Photo of the Rad Band photo courtesy of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

Triathletes and open water swimmers often wear transponders and all types of timing devices on their wrists and ankles during competitions.

But no athlete in open water swimming history will wear an ankle device for as long as adventurer Benoît Lecomte will.

The transoceanic swimmer will wear Woods Hole’s RadBand as he swims 5,500 miles (8,851 km) across the Pacific Ocean.

The RadBand is a wearable cesium collector developed by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. While Lecomte is swimming, the RadBand will filter the water through to a piece of resin that absorbs the cesium. Lecomte’s scientific team onboard his escort boat Rolano will collect those samples, stock them in a freezer, and hand them to Woods Hole researchers after his estimated 6-month journey is completed for analysis.

His team will also be doing daily water samples with a bucket and filter it through a pump in order to measure the cesium, so we can compare the results with the RadBand.

More details about the RadBand and the research is posted by Woods Hole here under the direction of Dr. Ken Buesseler from Woods Hole for Lecomte’s The Longest Swim.

Supported by the Climate Group, Lecomte is ready for an unprecedented stage swim – swimming every single mile of the Pacific – while contributing in a unique way to oceanic and medical research. “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 says. “More importantly, I want individuals to realize they can make small changes to create a big difference.”

RadBand can also gives swimmers and surfers the opportunity to gather scientific data about the level of radioactive elements in the ocean while they are swimming or surfing. Lecomte will wear a prototype RadBand during The Longest Swim and will add to the growing collection of data tracing the largest accidental release of radioactive contaminants to the ocean in history.

For more information and to watch Lecomte traverse kilometer after kilometer across the Pacific Ocean, visit TheLongestSwim.com.

Copyright © 2015 by World Open Water Swimming Association