Next stop San Francisco as 'longest swim' embarks from…

08 June, 2018, 02:50 | Author: Kelly Sanders
  • French swimmer Benoit'Ben Lecomte who previously swam solo across the Atlantic in 1998 is facing an epic 5,500-mile solo swim across the Pacific

Ben Lecomte, 51, will swim for eight hours a day for more than six months as he heads towards the USA west coast.

Part adventure, part scientific research, Lecomte and his eight-person support team will conduct a host of marine experiments as they seek to raise awareness of ocean pollution and plastic contamination.

A 51-year-old Frenchman has embarked on a long-distance swim in shark-infested waters - a journey which will take him thousands of miles across the Pacific Ocean from Tokyo to San Francisco. He could face sharks, cold temperatures and storms during the swim.

"What is going to be hard is every morning going back in the water (because) you hit a wall, normally after 4-6 hours", he said of the mental challenge. He has also practised "visualisation and dissociation" exercises to ensure he is mentally ready.

"To do the physical aspect of it, yea, it is hard, but what is much more hard is to be in that very hostile environment, and the mind has to be super strong", he said. "You have to make sure you always think about something positive or you always have something to think about", he said.

"When you don't have anything to occupy your mind it goes into kind of a spiral, and that's when trouble starts", he says.


Lecomte has been physically training for this journey for four years, and has spent even more time putting together the scientific and practical preparations. This is far from the first challenge Lecomte has taken up. In 1998, he made the first known solo trans-Atlantic swim covering 6,400km in 73 days.

"It didn't take that long for me to change my mind", he told NPR.

Mr Lecomte's daily routine will remain virtually the same for the entire trip.

Lecomte's plan is to swim for eight hours a day, as well as consume over 8,000 calories. He will be accompanied throughout the journey by a support boat, where he will rest, eat and sleep before restarting his swim every morning.

"I have a strict no sugar diet".

A Global Positioning System tracker will be fitted to his support boat to allow interested viewers to keep up-to-date with his progress on his website.

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