: 14 miles
  • Struggles: This was the trip where he saw the Great White Shark and was protected by the pod of dolphins!
  • Animals/Wildlife encountered: Great white shark, dolphins

7) The Northern Channel, Ireland

Lion’s Mane Jellyfish, Cyanea capillata, at Coll island, Scotland.
Lion’s Mane Jellyfish are the largest jellyfish species. They can have a body that is 7 feet wide and tentacles that trail 100 feet behind!

©Martin Prochazkacz/

  • Date: August 6, 2014
  • Time: 10 hours 45 minutes
  • Distance: 22 miles
  • Struggles: The first problem was leaving early in the morning meant there would be Lions Mane Jellyfish, and there were! Walker said, “What I was not prepared for, was quite how big they can be. However, after a few stings, you realize their bark is worse than their bite!” Similar struggles with a strong current prevented him from breaking a world record but he made good time. Adam was ecstatic to complete the 7th of 7 swims in 7 years, an amazing accomplishment!
  • Animals/Wildlife encountered: Lions Mane Jellyfish, Pilot whales

The Featured Image

What Do Great White Sharks Eat?
Great white sharks eat seals, sea lions, dolphins, and fish, among other animals. They are carnivores

Share this post on:
About the Author

I'm a Wildlife Conservation Author and Journalist, raising awareness about conservation by teaching others about the amazing animals we share the planet with. I graduated from the University of Minnesota-Morris with a degree in Elementary Education and I am a former teacher. When I am not writing I love going to my kids' soccer games, watching movies, taking on DIY projects and running with our giant Labradoodle "Tango".

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.