Swimming the Pacific Ocean
Swimmers have already crossed many of the world’s notable water passageways, like the English Channel and the Bering Strait. Swimming thousands of miles across an ocean, however, was another story. At least until 1998, when Ben Lecomte, an American citizen originally from France, swam across the Atlantic. He is considered the first (and only) person to do so. Starting from Hyannis, Massachusetts, Lecomte swam a total of 3,716 miles over the course of 73 days before reaching the shores of Quiberon in Brittany, France. A small crew aboard a 40-foot sailboat followed his course and provided sleeping and eating quarters. A few years ago, Lecomte started ramping up for an attempt on the Pacific, a project he’s calling the Longest Swim, scheduled for summer 2015.
If successful, he’ll swim 5,500 miles from Tokyo to San Francisco, earning a world record for the longest open water swim without a kickboard. Lecomte plans to swim 8 hours a day, seven days a week, which will put him at about 180 days on the ocean. Like the Atlantic swim, he’ll use a sailboat for eating and sleeping, and also for monitoring sharks — several fins reportedly followed him during the Atlantic swim. Despite the risks, not only of shark attacks, but also the enormous physical stress (he’ll burn 10,000 calories per day), Lecomte isn’t afraid. “I used to ride a motorcycle in Paris, which is much more dangerous than swimming in the middle of the ocean,” he says. Lecomte and team plan to livestream the swim and hope that the publicity surrounding the project will serve to increase awareness about the declining health of our oceans.
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