Lewis Pugh, OIG (born 5 December 1969) is one of the most remarkable and unique individuals in the sport of open water swimming. He is a British maritime lawyer, an environmental campaigner, adventure swimmer, ice swimmer, high altitude swimmer, and ocean advocate with numerous pioneering swims including those in the North Pole and in the Southern (Antarctic) Ocean whose nicknames include the Human Polar Bear and a Speedo Diplomat. He serves as the United Nations Patron of the Oceans.
- 1 Honors
- 2 Open Water Swimming Highlights
- 3 Videos
- 4 Life, Family and Education
- 5 Adventure swimming
- 6 Environmental campaigning
- 7 Public speaking
- 8 Polar Defense Project
- 9 World Wide Fund for Nature and the Wilderness Leadership School
- 10 River Thames
- 11 Maldives
- 12 North Pole
- 13 Arctic Peril
- 14 Mt Everest - Swim for Peace
- 15 Television
- 16 Books
- 17 Swimming
- 18 Early swims
- 19 Cold water swims
- 20 Anticipatory Thermo-Genesis
- 21 5 Oceans
- 22 Awards
- 23 Seven Swims In The Seven Seas For 1 Reason
- 24 Five Swims in Antarctica for 1 Reason
- 25 Videos
- 26 2020 Antarctica
- 27 2018 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year Nomination
- 28 2016 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year nominee
- 29 2014 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year nominee
- 30 2014 WOWSA Award nomination
- 31 2015 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year nominee
- 32 2015 WOWSA Award nomination
- 33 Ice Sheet Swim
- 34 World's 50 Most Adventurous Open Water Men
- 35 Greatest Watermen in Open Water Swimming History
- 36 The Long Swim
- 37 Antarctica 2020 Campaign
- 38 2016 World's 50 Most Adventurous Open Water Men
- 39 External links
- In 2010 he was named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum for his potential to contribute to shaping the future of the world through inspiring leadership.
- He has spoken at the 2011 Global Open Water Swimming Conference.
- He received the 2011 Presidential Award from the International Swimming Hall of Fame.
- He was inducted as an Honor Swimmer in the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame in its Class of 2014 for his outstanding body of work in the sport of open water swimming and marathon swimming.
- On 18 June 2014, he was appointed by the United Nations Environment Programme as its Patron of the Oceans. In August 2014, he completed the Seven Swims In The Seven Seas For 1 Reason project and in February 2015, he set off to Antarctica to complete the Five Swims In Antarctica for 1 Reason in waters between 0ºC and -1.6ºC.
- He was inducted in the Ice Swimming Hall of Fame Class of 2019 as an Honor Swimmer.
- He was named one of the World's 50 Most Adventurous Open Water Men in 2019 by the World Open Water Swimming Association.
- He was named one of the World's 50 Most Adventurous Open Water Men in 2016 by the World Open Water Swimming Association.
- He was named one of the World's 50 Most Adventurous Open Water Men in 2015 by the World Open Water Swimming Association.
- He was named one of the World's 50 Most Adventurous Open Water Men in 2014 by the World Open Water Swimming Association.
Open Water Swimming Highlights
- On 1 May 1986, he swam 6.4 km from Robben Island to Blouberg in South Africa in 4 hours.
- On 10 September 1989, he swam 12 km from Robben Island to Rocklands in South Africa in 4 hours 55 minutes.
- On 6 February 1990, he swam 6.4 km from Robben Island to Blouberg in 2 hours 44 minutes.
- On 2 October 1991, he swam 9.9 km around Robben Island in South Africa in 4 hours 10 minutes.
- On 28 March 1992, he completed a 8 km Cape Peninsula swim from SImonstown to Muizenberg in 4 hours 40 minutes.
- On 6 August 1992, he completed an English Channel crossing from England to France in 14 hours 50 minutes.
- On 8 September 1992, he swam 6.4 km from Robben Island to Blouberg in South Africa in 2 hours 46 minutes.
- On 21 March 1994, he swam 11 km from Dassen Island to Ysterfontein in 2 hours 45 minutes.
- On 6 May 1995, he swam 6.4 km from Robben Island to Blouberg in 2 hours 50 minutes.
- On 15 April 2004, he completed a 10.2 km Three Capes swim in South Africa in 4 hours 15 minutes.
- On 10 July 2004, he completed a 9.9 km record-setting circumnavigation swim around Robben Island in South Africa in 4 hours 42 minutes.
- On 9 July 2005, he crossed 6.4 km from Robben Island to Blouberg in South Africa in 2 hours 52 minutes.
- On 12 January 2006, he swam 6.4 km from Robben Island to Blouberg in South Africa in 2 hours 2 minutes.
- In 1992, he completed a 25 km crossing of Lake Malawi in 42°C water in 9 hours 52 minutes
- In 1994, he completed an unprecedented solo swim around Cape Agulhas, South Africa, 10 km in 4 hours 1 minute
- In 2004, he completed a 5 km swim around North Cape in Finland in 1 hour 4 minutes
- In 2004, he completed an unprecedented 12 km solo swim around Cape of Good Hope in South Africa in 4 hours 15 minutes
- In 2004, he completed a 100 km stage swim around Cape Peninsula in 14 days
- In 2004, he completed an unprecedented 204 km stage swim down Sogneford, Norway, in 21 days
- In 2005, he completed a 1 km swim across Magdalenefjord, Spitsbergen in 4°C water in 20 minutes 40 seconds
- In 2005, he completed a 1 km swim in Petermann Island in Antarctica in 0°C water in 18 minutes
- In 2005, he swam 1.6 km across Whaler’s Bay in Deception Island in the South Shetland islands in 40 minutes 40 seconds
- In 2006, he completed a 16 km swim across Nelson Mandela Bay in South Africa in 4 hours 56 minutes
- In 2006, he completed a 16 km unprecedented solo swim from Manly Beach to Sydney Opera House in Australia in 6 hours 1 minute
- In 2006, he completed Five Oceans
- In 2006, he won a gold medal in 500m freestyle at the World Winter Swimming Championships in Finland
- In 2006, he completed a 1.25 km swim in Nigards Glacier Lake, Norway in 0°C
- In 2006, he completed a 450 km unprecedented stage swim down the River Thames in 21 days
- In 2006, he completed a 140 km unprecedented stage swim across the width of Maldive Islands in 40°C water in 10 days
- On 15 July 2007, he completed a 1 km unprecedented solo swim across the Geographic North Pole in an an open patch of sea in -1.6°C water in 18 minutes 50 seconds
- In 2008, he made a kayak attempt across the Arctic Ocean
- In 2009, he was awarded South Africa’s highest honour, the Order of Ikhamanga (Gold Class)
- In 2010, he completed a 1 km unprecedented high-altitude swim on Mount Everest in 22 minutes 51 seconds at 5,200m altitude
- In 2010, he was appointed a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum
- In 2011, he was appointed a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society
- In 2014, he was inducted in the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame as an Honour Swimmer
- In 2014, he completed the Seven Swims In The Seven Seas For 1 Reason
- In 2015, he completed the Five Swims in Antarctica for 1 Reason
- On 12 July 2018, he began The Long Swim, a 560 km stage swim across the British coast of the English Channel that he finished after 49 days.
Life, Family and Education
Pugh was born in Plymouth, England and was educated at the University of Cambridge and the University of Cape Town. His father, Surgeon Rear Admiral P.D. Gordon Pugh, OBE, FRCS was a surgeon in the Royal Navy and a prolific collector of ceramics of the Victorian era. His mother, Margery Pugh was a Senior Nursing Sister in Queen Alexandra's Royal Naval Nursing Service.
When he was 10 years old his family emigrated to South Africa. He read politics and law at the University of Cape Town and graduated with distinction and at the top of his Masters class. In his mid-twenties he returned to England where he read International Law at Jesus College, Cambridge and then worked as a maritime lawyer in the City of London for a number of years. During this time he concurrently served as a Reservist in the elite British Special Air Service.
In 2009 Pugh married Antoinette Malherbe, whom he met at school.
Pugh was the first person to complete a long distance swim in every ocean. He frequently swims in vulnerable ecosystems to draw attention to their plight and is best known for undertaking the first swim across the North Pole in 2006 to highlight the melting of the Arctic sea ice and for swimming across a glacial lake under the summit of Mount Everest in 2010 to draw attention to the melting glaciers in the Himalayas, and the impact the reduced water supply will have on world peace.
During his youth Pugh visited many National Parks in South Africa. He attributes this to his father's desire to teach him to love and respect nature after what he had witnessed whilst serving in the Royal Navy. In 2004, Pugh left his maritime law practice to campaign for the protection of the environment. He often addresses Heads of State and business leaders on the need to tackle climate change head on and the importance of a low carbon society.
In 2009 Nobel Peace Prize laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Pugh took the evidence of witnesses from across Africa on the effects of climate change at the Pan-African Climate and Poverty Hearings. The evidence was presented to the 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference.
Pugh is an accomplished public speaker. He has twice spoken at the influential TED Conference and is described on their website as a master story-teller.
“... was the perfect TED talk: a little bit of action, some thinking outside the box, humbling words on the need to respect nature, a happy ending. A Hollywood scriptwriter could not have structured it better.”
And his speech on environmental leadership at the 2008 Business Innovation Forum Conference in the USA was voted as one of the "6 Most Inspiring Videos on the Web" by Mashable, the social media guide.
Polar Defense Project
In 2008 Pugh founded the Polar Defense Project to campaign for greater protection for the Arctic and a resolution of the maritime boundary disputes. In 2009 it won the Best Project for the Environment at the inaugural Beyond Sports Awards.
World Wide Fund for Nature and the Wilderness Leadership School
Pugh sits on the Council of Ambassadors for the World Wide Fund for Nature in the UK with Sir David Attenborough and Jonathon Porritt. He also works closely with Dr Ian Player and the Wilderness Leadership School to promote and protect the last wilderness areas on the earth.
In 2006, he became the first person to swim the entire length of the River Thames to raise awareness about the severe drought in England and the dangers of global warming. The 450 km (216.5 miles) swim took him 21 days to complete and was called the Investec Thames Challenge swim. The river had stopped flowing due to the drought, forcing Pugh to run the first 40 km of the river. While swimming through London, Pugh exited the water and made a visit to Tony Blair at 10 Downing Street to call on the United Kingdom to move towards a low carbon economy. Shortly afterwards the Prime Minister introduced the Climate Change Bill to Parliament.
In February 2006 Pugh became the first person to swim across the width of the Maldives archipelago in a 140 km stage swim. He undertook the swim to raise awareness about the effect of climate change on low lying islands in the world. The 140K (86 mile) swim took 10 days to complete under the leadership of expedition leader Tim Toyne Sewell.
In July 2006 Pugh undertook the first open water swim at the Geographic North Pole. The 1 km (0.62 mile) swim, across an open patch of sea, in minus -1.6 °C water, took 18 minutes 50 seconds to complete. Jørgen Amundsen, the great grand nephew of Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen, paced Pugh by skiing alongside him during the swim.
The swim coincided with the lowest coverage of Arctic sea ice ever recorded. Pugh disagrees with recent modeling, which predicts that the Arctic will be ice free in the summer by 2080.
In his autobiography Pugh wrote, "Ironically, global warming played no small part in undermining the entire expedition. We believed that the greater melting of summer ice would open up large areas of sea and allow us to paddle north at good speed. What we did not fully appreciate was that to the north of us there was a widespread melting of sea ice off the coast of Alaska and the New Siberian Islands and the ice was being pushed south towards us ... The evidence of climate change was stark. Fourteen months before I'd sailed north and I'd seen a preponderance of multi-year ice about three metres thick north of Spitsbergen, but this time most of the ice was just a metre thick."
Pugh was featured in the Arctic swim documentary called Arctic Peril, first broadcast in the UK in December 2016.
Mt Everest - Swim for Peace
In May 2010, Pugh completed a high-altitude swim in Lake Pumori, a glacial lake on the Khumbu Glacier on Mt Everest, to highlight the melting of the glaciers in the Himalayas and the impact the reduced water supply will have on world peace. The 1 km (0.62 mile) swim, at an altitude of 5,200 metres, in 2°C water, took 22 minutes 51 seconds to complete and was done as part of the Clinton Global Initiative.
Pugh has appeared on numerous TV shows including Good Morning America, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Richard & Judy, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and BBC Breakfast. He has also been featured by Dr. Sanjay Gupta on Vital Signs on CNN, Carte Blanche and Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel.
In 2009 Pugh starred in Robson Green's Wild Swimming Adventure where he trained the English actor / singer to swim across the icy waters of Llyn Llydaw, a lake on Mount Snowdon in Wales. Afterwards Robson Green said, "… Lewis prepared me psychologically for something that was way outside my comfort zone. His introduction to the notion of committing to an objective, becoming unstoppable and reaching that objective was life changing. There was no swim I couldn't do after meeting Lewis because anything is possible if you COMMIT!"
In 2010 Pugh's autobiography "Achieving the Impossible: A Fearless Leader, A Fragile Earth" was published by Simon & Schuster. It quickly became a Number One bestseller.
He also released a book, 21 Yaks and a Speedo: How to achieve your impossible in May 2014 which was launched at the 2014 Hay Festival in Wales. It was nominated as the 2014 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year by the World Open Water Swimming Association.
Over a period of 24 years Pugh has pioneered more swims around famous landmarks than any other swimmer in history including swims in Deception Island off the Antarctic Peninsula. In an interview with Forbes he stated, "Between Lynne Cox, Martin Strel and myself, we've hit all of the world's major landmarks. There's really nothing left."
Pugh had his first real swimming lesson in 1986, at the age of 16. One month later he swam from Robben Island (where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned) to Cape Town. On 6 August 1992, he swam across the English Channel. In 2002 he broke the record for the fastest time for swimming around Robben Island.
He was the first person to swim around Cape Agulhas (the southern-most point in Africa), the Cape of Good Hope, and the Cape Peninsula (a 100 km (62 mile) swim from Cape Town to Muizenberg). Pugh was also the first person to swim across an African Great Lake, namely Lake Malawi.
Cold water swims
After 2004 Pugh focused on pioneering swims in the coldest and most hostile waters of the world. All of them were undertaken in accordance with Channel Swimming Association rules, in just a pair of Speedo swimming trunks, cap and goggles. He became the first person to swim around the infamous North Cape, Norway, the northern-most point in Europe. The following year he became the first person to swim down the entire length of Sognefjord in Norway, a 204K (126 mile) swim which took him 21 days to complete.
In 2005 he broke the world record for the farthest-north long distance swim by undertaking a 1 km (0.62 mile) swim at 80º North around Verlegenhuken, the northern-most cape in Spitsbergen. He followed that five months later by breaking Lynne Cox's world record for the farthest-south long distance swim by undertaking a 1 km (0.62 mile) swim at 65º South at Petermann Island off the Antarctic Peninsula.
In 2006 Pugh challenged Russia's top cold water swimmers to a 500 metre race at the World Winter Swimming Championships in Finland. He easily won the gold medal, beating Russian Champion Alexander Brylin by over 100 metres and the bronze medalist Nefatov Vladimir by 125 meters.
On both his Arctic and Antarctic expeditions Professor Tim Noakes, a sports scientist from the University of Cape Town, recorded Pugh's ability to raise his core body temperature by nearly 2°C in anticipation of entering the freezing water. He coined the phrase "anticipatory thermo-genesis" (the creation of heat before an event). This phenomenon had not been noted in any other human. Pugh believes it is a Pavlovian Response to years of cold water swimming.
In 2006 Pugh achieved the 5 Oceans or the Holy Grail of Swimming by becoming the first person to complete a long distance swim in all 5 Oceans of the world. To date he is the only person to have achieved this feat. His five swims were:
- Atlantic Ocean - across the English Channel in 1992
- Arctic Ocean - around the most northern point of the Island of Spitsbergen in 2005
- Southern Ocean - across Whaler's Bay in Deception Island in 2005
- Indian Ocean - across Nelson Mandela Bay in 2006 and
- Pacific Ocean - from Manly Beach through the Sydney Heads to the Sydney Opera House in 2006
- 2011 - Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, London
- 2011 - President's Award from the International Swimming Hall of Fame
- 2010 - Appointed a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum
- 2009 - Awarded the highest honour in South Africa - the Order of Ikhamanga (Gold Class) for his "exceptional sporting triumphs, humanitarian feats and creating consciousness about the negative effects of global warming". This was only the third time a sportsman had received the honour.
- 2009 - Best Project for the Environment - Beyond Sport Awards
- 2008 - Out There Adventurer of the Year
- 2006 - Fellow of The Explorers Club, New York
- 2006 - Paul Harris Fellowship Award by Rotary International
- 2006 - Sports Adventurer of the Year Award by the French Sports Academy
- 2006 - Freedom of the City of London
Seven Swims In The Seven Seas For 1 Reason
- The Seven Swims In The Seven Seas For 1 Reason is a project and campaign by Pugh accomplished between 9-29 August 2014 in order to put Marine Protected Areas on the global agenda.
- Pugh completed a marathon swim in each of the Seven Seas: 10 km in the Mediterranean Sea, 10 km in the Adriatic Sea, 10 km in the Aegean Sea, 10 km in the Black Sea, 10 km in the Red Sea, 10 km in the Arabian Sea, and a 60 km stage swim in the North Sea.
- It became the inspiration for The Ancient Seven Seas challenge.
Completed Marathon Swims in the Seven Seas
- 10 km in the Mediterranean Sea: in Monte Carlo, Monaco on 9 August 2014 in 3 hours 33 minutes
- 10 km in the Adriatic Sea: in Zadar, Croatia during 10-14 August 2014 window in 3 hours 55 minutes
- 10 km in the Aegean Sea: in Athens, Greece during 14-16 August 2014 window in 3 hours 12 minutes
- 10 km in the Black Sea: in Istanbul, Turkey during 16-19 August 2014 window in 2 hours 48 minutes
- 10 km in the Red Sea: Aqaba, Jordan during 20-22 August window 2014 in 2 hours 57 minutes
- 10 km in the Arabian Sea: Rass Al Hadd, Oman during 24-26 August 2014 window in 3 hours 15 minutes
- 60 km triple stage swim in the North Sea: London, United Kingdom ending 29 August 2014 over 3 tides
Five Swims in Antarctica for 1 Reason
Open water swims in waters between 0ºC and -1.6ºC:
- 14 February 2015 - Campbell Island at 52º South
- 19 February 2015 - Cape Adare at 61º South
- 22 February 2015 - Cape Evans at 66.6º South
- 28 February 2015 - Bay of Whales at 68.5º South
- 6 March 2015 - Peter 1 Island at 69º South
2018 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year Nomination
He was nominated for the 2018 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year by the World Open Water Swimming Association:
After a series of swims in Antarctica as part of his campaign to create a series of Marine Protection Areas in the Southern Ocean, United Nations Patron of the Oceans Lewis Pugh negotiated with key government officials to help create the largest protected area in the world in the Ross Sea. Although his previous ice swims attracted much global media attention, he decided to swim closer to influential decision-makers who can make major environmental differences. So he set off on a 528 km stage swim - called The Long Swim - along the south coast of England from Land's End in Cornwall to Dover in Kent. He finished after 49 days fighting currents, relentless turbulence and strong tidal flows while engaging with local citizens, national media channels, and key politicians along the way. For dreaming up, widely promoting, and successfully completing an unprecedented swim along - not across - the English Channel, for being an authentic, powerful and constant voice for marine environmental protection and winning the Service to the Planet Award, and for encouraging and convincing the British government to commit to protecting 40% of the world’s oceans by 2040 that sets an impressive and important benchmark for other governments to follow, Lewis Pugh of Great Britain/South Africa is a worthy nominee for the 2018 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year.
2016 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year nominee
Pugh was nominated for the 2016 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year award.
Lewis Pugh swapped his swimsuit for a dress suit this year, but his legacy as the United Nations Patron of the Oceans was most effectively established as a result. His tireless diplomatic efforts in dealing with politicians, government leaders and bureaucrats directly led to the establishment of the Ross Sea as a Marine Protected Area, a crowning achievement of his ocean advocacy. His passionate education and lobbying of the 25 member nations of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources led to a positive vote to create the world's largest protected area. For his logistics, organization and successful execution of his Five Swims in Antarctica for 1 Reason, for connecting these unprecedented solo swims with follow-up concrete action at the highest levels of government, for helping protect the Southern Ocean for the future benefit of mankind through his Speedo diplomacy and dramatic swims, Lewis Pugh is a worthy nominee for the 2016 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year.
2014 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year nominee
1. Adam Walker (Great Britain), Oceans Seven Swimmer
2. Allan Lopes Mamédio do Carmo (Brazil), FINA 10K Marathon Swimming World Cup Champion
4. Colin Hill (Great Britain), Race Director & Open Water Ambassador
4. Ferry Weertman (Netherlands), 2-time European Champion
5. Henri Kaarma (Estonia), Ice Swimmer & Cold Water Ambassador
6. Joanes Hedel (France), FINA Open Water Swimming Grand Prix Champion
6. Joseph Locke (U.S.A.), Farallons Freestyler
8. Lewis Pugh, OIG (Great Britain), Ocean Advocate
9. Otto Thaning, M.D. (South Africa), Oldest English Channel Swimmer
10. Phil White (U.S.A.), Outstanding Organizer
11. Tomi Stefanovski (Macedonia), Traversée Internationale du lac St-Jean Co-Champion
12. Xavier Desharnais (Canada), Traversée Internationale du lac St-Jean Co-Champion
2014 WOWSA Award nomination
"Lewis Pugh has consistently risen to the top. An advocate accomplished in marine law and a former elite warrior with Great Britain’s SAS, Pugh has the DNA for the extraordinary and the uncommon flair for storytelling. While accomplishing innumerable firsts from Mount Everest to the North Pole, Pugh has focused his skills and deep-seated passion to become an environmental campaigner and advocate for protecting the oceans. In his continuous efforts to change the mindsets of policy makers for good, Pugh designed, funded, promoted and executed the Swimming the Seven Seas for One Reason campaign. The unprecedented swims in the Mediterranean Sea (10 km), Adriatic Sea (10 km), Aegean Sea (10 km), Black Sea (10 km), Red Sea (10 km), Arabian Sea (10 km) and North Sea (60 km) in 22 days served as a catalyst to creating more Marine Protected Areas. For his innovative means to generate global attention and reshape the marine world, for his unprecedented Swimming the Seven Swims For One Reason campaign that left an enduring legacy, for setting standards in creating environmental swims, Lewis Pugh is a worthy nominee for the 2014 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year."
2015 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year nominee
1. Antonio Argüelles (Mexico) Channel Swimmer Redux
2. Attila Mányoki (Hungary) Prolific Ocean Swimmer
4. Ben Hooper (Great Britain) Transoceanic Challenger
4. Benoît Lecomte (France/U.S.A.) Transoceanic Adventurer
5. Christof Wandratsch (Germany) Ice Swimming Record Holder
6. Evgenij Pop Acev (Macedonia) FINA Grand Prix Champion
6. Ingemar Patiño Macarine (Philippines) Pinoy Aquaman
8. James Tout (U.S.A.) Long-overdue Triple Crowner
9. Lewis Pugh, OIG (Great Britain) Ocean Advocate
10. Rohans More (India) Oceans Seven Adventurer
11. Rostislav Vítek (Czech Republic) Ice Swimmer Extraordinaire
12. Simone Ruffini (Italy) Olympian & World Champion
2015 WOWSA Award nomination
Lewis Pugh, OIG (Great Britain) Ocean Advocate
Lewis Pugh never stops fighting for mankind's future. Over a period of 15 days in February and March, the renowned ocean advocate, completed a series of four frigid swims in Antarctica to spur governments to declare the pristine Ross Sea a Marine Protected Area. His swims included swims at Campbell Island at 52º South, Cape Adare at 61º South, and Peter 1 Island at 69º South. His final 450-meter swim along the Ross Ice Shelf at the Bay of Whales at 68.4º South was the most southern swim ever undertaken – or can be undertaken in waters between 0ºC and was conducted under the most inhospitable conditions imaginable. The sea was -1ºC, the air temperature was -46ºC, and the wind was gusting 40 knots. For his innovative means to generate global attention that helps positively reshape the marine world, for his pioneering swims in Antarctica in such challenging conditions and for setting the standard in creating environmental swims, Lewis Pugh is a worthy nominee for the 2015 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year.
Ice Sheet Swim
World's 50 Most Adventurous Open Water Men
Greatest Watermen in Open Water Swimming History
1. Zacharias Alexandrakis (Macedonia): Marathon swimming enthusiast, open water swimming promoter, lifeguard, swimming coach and lifesaving leader.
2. Antonio Argüelles Díaz-González (Mexico): Triathlete, ultra-endurance athlete, channel swimmer and author
4. Stathis Avramidis, Ph.D. (Greece): Researcher, swimmer, author, speaker, and lecturer
4. Peter Bales (South Africa): Channel swimmer, marathon swimmer, governing body administrator and escort pilot
5. Vito Bialla (U.S.A.): Extreme relay swimmer, professional sailor, and escort pilot of the Farallon Islands, California
6. Paul Blackbeard (South Africa): World-class pool swimmer, ocean swimmer, and life saver
6. Lord Byron (Great Britain): Poet, author and pioneering sea swimmer
8. Dick Campion (Australia): Olympian, coach, trainer, author, promoter, and professional marathon swimmer
9. Daniel Eulogio Carpio Massioti (Peru): Four-time Olympian, Channel swimmer, professional racer, and solo swimmer
10. Bruckner Chase (U.S.A.): marathon swimmer, ocean advocate, ambassador to the disabled, filmmaker, paddler and surf lifesaver
11. Buster Crabbe (U.S.A.): Olympic champion, ice swimmer, promoter, and movie star of 4 pulp fiction heroes
12. Guy Delage (France): Ocean swimmer, extreme adventurer, diver, submariner, and sailor
14. Marcos Díaz (Dominican Republic): Marathon racer, extreme swimmer, surfer, governing body administrator, and event director
14. Shannon Eckstein (Australia): Ironman lifesaver, paddler, kayaker, surf skier and ocean swimmer
15. Ian Emberson (Kauai, U.S.A.): Channel swimmer, original Ironman triathlete, ocean swimmer, event director, and triathlete
16. George Freeth (Hawai, U.S.A.): Ocean swimmer, surfer, paddler, and lifesaver organizer
16. Alfréd Hajós (Hungary): Olympic champion, professional racer, and architect
18. Trevor Hendy (Australia): Ironman lifesaver, paddler, kayaker, surf skier and ocean swimmer
19. Colin Hill (Great Britain): Ice swimmer, Channel swimmer, television commentator, and event director
20. Craig Hummer (U.S.A.): Competitive swimmer, kayaker, paddler, Ironman lifesaver, and Olympic television commentator
21. Ky Hurst (Australia): Ocean swimmer, two-time Olympian, body surfer extraordinaire, and champion life saver
22. Zhang Jian (China): Marathon swimmer, Channel swimmer, ice swimmer and university sports director
24. Captain Tim Johnson (U.S.A.): Marathon swimmer, author, professor, shark cage designer, analyst, and historian
24. Duke Kahanamoku (Hawaii): Ocean swimmer, Olympic champion, surfing legend and ambassador of aloha
25. Grant Kenny (Australia): Ironman lifesaver, paddler, kayaker, surf skier and ocean swimmer
26. Guy Leech (Australia): Ironman lifesaver, paddler, kayaker, surf skier and ocean swimmer
26. Luiz Eduardo Carneiro da Silva de Souza Lima (Brazil): Two-time Olympian, stand-up paddler, ocean swimming coach, pioneering ocean swimmer and promoter
28. Pádraig Mallon (Ireland): Marathon swimmer, Channel swimmer, ice swimmer, event organizer, promoter and triathlete
29. Vojislav Mijić (Serbia): Marathon swimmer, professional racer, solo pioneer and event organizer
40. Masayuki Moriya (Japan): Coach, channel swimmer, event organizer, clinician, and governing body administrator
41. Keo Nakama (Hawaii/U.S.A.): World champion, world record holder, pioneering ocean swimmer, event organizer and coach
42. Aaron Peirsol (U.S.A.): 6-time Olympic medalist, surfer, lifeguard, coach, and body surfer extraordinaire
44. Lewis Pugh (Great Britain): Channel swimmer, marathon swimmer, ocean advocate, ambassador, author, and speaker
44. Kevin Richards (South Africa): Competitive swimmer, triathlete, surf lifesaver, and coach
45. Philip Rush (New Zealand): Channel swimmer, marathon swimmer, professional racer, escort pilot, channel administrator, and fire fighter
46. Wayne Riddin (South Africa): Competitive swimmer, race director, aquapreneur, coach and promoter
46. Veljko Rogošić (Croatia): Two-time Olympic swimmer, professional racer, solo pioneer, swimming ambassador and marathon swimmer
48. Kenny Rust (Hawaii, U.S.A.): Ocean swimmer, lifeguard, aquapreneur, and event safety official
49. Ori Sela (Israel): Sea swimmer, coach, therapist, pioneer relay swimmer and aquapreneur
40. Borut Strel (Slovenia): Coach, swimmer, clinician, planner and logistic expert
41. Martin Strel (Slovenia): Channel swimmer, marathon swimmer, extreme adventurer, film protagonist, and camp clinician
42. Georgios-Ioannis Tsianos, M.D., Ph.D. (Greece): Research scientist, physician, expedition medic and Channel swimmer
44. Christof Wandratsch (Germany): Channel swimmer, professional racer, solo pioneer, ice swimming record holder and event promoter
44. Captain Matthew Webb (Great Britain): Channel swimmer, extreme adventurer, and professional racer
45. Johnny Weissmuller (U.S.A.): 4-time Olympic champion and movie star with a household name
46. Alick Wickham (Solomon Islands): Ocean swimmer, high diver, body surfing promoter, surfboard shaper, and freestyle ambassador
46. Patrick Winkler (Brazil): Competitive swimmer, ocean swimmer, stand-up paddler, race promoter and publisher of The Swim Channel Magazine
48. Jabez Wolffe (Great Britain): Channel aspirant and coach in the early generations of channel swimming
49. Doug Woodring (Hong Kong/U.S.A.): Marine environment ambassador, ecology advocate, aquapreneur, ocean event director, paddler, diver, and ocean swimmer
50. David Yudovin (U.S.A.): Channel swimmer, marathon swimmer, aquapreneur, benefactor and mariner
The Long Swim
Antarctica 2020 Campaign
2016 World's 50 Most Adventurous Open Water Men
1. Dr. Doron Amosi, extreme relay/cross-border swimmer from Israel
2. Antonio Argüelles Díaz-González, channel swimmer and endurance athlete from Mexico
4. Cyril Baldock, marathon/channel swimmer from Australia
4. Ram Barkai, administrator, event organizer and ice swimmer from South Africa
5. John Batchelder, butterflying marathon swimmer from USA
6. Nejib Belhedi, marathon/stage/boat pull swimmer from Tunisia
6. Alexander Brylin, channel ice swimmer from Russia
8. Luc Chetboun, extreme relay/cross-border swimmer from Israel
9. Salvatore Cimmino, amputee advocate and marathon/extreme swimmer from Italy
10. Jean Craven, marathon/extreme swimmer from South Africa
11. Ned Denison, IMSHOF administrator and marathon/ice swimmer from Ireland
12. Craig Dietz, disabled open water swimmer from USA
14. Ben Enosh, extreme relay/cross-border swimmer from Israel/USA
14. Udi Erell, extreme relay/cross-border swimmer from Israel
15. Stephen Junk, channel swimmer from Australia
16. Henri Kaarma, event organizer and ice swimmer from Estonia
16. Ger Kennedy, ice, underwater and extreme swimmer from Ireland
18. Craig Lenning, marathon/channel/ice swimmer from the USA
19. Neil Macaskill, extreme/cross-border swimmer from South Africa
20. Pádraig Mallon, escort pilot, event organizer and marathon/channel/ice swimmer from Ireland
21. Ingemar Patiño Macarine, channel/marathon swimmer from the Philippines
22. Andrew Malinak, administrator and cold water/marathon/channel swimmer from the USA
24. Chris Marthinusen, extreme/high-altitude swimmer from South Africa
24. Patrick McKnight, marathon/channel swimmer from the USA
25. Allan McLeland, Peak and Pond swimmer/climber from the USA
26. Darren Miller, channel swimmer and event director from the USA
26. Rohan More, marathon/channel swimmer from India
28. Gullupilli Narhari, extreme relay swimmer from India
29. Matías Ola, event organizer and ice/extreme swimmer from Argentina
40. Kieron Palframan, ice/extreme swimmer from South Africa
41. James Pittar, blind marathon/channel swimmer from Australia
42. Javier Mérida Prieto, disabled Triple Crown swimmer from Spain
44. Lewis Pugh, OIG, ocean advocate and ice/extreme swimmer from the UK
44. Oded Rahav, extreme relay/cross-border swimmer from Israel
45. Stephen Redmond, channel/marathon swimmer from Ireland
46. Adrian Sarchet, marathon/channel swimmer from Guernsey
46. Ori Sela, extreme relay/cross-border swimmer from Israel
48. Dan Simonelli, coach/guide/observer and marathon/channel swimmer from the USA
49. Paramvir Singh, extreme relay swimmer from India
40. Albert Sobirov, ice swimmer from Russia
41. Petar Stoychev, marathon/channel/ice/Olympic swimmer from Bulgaria
42. Ryan Stramrood, ice/extreme swimmer from South Africa
44. Martin Strel, marathon/stage swimmer from Slovenia
44. Dr. Otto Thaning, channel/marathon swimmer from South Africa
45. Jacques Tuset, prison island swimmer from France
46. Toks Viviers, ice/extreme swimmer from South Africa
46. Adam Walker, coach, event organizer, and channel swimmer from England
48. Christof Wandratsch, event organizer and ice/marathon/channel/professional swimmer from Germany
49. Brenton Williams, event organizer and butterfly ocean swimmer from South Africa
50. Herman van der Westhuizen, extreme high-altitude swimmer from South Africa
- Climate Central Predicts The Future - It Can Be Scary For Coastal Communities
- EcoAthletes To Support The COP 26 In Glasgow, Together With Lewis Pugh
- The Swimming Evolution – From Briefs To Jammers
- Arctic, Antarctica, BiPolar Ice Swimmers Announced by the International Ice Swimming Association
- On A Roll With Lewis Pugh: Melding Passion With Purpose
- International Day of Older Persons and the Aging Demographics of Open Water Swimmers
- Lewis Pugh Swims Amid The Melting Ilulissat Glacier
- Lewis Pugh Finished…Now The Really Hard Part Begins
- Lewis Pugh Lives Up To His Name As The Speedo Diplomat
- The ICE Series Episode 1 with Dr. Otto Thaning: Heart and Hypothermia in The Ice
- UN Address On World Oceans Day 2021
- How Ice Swimmers Achieve the Impressive, Improbable, and Inconceivable
- Lewis Pugh Pushed, The World Is Responding
- When Luminaries Meet Across Generations
- 2020 International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Induction Virtual Ceremonies
- How High Is Your Navigational IQ In The Open Water?
- The Future Is Now After 80 Years
- A Restart With Lewis Pugh And Senator Kerry
- John Kerry Has Another Opportunity To Effect Change
- Deeds Of Distinction In The Open Water Swimming World
- Jaimie Monahan, Ned Denison Discuss Ice Swimming Hall Of Fame On WOWSA Live
- Sally Minty-Gravett, Otto Thaning, Ned Denison Give Tribute To Varne Ridge On WOWSA Live
- Ryan Stramrood Shares Wisdom and His Perspectives On WOWSA Live
- Aiming For The Sky While Swimming In The World's Oceans
- Reading, Not Racing. A Library Of Open Water Swimming Books
- If Captain Matthew Webb Texted And Tweeted, Posted And Published
- What Was The Most Impactful Open Water Swim In World History?
- Swimming Towards The Light With A Sense Of Urgency
- Satoyama In The Sea
- Keeping The Integrity, Ram Barkai On Open Water Friday
- Looking Forward For Pablo Fernández Álvarez And Nuala Moore
- A Love Creative With April Wong
- Ice Swimming Hall of Fame Members Announced
- Ram Barkai, Ice Swimming Honor Swimmer & Contributor
- Bering Strait Relay, Ice Swimming Hall Of Fame Honor Event
- Aleksander Brylin, Ice Swimming Hall Of Fame Honor Swimmer
- Henri Kaarma, Ice Swimming Hall Of Fame Honor Swimmer
- Lewis Pugh, Ice Swimming Hall Of Fame Honor Swimmer
- Mariia Yrjö‐Koskinen, Ice Swimming Hall Of Fame Honoree
- The Unprecedented Lake Malawi Swim By Martin Hobbs
- The Swimming Evolution From Briefs To Jammers
- Pure And Simple, A Silver Lining For Alexander Popov
- Lewis Pugh To Speak At International Marine Conference
- Martin Marathoning Malawi
- Why? Lewis Pugh Explains At Westminster Abbey
- Newest Guinness World Records Holders In The Open Water
- Open Water Swimmers Who Take Action
- Lewis Pugh Sees Light At The End Of The Tunnel
- Lewis Pugh’s Ice Sheet Swim
- Meeting People Along The Shore
- Blue Man Group Down In Antarctica
- The Perfect Open Water Man
- The Perfect Open Water Woman
- Renaissance Men In The Contemporary Open Water World
- Antarctic Circle Challenge, An Ice Swimming Hall Of Fame Honor Event
- A Rich Concept: The Ancient Seven Seas
- Ram In Redondo: Barkai On The Beauty Of The Ice
- 2016 World's 50 Most Adventurous Open Water Men
- The World's 50 Most Adventurous Open Water Men
- World's Top 100 Open Water Swims In History
- The Sights And Sounds And Swims Of The Seven Seas
- Seven Swims In The Seven Seas For 1 Reason
- Lewis Pugh official website
- Where Celsius And Fahrenheit Meet
- The Ancient Seven Seas And 1 Modern Mariner
- TED talk on swimming at Mt. Everest
- The Human Polar Bear
- Swimming Down The River Thames, Lewis Pugh In 2006
- International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame
- International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Class of 2014
- Lewis Pugh Honored By The International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame
- Top 10 Things To Fear In The Open Water
- Dangerous Creatures For Open Water Swimmers
- Swimmers Are No Ordinary People
- How Cool Is Deception At The Bottom Of The World
- People Who Changed The World Of Open Water Swimming
- The Personalities Of The Five Oceans
- The Time Is Now, The Choice Is Yours
- The Colors Of Open Water Swimming
- 40 Open Water Swimmers Known By One Name
- WOWSA, IMSHOF Heads To Cork, Ireland
- Lewis Pugh Is No Monk
- Sayings From The Open Water Swimming World
- Friends And Supporters Of 21 Yaks And A Speedo
- Do You See In The Open Water Or Do You Observe?
- Signing And Speeches About 21 Yaks And A Speedo
- What Is An Ocean Advocate?
- Hope Springs Eternal In The Open Water World
- Lewis Pugh Becomes Patron Of The Oceans
- Lewis Pugh, Patron For The Oceans
- Lewis Pugh Becomes A Patron Of The Oceans
- Marathon Swimming
- The Perfect Female Open Water Swimmer
- The Perfect Male Open Water Swimmer
- Dr Otto Thaning, 62 And Counting
- Eloquently Explaining The 'Why' Of Open Water Swimming
- Mind Over Matter, Swimming 1000m @ 0ºC
- Swimming In Siberia, Russian Winter Swimming Champs
- Ice Swimming At The Winter Olympics
- Changing Today For A Better Tomorrow
- Lewis Pugh Enters Marathon Swimming Hall Of Fame
- Swimming And Storytelling To Inspire The Next Generation
- 2014 World Open Water Swimming Offering Of The Year
- 21 Yaks, 21 Chapters Of Life's Lessons
- Analytical Planning For Success
- Will Open Water Swimming Species Be Upgraded?
- Great Moves In Open Water Swimming History - Lake Michigan
- Great Moves In Open Water Swimming History - lac St-Jean
- Great Moves In Open Water Swimming History - Mount Everest
- Great Moves In Open Water Swimming History - Rome
- Antartica Circle Ice Challenge: The Goal, Men And Cause
- What Makes Great Swimmers?
- Winter Olympics Is…Daring, Entertaining And Athletic
- Nejib Belhedi At Top Of The World
- Lewis Pugh At Woodstock Of The Mind
- MPA: Marvelously Productive Activity, 6 Swims In 6 Seas
- Seven Swims In The Seven Seas - 1 Reason, 1 Down
- Seven Swims In The Seven Seas - 1 Reason, 2 Down
- Seven Swims In The Seven Seas - 1 Reason, 6 Down
- Seven Swims In The Seven Seas For 1 Reason
- The Ancient Seven Seas And 1 Modern Mariner
- The Heavy Demands On Land Along The Seven Seas
- Going Solo Needs Teamwork
- The Sights And Sounds And Swims Of The Seven Seas
- Marine Life Nowhere To Be Seen
- 20 People Who Uplifted Open Water Swimming
- What Are Swimmers Known As?
- Stay Thirsty With The Most Interesting Men In The World
- 2014 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year Nominees
- 2014 World Open Water Swimming Woman Of The Year Nominees
- 2014 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year Nominees
- 2014 WOWSA Awards Nominees
- 2014 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year Nominees
- 50 Things To Do In The Open Water After 50
- Henri Kaarma, 2014 World Open Water Swimming Man Of The Year
- Swimming In Your Own Skin
- How Low Can They Go?
- Lewis Pugh Gives A Hint Where He Will Next Swim
- Getting To The Bottom Of Declaring Marine Protected Areas - Lewis Pugh's Five Swims In Antarctica For 1 Reason
- Lewis Pugh Facebook page
- Struggles And Success To Secure Swimming Sponsorship
- Big Brother Eyes Big Blue
- Five Swims In Antarctica Opens Exhibition In Moscow
- Protecting Ross Sea As A Marine Protected Area
- When It Is Cold At Night
- Words And Advice From Lewis Pugh
- The Greatest Watermen In Open Water Swimming History
- Where Celsius And Fahrenheit Meet
- The Explorers Club In The Open Water World
- Theodore Yach, Successful In His Element
- Madswimmers Have High Goals In Ojos Swim
- How Are High-Altitude Swims Defined?
- 2015 World Open Water Swimming Man Of The Year Nominees
- Nominees For The 2015 WOWSA Awards
- WOWSA Man of the Year Voting
- World Open Water Swimming Association
- What Are You Good At In The Open Water?
- Lewis Pugh Swims That Can Go No Further South
- Ingemar Patiño Macarine Is A Hero Of The Environment
- Is There A Doctor On Board?
- WOWSA...Swimmers To Be Celebrated At Big Chill Swim
- 2015 WOWSA Awards - Performance Of The Year Voting
- Lewis Pugh To Present WOWSA Awards At Big Chill Swim
- 5 More To 100 Robben Island Crossing
- Honoring Heroes At Low Wood Bay Resort
- The Cold Facts Of Winter Swimming
- 12 Days Of Christmas In The Open Water
- World Open Water Swimming Association
- A New Warm World In Cold Places
- Things Open Water Swimmers Never Say
- 15 Tips For A Successful Channel Swim
- Chilling In The Cold
- How To Teach Open Water To The Next Generation
- Big Smiles At Big Chill Swim In Windermere
- What Happens In A Winter Swimming Championship
- Low Wood Bay Resort Hotel Was Grand Site
- Talking Swimming On TED
- Seeking The Truth
- How Do You Prepare For An Open Water Swim?
- Reaching Beyond The Shores Of The Open Water
- Google Doodle And Lewis Pugh
- You Can Be Courageous Or You Can Be Comfortable
- Patience, Planning And Pain Of Creating Antarctica's MPA
- Ram Barkai Going High And Getting Cold In Lesotho
- The Brilliance And Creativity Of Sarah Thomas
- Lewis Pugh On Preserving The Health Of Our Oceans
- Speedo Diplomacy Strikes Big-Time In The Ross Sea
- 2016 WOWSA Awards Nominees
- 2016 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year Nominees
- 2016 World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year Nominees
- 2016 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year Nominees
- 2016 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year Nominees
- Conversing Change And Conversion With Lewis Pugh
- Vastly Underestimating Capabilities, Learning How To Fish
- Going For 4 More Marine Protected Areas
- Hombre De Hielo Churning Of Conflicting Currents
- Lewis Pugh Kicking It In At The Highest Levels
- Ger Kennedy's Antarctica 2020 Swim
- In How Many Seas Have You Swum?
- Antarctica 2020
- Gray Matter: The World's Most Epic Swims
- Arctic Swimmer Lewis Pugh
- When Swim Go South - Or North
- 守破離 In The Open Water
- Patron Of The Oceans At The United Nations
- 10 Creatures To Watch For In The Open Water
- Will You Still Be Swimming In The Year 2050?
- A Dream Series Of Swim In Patagonia With Nuala Moore
- Meeting Of The Oceans, Swim With No Land East Or West
- Marathon Swimmers Federation bio
- Swimsourcing The English Channel For Ocean Health
- The Long Swim Begins July 12th
- Ben + Ross + Lewis: 4 Unprecedented Stage Swims
- Heroes And Heroines In The World's Oceans
- The Long Swim - Lewis Pugh's Along The Channel
- Hardened In The Open Water: Observing Stage Swimmers
- Lewis Pugh Honored With Services To The Planet Award
- From Land's End To Dover, Lewis Pugh Pushing Boundaries
- Open Water Swimming Dual Inductees And Dual Honorees
- These People Will Entertain, Inspire You With Their Answers
- Touch And Go Across The English Channel
- Skolnick On Swimming At The Olympic Club
- The Effects Of Speedo Diplomacy
- Otto Thaning Gives It Another Shot
- When The Pain Disappeared While Safeguarding The Ocean
- Mosaic Of Marathoners
- Out With The Fish, In With The Plastic
- A Lifetime Of Swimming, Sharing, Smiling And Strength
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