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Swimmer Ben Lecomte has started his journey to swim across the Pacific

Ocean, starting off in June from the coast of Japan he hopes to reach

San Francisco in six months. the daring expedition aims to bring awareness

to pollution and climate change.

Originally from France Lecomte has been based in Austin for more than

20 years. In 1998 he became the first person to swim the Atlantic Ocean,

without a kickboard, completing the 3,700-mile swim in 73 days. This latest

challenge dwarfs even that feat, however – Lecomte will need to swim

5,500 miles to make it to San Francisco. To accomplish his goal he will

need to swim for eight hours a day for six months, with an average of 30

miles a day.

Researchers from 12 scientific institutions, including NASA and Woods

Hole Oceanographic Institution, will be conducting studies and gathering

samples throughout his swimandwill accompany support crewmembers in a

yacht called Discoverer, while doctors will monitor Lecomte’s condition

remotely on land.They will also conduct research on plastic pollution

as he passes through the Great Pacific Garbage Patch*, an area three

times the size of France where plastic and debris have accumulated.

After each day’s eight-hour swim, Lecomte will rest and recover on the

yacht, before being dropped off at the same spot the next day. He has

been physically training for this journey for four years and has spent even

more time putting together the scientific and practical preparations.

Swimming aside, he also has had to prepare himself psychologically.

“The mental part is much more important than the physical,” he says.

“You have to make sure you always think about something positive.”

He will swim north up the coast of Japan, helped by the Kuroshio current

before he joins the North Pacific current going east, and after having

a shark follow him for five days during his Atlantic crossing, Lecomte is

prepared this time, with a shark repellant bracelet.

Follow his progress at:

*The Great Pacific Garbage Patch was first discovered in 1997 by ocean-

ographer Charles Moore. consisting of non-biodegradable waste which

has been accumulating for at least 50 years it is composed mainly of

plastic and comprises 90% of the total volume of waste floating in the

world’s oceans.

Southwest Boating Magazine