Lewis Pugh, the UN Patron of the Oceans and renowned endurance swimmer, has completed his latest and most demanding swimming challenge, The Long Swim.
Lewis swam the entirety of the Channel wearing just a pair of Speedo swimming trunks, a cap and goggles. On completion yesterday (29 August), Lewis became the first person to swim the length of the Channel in accordance with Channel Swimming Association rules, who were on hand in Dover to validate the swim.
Lewis started The Long Swim at Land’s End in Cornwall on Thursday 12 July, and swam an average of 10km for 50 days. Poor weather conditions and changes in the tide stopped Lewis swimming at all on some days, meaning he carried out a number of additional swims in the middle of the night to make up time, often swimming up to three times per day.
Plastic, overfishing and climate change
Lewis took on The Long Swim challenge to raise awareness of three distinct environmental issues: plastic pollution in the oceans, commercial overfishing and the impact of climate change.
Following the completion of the swim, Lewis now heads to Westminster for a series of meetings with key environmental figures at Whitehall. The Secretary of State for the Environment, Michael Gove was present in Dover to congratulate Lewis on his challenge and to talk to him about his concerns around current UK policy.
Lewis is calling on the British Government to urgently protect the seas around the UK coast and British Overseas Territories by introducing more Marine Protected Areas around the UK coastline.
Action for oceans
The completion of The Long Swim is just the start of a global initiative to encourage governments to do more to protect Earth’s oceans. The Long Swim marks the start of a worldwide campaign entitled Action for Oceans, an initiative that is calling on governments to fully protect at least 30% of the world’s oceans by 2030.
Lewis Pugh is the only person to have completed a long-distance swim in every ocean of the world. Over the past 30 years, Lewis has pioneered swims in the most challenging environments on Earth, including the Antarctic, the North Pole and the Himalayas. He has campaigned on behalf of the world’s last pristine marine wilderness areas and The Long Swim was Plymouth-born Lewis’ opportunity to bring his message home.