It was a very well-deserved honor that the globe-trotting British ocean advocate was recognized as an Honor Swimmer by the organization founded by Ned Denison and Paolo Chiarino, Elaine Howley, Pádraig Mallon, Leszek Naziemiec, Kieron Palframan, Shelley Taylor-Smith, and Jonty Warneken.
From his home base in Cape Town, South Africa Pugh has long been a well-known, well-respected figure on the geopolitical scene with his myriad Speedo Diplomatic efforts. He is just as often giving passionate talks in Davos, Switzerland and London to power-brokers as he is shuttling between Moscow, London, Cape Town and Washington D.C., talking with heads of states (presidents, prime ministers and royalty) and presenting to leading politicians, business tycoons, NGO administrators, and cabinet-level government officials. His global travels of millions of air miles have taken him to innumerable hotels and discussions with influence-makers in the marine environmental space that literally affect every human on the planet.
Among his swimming accomplishments are as follows:
Ice Swimming Resume
1 mile unprecedented swim in 2005 in Deception Island in the South Shetland Islands in 2°C water in 30 minutes 30 seconds
1.2 km unprecedented swim in 2006 in Nigards Glacier Lake, Norway in 0°C water in 23 minutes 50 seconds
1 km unprecedented swim in 2005 in Magdalenefjord, Spitsbergen, Norwegian Arctic at 79°N in 3°C water in 21 minutes 30 seconds
1 km unprecedented swim in 2005 in Verlegenhuken, Spitsbergen, Norwegian Arctic at 80°N in 3°C water in 20 minutes 30 seconds
1 km unprecedented swim in 2005 in Petermann Island on the Antarctic Peninsula in 0°C water for 18 minutes 0 seconds
1 km unprecedented swim in 2007 at the North Pole at -1.7°C water for 18 minutes 50 seconds
1 km unprecedented swim in 2010 in Lake Pumori on the Khumbu Glacier on Mount Everest at 5,200 meters altitude in 2°C water for 22 minutes 51 seconds where Pugh says, “The fresh water and altitude presents a very different challenge where you must swim slowly.”
1 km unprecedented swim in 2016 in Half Moon Island in the Bellingshausen Sea at the Antarctic Peninsula at 62°S in 0°C water in 17 minutes 18 seconds
1 km unprecedented swim in 2017 at the edge of the Arctic Sea Ice at 80°22’N in the Norwegian Arctic in 0.5°C water for 21 minutes 29 seconds
1 km unprecedented swim in 2017 Grytviken, South Georgia in the Southern Ocean in 2.7°C to 3.6°C wate for 19 minutes 1 second
330 meter unprecedented swim in 2018 at the Bay of Whales in the Ross Ice Shelf at 78°33’S (no sea further south in the world) that Pugh considers to be his toughest swim ever
1 km unprecedented swim in Antarctica in 1.7°C water and ‐11°C air, ‐37°C wind chill for 5 minutes due to leopards seals and killer whales in the area
5 km unprecedented swim in 2003 in North Cape, Norway in 8°C water in 1 hour 4 minutes
1 km in 2016 around Cape Horn, Chile at 56°S in 7°C water in 18 minutes 22 seconds
Pugh has a decade long record of major, positive media attention as an ocean advocate, a well-established ambassador of Speedo Diplomacy
International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Class of 2013 Honor Swimmer
Appointed as the United Nations Patron of the Oceans in 2013
Negotiated the creation of the Ross Sea Marine Protected Area off Antarctica in 2013. It is the largest protected area in the world.
“All the swims were in the sea except in Nigards Glacier Lake and Lake Pumori on Mount Everest,” explains Ned Denison. “Lewis’s swims followed English Channel rules for costume, boat contact, etc. and were part of major well-documented expeditions that were not under the rules of any organization or ratified. His accomplishments have never been disputed.
The objective of the Ice Swimming Hall of Fame is to recognize and honor leading ice and icy water swimmers and contributors to the sport. The Ice Swimming Hall of Fame serves as a historic record and provide heroes and role models for future generations.
In addition to Pugh, Honor Swimmer and Honor Administrator Ram Barkai, Honor Event Bering Strait Relay from Russia to USA, Honor Swimmer Aleksander Brylin of Russia, Honor Swimmer Henri Kaarma of Estonia, Honor Swimmer Jaimie Monahan of the USA, Honor Contributor – Administrator Mariia Yrjö-Koskinen of Finland, and Honor Contributor – Media Steven Muñatones of the USA were also honored.”
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