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Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Lewis Pugh Enters Marathon Swimming Hall Of Fame

Lewis Pugh was one the inductees in the 2013 International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame ceremonies held at the 2013 Global Open Water Swimming Conference in Cork, Ireland.

While he is primarily known for his cold-water swims in Antarctica, across the North Pole, and up 5,200 meters on Mount Everest, Pugh also has a knack for accomplishing the extreme of the unique kind.

He expressed his gratitude to the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame in his absence due to a surgery that kept him grounded in Cape Town, South Africa. "I would like to thank the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame for this great honour.

When I started swimming 27 years ago, I don't think anybody thought it would be possible to undertake long distance swims in the most challenging environments on this earth - the Arctic, the Antarctic and the Himalayas. Swimming has taken me to some of the most incredible places. Ironically however, they are also the most endangered. Threatened by many things including climate change, overfishing and pollution.

I want to thank everyone - literally hundreds - who have helped me campaign for the protection of our oceans. To Dr Otto Thaning for showing me how a human can glide majestically through the water, to Jørn Henriksen and Dr. Damon Stanwell-Smith for keeping the leopard seals away long enough, to Professor Noakes for challenging assumptions and always believing it was possible to swim in the coldest water on earth, to Johann van Blerck for keeping us calm when the Great White Shark was under us, to David Becker for being a wonderful and generous friend – and for always for being there for me, to Jonas Ellehauge and the Russians for keeping an eye out for hungry polar bears, to Binod Rai and Mahendra Limbu for getting that darn boat up Mount Everest, to General Tim Sewell for keeping me in the Thames and out of prison in the summer of 2006, to Daantjie Truter for guiding me around the Cape of Good Hope, to Nic Marshall for taking so many jellyfish stings in the North Sea, to Nick Peterson, companion at North Cape, Sognefjord and Sydney, to Dave Duarte for opening my eyes on the power of social media, to Brian Button one heck of a swimming coach, and most of all to my wife Antoinette – for always supporting me.

Thank you also to the journalists and film makers who have told our story. We dream of oceans which are bountiful and sustainable. Oceans which are full of dolphins, coral and turtles. And we have learnt from endurance swimming that most battles are only won in the 11th hour. That gives us hope. That's why we will keep pushing. And that's why we will not stop.

Now let's see what we can do in the next 27 years

Upper photo courtesy of Jac Kritzinger,

Copyright © 2013 by World Open Water Swimming Association

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