Swimmer Ben Lecomte begins record Pacific crossing attempt

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The French-born long-distance swimmer Benoît Lecomte has begun his journey for the start of his attempt of swimming across the Pacific Ocean in Choshi, Japan on June 5, 2018. Lecomte plans to swim the Pacific Ocean from Japan to California. The distance to be covered is approximately 5,500 miles (8,900 km). Part of the reason for the swim is to raise awareness about sustainability and the impact of excessive human garbage polluting the world’s oceans.

Ben Lecomte, 51, will swim for eight hours a day for more than six months as he heads towards the US west coast. Mr Lecomte’s daily routine will remain virtually the same for the entire trip. He will swim for eight hours, jump onboard the support boat to eat and sleep, and then enter the water again. To keep his energy levels high, he is aiming to consume 8,000 calories a day.

He faces dangers including sharks, storms, swarms of jellyfish, and extremely low water temperatures.

Lecomte says:

“Before anything else I am a father and as a father the future of my children concerns me because, as we all know, our way of life is not sustainable. I don’t want to be passive and pass on to my children the liability we are tagging on to our environment. We can all make a difference once we realize how we can be better stewards of the environment and our own ecological footprint, make appropriate daily changes and inspire others to do the same. This is the first goal of this event and is intended to get people’s attention throughout the world and to understand that the solution is in our hands and that we can take action.”

The second goal is to encourage and work with the education system in all countries to include classes on sustainability and what our ecological footprints are into their own curriculum, because, as we all know, sustainability starts with education.”

Lecomte is to be accompanied by a crew and is going to be performing a “staged swim” (resuming the swim in the exact location in which he left the water) using a GPS tracking device, enabling him to accurately track the number of miles he completes thus enabling him to reach a new world record in open water swimming. Lecomte plans to average about 40 mi (64 km) a day, swimming eight hours with the help of the current.

Preparations for the trip have taken more than six years, but Mr Lecomte has been targeting the challenge for much longer.

In 1998, he made the first known solo trans-Atlantic swim covering 6,400km (4,000 miles) in 73 days. When he finally reached dry land in France, his first words were “never again”, but he was soon looking for a new challenge.

“It didn’t take that long for me to change my mind,” he told NPR. “Three, four months afterwards I was already thinking about my next adventure and doing something kind of the same.”

“When I was little and I was with my father walking on the beach, I didn’t see any plastic, or hardly any.

“Now every time I go with my kids, we see plastic everywhere,” added Lecomte, who will also wear a device to test levels of radioactive material from the tsunami-hit Fukushima nuclear plant.

The support boat will be fitted with a GPS tracker and interested viewers will be able to track its progress on Mr. Lecomte’s website.