French Swimmer Begins Record Pacific Crossing Attempt

A French swimmer has set off from Japan aiming to become the first person to swim across the Pacific Ocean. Ben Lecomte, 51, will swim for eight hours a day for more than six months as he heads towards the US west coast.

He faces dangers including sharks, storms, swarms of jellyfish, and extremely low water temperatures. He is hoping to raise awareness for climate change, and a team of scientists will conduct research during the 5,500 mile (9,000 km) swim.

Mr Lecomte, who lives in the US, has been preparing with hours of open water swimming every day. He has also practised “visualisation and dissociation” exercises to ensure he is mentally ready. Preparations for the trip have taken more than six years, but Mr Lecomte has been targeting the challenge for much longer.

In 1998, he made the first known solo trans-Atlantic swim covering 6,400km (4,000 miles) in 73 days. When he finally reached dry land in France, his first words were “never again”, but he was soon looking for a new challenge.

Mr Lecomte’s daily routine will remain virtually the same for the entire trip. He will swim for eight hours, jump onboard the support boat to eat and sleep, and then enter the water again. To keep his energy levels high, he is aiming to consume 8,000 calories a day.

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