Time and time again, Lewis Pugh has proved to be the toughest endurance swimmer ever. He’s currently embarking on his most difficult challenge yet, a 50-day swim along the length of the English Channel to raise awareness for ocean pollution.
He took the plunge on July 12 from Plymouth, the southwestern tip of England. His goal is to average six miles a day—roughly five to six hours in the water—until he reaches Dover. That’ll be nearly 350 miles in rough tides and 60-degree water—hardly extreme by Pugh’s standards but cold enough to leech body heat and potentially cause hypothermia in two hours.
Mainly, though, what sets this swim apart is its monumental 50-day duration. He has never tested his body in such a way before. His previous longest swim was the Sognefjord, which was 21 days.
“And that,” he says, “shattered me.”
Here’s a look back at some of Pugh’s most epic, attention-grabbing adventures—from the icy waters of Antarctica to a glacial lake in the Himalayas.