Swimmer Lewis Pugh: Constant Self-Transcendence

Lewis William Gordon Pugh, OIG (born in Plymouth, GB,1969). He was the first person to complete a long-distance swim in every ocean of the world. Pugh is best known for undertaking the first swim across the North Pole in 2007 (see video) to highlight the melting of the Arctic sea ice. In 2010 he swam across a glacial lake on Mount Everest to draw attention to the melting of the glaciers in the Himalayas. In 2010 he was named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum for his “potential to contribute to shaping the future of the world through inspiring leadership. And in 2013 the United Nations Environment Programme appointed him “Patron of the Oceans”. The same year he was inducted into the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame.

KT_140812_AdriaticSea_7seas7swims1reason_43982-480x320Currently, Lewis Pugh completed the second leg of his Seven Swims in the Seven Seas for 1 Reason campaign to highlight the need for, and importance of Marine Protected Areas on the global agenda. Lewis completed his 10km swim along the outside of Dugi Otok, an island off Zadar, Croatia in 3 hrs and 55 mins (see attached picture). Immediately afterwards Lewis said: The conditions were perfect. The sea was flat and warm. The 10km swim took longer than expected, but what struck me was how few fish I saw. The only fish I saw during the whole swim were very small – less than a hand length in size.” Lewis will make his next journey to Athens, Greece where he will undertake a 10km swim in the Aegean Sea. The Mediterranean Monk Seal was once plentiful in the Aegean Sea, but after years of being deliberately shot and accidentally killed in fishing gear, numbers in Greece have plummeted to around 200 animals – around half the remaining world population. This makes it one of the most endangered mammals in the world. The Monk Seal’s timid nature means that even slight disturbances can displace it from its last few breeding sites. Lewis’s swim off Athens, Greece, draws attention to the plight of an animal on the brink of extinction, and calls for better co-operation and strictly protected MPAs, especially in Gyaros, to enable recovery of this gentle species. Photo: © Kelvin Trautman


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