Swimmer Ben Lecomte Begins Record Pacific Crossing Attempt

  • Swimmer Ben Lecomte Begins Record Pacific Crossing Attempt

Swimmer Ben Lecomte Begins Record Pacific Crossing Attempt

He is expected to swim eight hours daily on a journey that could take six to eight months and will cover about 8,000 kilometres (5,000 miles).

ON United Nations' World Environment Day, 51-year-old French adventurer Ben Lecomte launched his efforts to do what many people may consider the impossible by swimming 9,000 km across the Pacific Ocean.

With his journey only just beginning, he knows the dangers he faces which include sharks, storms, swarms of jellyfish, and extremely low water temperatures.

"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.

For Lecomte, raising awareness of these issues is more important than setting any record. You have to make sure you always think about something positive or you always have something to think about.

"The worst thing that can happen is not knowing what you are going to do with your mind and going to the wrong place", he said.

They will study plastic debris, the effect of extreme exercise on the heart and examine how the Fukushima nuclear disaster has affected the ocean.

Lecomte has been physically training for this journey for four years, and has spent even more time putting together the scientific and practical preparations. When he finally reached dry land in France, his first words were "never again", but he was soon looking for a new challenge. In 1998, he became the first person to swim across the Atlantic Ocean - crossing roughly 3,700 miles in 73 days.

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

The rest of the time he will rest, sleep and eat on the 20-metre (67-ft) support boat Discoverer that will drop him back in the water at the same spot he exits every day.

The athlete is going to swim eight hours a day and spend the night on Board.

"I have a strict no sugar diet".

The support boat will be fitted with a Global Positioning System tracker and interested viewers will be able to track its progress on Mr Lecomte's website.