One Record Setting Swim Complete, Another Prepares To Begin

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While we’re on the subject of aquatic adventures today I had a couple of stories about some epic swims cross my desk in the past day or two. The first of which is a team of South African relay swimmers who set a world record by swimming 350km (217 miles) in 106 hours. That’s a very impressive feat considering that adds up to nearly 4.5 days in the water.

The team, which consisted of Russell Tucker, Greg Tucker, SanMari Woithe, JC van Wyk, Brenton Williams and Ralph West, took turns swimming 3.1km (1.9 mile) laps in the Marina Martinique at Jeffreys Bay. They began their record setting swim last Wednesday and finished up over the weekend after continuing non-stop, day and night, through rain, wind and electrical storms for much of that time. At night they were accompanied by paddlers who stayed close to ensure their safety.

Congrats to the team for completing this epic swim. The grind that they had to have felt over the course of those days must have been incredible. Swimming lap after lap, even as part of a relay team, takes a great deal of endurance and I have a lot of respect for these athletes.

One athlete who is ramping up for an epic swim of his own is Ben Lecomte. In April he is planning on embarking on a solo-swim across the Pacific Ocean that will begin in Tokyo and end in San Francisco. Outside Online has a good article today about Ben’s quest, which will cover more than 8850km (5500 miles) of open water. He expects to be in the water eight hours a day, averaging roughly 64km (40 miles) per day. At that pace, it will take him five months to complete the crossing.

Lecomte, who once swam across the Atlantic Ocean, will use a GPS device to keep track of his position at any given time. That will ensure that he begins his swim at the correct spot each day as he’ll spend nights resting aboard a sailboat. That rigid tracking will allow us to follow his progress but is also a requirement for Guinness to officially recognize his achievement.

While he’ll have to deal with the physical demands of the swim, not to mention potential shark encounters, Outside notes, Ben’s biggest concern could be getting enough food. It is estimated that he’ll burn in excess of 8000 calories per day and it can actually get to be tiresome to consume enough food over weeks of that kind of exertion.

Just reading about either of these long-distance swimming events makes me tired.

Kraig Becker

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