My certificate of induction into the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame!
Thank you to the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame for this great honour. I wish I could have been there to receive it in person.
When I started swimming 27 years ago, I don’t think anybody thought it would be possible to undertake long distance swims in the most challenging environments on this earth – the Arctic, the Antarctic and the Himalayas. Swimming has taken me to some of the most incredible places. Ironically however, they are also the most endangered. Threatened by many things including climate change, overfishing and pollution.
I want to thank everyone (literally hundreds) who have helped me campaign for the protection of our oceans. To Dr Otto Thaning for showing me how a human can glide majestically through the water, to Jørn Henriksen & Dr Damon Stanwell-Smith for keeping the leopard seals away long enough, to Prof Noakes for challenging assumptions & always believing it was possible to swim in the coldest water on earth, to Johann van Blerck for keeping us calm when the Great White was under us, to David Becker for being a wonderful & generous friend – and for always for being there for me, to Tessa Graham who works every day on the strategy, to Jonas Ellehauge & the Russians for keeping an eye out for hungry polar bears, to Binod Rai & Mahendra Limbu for getting that darn boat up Mt Everest, to General Tim Sewell for keeping me in the Thames and out of prison in the summer of 2006, to Daantjie Truter for guiding me around the Cape of Good Hope, to Nic Marshall for taking so many jellyfish stings in the North Sea, to Nick Peterson, companion at North Cape, Sognefjord & Sydney, to Dave Duarte for opening my eyes to the power of social media, to Brian Button one heck of a swimming coach, and most of all to my wife Antoinette – for always supporting me.
Thank you also to the journalists and film makers who have told our story.
We dream of oceans which are bountiful and sustainable. Oceans which are full of dolphins, coral and turtles. And we have learnt from endurance swimming that most battles are only won in the 11th hour. And that gives us hope. That’s why we will keep pushing. And that’s why we will not stop.
Author: Lewis Pugh is an ocean advocate, a pioneer swimmer and an inspirational speaker. In 2010 he was named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum and in 2013 he was appointed Patron of the Oceans by the United Nations Environment Programme. He will shortly be departing on a 3-year expedition to highlight the plight of the world’s oceans. http://lewispugh.com