Texan plans 5,500-mile swim from Tokyo to San Francisco

Ben Lecomte is stepping into his wetsuit and tackling his second ocean. After becoming the first man to swim across the Atlantic Ocean in 1998, he is now ready for his next challenge: raise awareness of the ever-growing sustainability issues facing our planet and contributing to oceanic and medical research by swimming across the Pacific Ocean in The Longest Swim.

Swimming eight hours a day for six months, he’ll be escorted by Discoverer, a 67-foot steel-hulled sailing yacht housing eight crewmembers. Discoverer will help him mark his GPS location when he breaks for the day and bring him back to the exact spot to resume his swim the next morning.

“I want to use swimming to show people that their everyday behaviors have a direct impact on the environment, even in the middle of the ocean,” Lecomte said. “More importantly, I want individuals to realize they can make small changes to create a big difference.”

The Longest Swim is the first citizen science expedition of its kind, as a team of researchers from 12 scientific institutions – including NASA and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution – will conduct studies during the journey. From plastic pollution to space exploration, this adventure is a unique opportunity to collect data and learn more about the oceans and how the human body reacts in extreme conditions.

You can follow the preparations online via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and the Longest Swim website.

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