March 24, 2019

Swimmer Ben Lecomte Begins Record Japan-California Attempt Across Pacific Ocean

08 June 2018, 02:50 | Edward Lowe

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Lecomte's progress can be followed through a live tracker on the website.

To keep the boredom at bay, and to perhaps stave off thoughts of just how far he still has to go before he passes beneath the Golden Gate Bridge, Mr Lecomte draws up a detailed schedule of what he will think about for each of the eight to 10 hours he will spend in the water during the epic swim.

They will also conduct research on plastic pollution as Lecomte passes through the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, an area three times the size of France where plastic and debris have accumulated.

"Pollution of the ocean has a big impact", said the father-of-two, who will be gathering oceanographic and medical data for 27 scientific organizations, including NASA.

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After swimming across the Atlantic Ocean in 1998 he promised himself "never again", but Lecomte felt compelled to take on the monstrous Pacific after starting a family.

Although he vowed "never again" to take on a long-distance swim, he was inspired by his children to get back into the water.

Lecomte, whose departure took place on World Environment Day, has said he is concerned about the effect of pervasive plastic pollution on marine ecosystems.

In particular, they are anxious about microplastic particles, bits measuring no more than two-tenths of an inch (5 mm), which come from large plastic trash that has fragmented into smaller pieces or microbeads in products like facial soap, body wash and toothpaste.

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"I remember my father and he was the one who taught me how to swim in the Atlantic".

"The mental part is much more important than the physical", he told AFP.

The Frenchman, whose Atlantic crossing was never ratified by Guinness World Records because it can not be fully verified that he resumed his swims in the exact point he stopped them the day before, believes the mental battle will be tougher than the physical endurance.

"When you don't have anything to occupy your mind, it goes into kind of a spiral, and that's when trouble starts", he said. Ahead lie several months of unpredictable and at times turbulent weather, extremely cold water, not to mention the danger posed by sharks and jellyfish.

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'It made me think what (the) future for my kids is going to be like.

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