Renowned endurance swimmer and United Nation’s Environment Programme (UNEP)’s Patron of the Oceans, Lewis Pugh, has today completed the most southerly swim in human history – swimming 500m off the coast of Cape Adare in the Antarctic Ocean.
In formidable conditions, Lewis broke the World Record by completing his swim in -1.7 degrees C water – the coldest seawater can be before it freezes – with no insulation other than a Speedo swimming costume. Upon coming out of the water, Lewis required a 50-minute long hot shower to warm his core body temperature.
Lewis is undertaking a series of death defying swims in the Antarctic Ocean to influence world leaders to make the Ross Sea a Marine Protected Area (MPA). The Ross Sea is one of the most pristine and untarnished areas in the world and is under threat from human influences including commercial fishing and global warming. Lewis is particularly keen to appeal to Russia who, as well as having a distinguished history in Antarctic exploration, are presiding over The Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) – the body which can grant MPAs.
Immediately afterwards Lewis said: “It was an exceptionally tough swim, especially as I had to navigate around sharp ice and couldn’t just keep my head down and swim. My fingers were in absolute agony from around the 300m mark, I’ve never felt pain like it before.
“I’m obviously delighted with the accomplishment and am looking forward to trying to beat this record in the next three weeks at Cape Evans and then The Bay of Whales. I want to thank my support team for keeping me safe. Now, the only thing warming me up is the thought that my actions can encourage world leaders to come together and preserve this wonderful and important part of the world.
Follow Lewis’s progress via his website, www.lewispugh.com Twitter @LewisPugh #5Swims and Facebook – Lewis Pugh.
Lewis will spend another three weeks swimming in the Antarctic Ocean where he hopes to break his newly set record not once, but twice more on this expedition.
For more information visit – www.lewispugh.com
NOTE: Each swim will be 1km with water temperatures expected to be between 0°C and minus 1.7°C. Each swim is expected to take about 20 minutes to complete
Swim 1 – Campbell Island | 13 Feb
A long distance swim along Perseverance Harbour, a fjord in Campbell Island. The island, situated at 52º South, is a UNESCO World Heritage site with a large colony of Southern Royal Albatrosses and three penguins species – Eastern Rockhoppers, Erect-Crested and Yellow-Eyed Penguins.
Swim 2 – Cape Adare | 19 Feb
The first long distance swim around Cape Adare at 71º South. If successful, this swim will break the world record for the most southerly long distance swim ever undertaken. Cape Adare is the site of the first wintering by explorers on the Antarctic Continent. It’s also home to the largest colony of Adélie penguins in the world. More than 250,000 pairs breed there.
Swim 3 – Cape Evans | 22 Feb
Cape Evans is situated at 77.6º South and is where Captain Robert Falcon Scott, the British explorer, built a hut before racing the Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen to the South Pole in 1911. Tragically, Scott died on the journey back with 4 colleagues. Lewis will have the privilege of preparing to swim around Cape Evans, in this historic building, which is still much the same as it was left over 100 years ago.
Swim 4 – Bay of Whales | 28 Feb
This is the most southern swim possible (there is no open sea further south in the world) at the Bay of Whales at 78.5º South. This bay was named by explorer Sir Ernst Shackleton due to the large number of killer whales seen in the area.
Swim 5 – Peter I Island | 7 Mar
Lewis’ final swim will be at Peter I Island, which is in the Bellingshausen Sea at 69º South. This volcanic island is surrounded by pack ice for most of the year and is home to three seal species (Crab-eater, Southern-elephant, and the formidable Leopard Seal), is a breeding ground for southern fulmars, and is visited by Adélie and Chinstrap penguins.
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NOTES TO EDITORS:
About Lewis Pugh:
Lewis William Gordon Pugh, is an ocean advocate, a maritime lawyer and a pioneer swimmer. He was the first person to complete a long-distance swim in every ocean of the world, and he frequently swims in vulnerable ecosystems to draw attention to their plight. Pugh is a leading figure in efforts to protect the oceans. In 2010 he was named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum and in 2013 the UN appointed him “Patron of the Oceans”.
The Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) was established by international convention in 1982 with the objective of conserving Antarctic marine life. This was in response to increasing commercial interest in Antarctic krill resources, a keystone component of the Antarctic ecosystem and a history of over-exploitation of several other marine resources in the Southern Ocean.
We would like to thank the following partners for making these swims possible:
Oak Foundation: http://www.oakfnd.org/
HRG Rennies Travel: http://www.renniestravel.com/