antarctic mapRenowned Cape Town endurance swimmer and United Nation’s Environment Programme (UNEP)’s Patron of the Oceans, Lewis Pugh, has completed the most southerly swim in human history – swimming 500m off the coast of Cape Adare in the Antarctic Ocean.

In formidable conditions, Lewis broke the World Record by completing his swim in -1.7 degrees C water – the coldest seawater can be before it freezes – with no insulation other than a Speedo swimming costume. Upon coming out of the water, Lewis required a 50-minute long hot shower to warm his core body temperature.

Immediately afterwards Lewis said: “It was an exceptionally tough swim, especially as I had to navigate around sharp ice and couldn’t just keep my head down and swim. My fingers were in absolute agony from around the 300m mark, I’ve never felt pain like it before. I’m obviously delighted with the accomplishment and am looking forward to trying to beat this record in the next three weeks at Cape Evans and then The Bay of Whales. I want to thank my support team for keeping me safe. Now, the only thing warming me up is the thought that my actions can encourage world leaders to come together and preserve this wonderful and important part of the world.”

Lewis is undertaking a series of death defying swims in the Antarctic Ocean to influence world leaders to make the Ross Sea a Marine Protected Area (MPA). The Ross Sea is one of the most pristine and untarnished areas in the world and is under threat from commercial fishing and climate change. Lewis is particularly keen to appeal to Russia who, as well as having a distinguished history in Antarctic exploration, are presiding over The Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) – the body which can grant MPAs.


Follow Lewis’s progress via his website, Twitter @LewisPugh #5Swims and Facebook – Lewis Pugh.

Lewis will spend another three weeks swimming in the Antarctic Ocean where he hopes to break his newly set record not once, but twice more on this expedition.


Original article and images courtesy of: Kevin Trautman