Lewis Pugh, Pioneering Adventurer & Ocean Advocate
Lewis Pugh is an open water swimmer and a maritime lawyer who has pioneered swims in the most vulnerable ecosystems on Earth to campaign for their protection.
In 2013, the United Nations appointed him as the UN Patron of the Oceans.
Over 32 years, Lewis has done swims in the world’s most challenging environments including the Antarctic, the Arctic and the Himalayas where he understands the beauty and fragility of life and its many ecosystems.
“He has completed many unprecedented and record-setting swims,” said Steven Munatones. “He did a swim in the Bay of Whales in the Ross Sea in Antarctica. No swim could be further south; any further south and he would be walking on land (i.e., South Pole is at 90°C south, Bay of Whales was at 80°C south).
At the opposite side of the globe, Lewis has completed a 1 km swim across an open patch of sea at the North Pole.
That swim was meant to highlight the melting of the Arctic sea ice. The physical achievement was unprecedented, but his message was unique. It should not have been possible to swim across the North Pole; Lewis did so in order to demonstrate the dramatic extent of ice loss.
I believe his actions and activities will have the most important and long-lasting positive impact on this planet of any swimmer in history.”
He has undertaken and completed swims which were thought impossible:
* a 1 km swim across an open patch of sea at the North Pole to highlight the melting of the Arctic sea ice. It should not have been possible to swim across the North Pole; he did so in order to demonstrate the dramatic extent of ice loss)
* a 1 km high-altitude swim across a glacial lake on Mt. Everest to draw attention to the melting glaciers in the Himalayas, and the impact the reduced water supply will have on peace in the region
* the most southern swim in the world in the Bay of Whales in Antarctica in water which was -1.7°C and an air temperature of -37°C to campaign for the protection of the Ross Sea
His mission and message has been clear and unchanging. His concrete achievements, most importantly, include his key role in moving governments to protect over 2 million square kilometers of oceans – an area equivalent to the size of Western Europe. His dream is to protect 30% of the world’s oceans by 2030.
Unprecedented and Record-setting Swims by Lewis Pugh
1. September 17th 1990: 6 km around Cape Point (East to West) in South Africa in 12°C – 17°C water in 1 hour 30 minutes – First
2. July 3rd 1991: 10 km through the Knysna Heads in South Africa in 15°C water in 3 hours 30 minutes – First
3. January 5th 1992: 25 km across Lake Malawi in Malawi in 15,5 30 86 Fresh 09h 52min – First
4. October 2nd 1992: 10 km around Robben Island in South Africa in 16°C water in 4 hours 10 minutes – Fastest
5. March 21st 1993: 10 km from Dassen Island to Yzerfontein in South Africa in 10°C water in 2 hours 35 minutes – Fastest
6. May 7th 1994: 11 km around Cape Agulhas in South Africa in 17°C water in 4 hours 15 minutes – First
7. August 20th 2003: 5 km around North Cape in Norway in 8°C water in 1 hour 4 minutes – First & most northern swim
8. April 3rd 2004: 8.3 km across Saldhana Bay in South Africa in 16°C water in 2 hours 50 minutes – First
9. April 15th 2004: 12 km around Cape of Good Hope in South Africa in 16°C water in 3 hours 15 minutes – First
10. April 28th 2004: 100 km stage swim around Cape Peninsula in South Africa in 12°C to 15°C water in 37 hours 20 minutes – First
11. May 10th 2004: 10 km around Robben Island in South Africa in 17°C water in 3 hours 42 minutes – Fastest
12. July 26th 2004: 204 km stage swim along the length of Sognefjord in Norway in 6°C to 21°C water in 74 hours 45 minutes – First
13. August 15th 2004: 18 km along the length of Nærøyfjord in Norway in 6°C to 18°C in 5 hours 9 minutes – First
14. December 12th 2004: 10 km around Cape Hangklip in South Africa in 18°C water in 3 hours 13 minutes – First
15. August 19th 2005: 1 km across Magdelenefjord, Spitsbergen in Arctic in 3°C water in 21:30 minutes – First & most northern swim
16. August 19th 2005: 1 km around Verlegenhuken, Spitsbergen in Arctic in 3°C water in 20:30 minutes – First & most northern swim
17. December 14th 2005: 1 km off Peterman Island in Antarctica in 0°C water in 18:00 minutes – First & most southern swim
18. December 16th 2005: 1.6 km across Deception Island, South Shetland Island in Antarctica in 2°C water in 30:30 minutes – First
19. January 27th 2006: 16 km from Outer Manley to Sydney Opera House in Australia in 23°C water in 6 hours 1 minutes – First
20. May 5th 2006: 1.2 km across Nigards Glacier Lake in Norway in 0°C water in 23:50 minutes – First
21. July 17th 2006: 350 km stage swim along length of the Thames in England in 18°C to 23°C water in 81 hours 49 minutes – First
22. November 2nd 2006: 16 km across Nelson Mandela Bay in South Africa in 22°C water in 4 hours 57 minutes – First
23. February 12th 2007: 140 km stage swim across width of Maldive Islands in Maldives in 29°C water in 41 hours 11 minutes – First
24. July 15th 2007: 1 km across the North Pole in Arctic in -1.7°C water in 18:50 minutes – First & most northern swim
25. May 23rd 2010: 1 km across Lake Pumori on Mt Everest in Nepal in 2°C water in 22:51 minutes – Breaststroke First & highest (at 5,200 meters)
26. August 8th 2014: 10 km off Monte Carlo in Monaco in 25°C water in 3 hours 33 minutes – 7 Ancient Seas (Mediterranean Sea)
27. August 12th 2014: 10 km off Zadar in Croatia in 26°C water in 3 hours 55 minutes – 7 Ancient Seas (Adriatic Sea)
28. August 15th 2014: 10 km off Athens in Greece in 27°C water in 3 hours 12 minutes – 7 Ancient Seas (Aegean Sea)
29. August 18th 2014: 10 km off Siįle in Turkey in 27°C water in 2 hours 48 minutes – 7 Ancient Seas (Black Sea)
30. August 21st 2014: 10 km off Aqaba in Jordan in 32°C water in 2 hours 57 minutes – 7 Ancient Seas (Red Sea)
31. August 25th 2014: 10 km off Rass Al Hadd in Oman in 16°C water in 3 hours 15 minutes – 7 Ancient Seas (Arabian Sea)
32. August 28th 2014: 60 km from Southend up the Thames to the Barrier in England in 17°C water in 6 hours 22 minutes – 7 Ancient Seas (North Sea)
33. March 19th 2015: 540 meters off Cape Adare, Ross Sea in Antarctica in -1.7°C water in 10:00 minutes – First & most southern swim
34. March 25th 2015: 330 meters in the Bay of Whales, Ross Sea in Antarctica in -1.7°C water in 5:00 minutes – First & most southern swim
35. December 10th 2016: 1 km around Cape Horn (West-East) in Chile in 7°C water in 18:22 minutes
36. December 12th 2016: 1 km across Half Moon Island, South Shetland Island in Antarctica in 0°C water in 17:18 minutes – First
37. July 15th 2017: 1 km along edge of Arctic sea ice, Spitsbergen in Arctic Sea in -0.1°C to -0.6°C water in 21:29 minutes – First
38. November 7th 2017: 1 km across King Edward Cove, Grytviken in South Georgia in 2.7°C to 3.6°C water in 19:01 minutes – First
39. July 12th 2018: 528 km stage swim along length of the English Channel in 14°C to 20°C water in 103 hours 45 minutes – First
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