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Friday, November 13, 2015

Is There A Doctor On Board?

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

When Benoît Lecomte walks into the Pacific Ocean to begin his 5,500-mile (8,851 km) transoceanic swim, he is going to have a medical, scientific and research team like no other in the history of the sport of open water swimming.

It will be an unprecedented team of scientific luminaries.

Similar to Lynne Cox (across the Bering Strait), Martin Strel (down the Amazon River), Diana Nyad (across the Straits of Florida), and Lewis Pugh (in the North Pole and up on Mount Everest) who had physicians and scientists help them prepare and accomplish their swims, Lecomte has pulled together a team that will have a unique opportunity to study the Pacific Ocean and human endurance.

As Dr. Benjamin Levine, Director of the Institute for Exercise and Environmental Medicine at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School, describes, "We are very interested in really studying the outer edges of human performance. Ben's swim across the Pacific [Ocean] certainly counts as that."

Lecomte's team includes Dr. Linda Amaral-Zettler (Associate Professor in the Department of Earth, Environmental and Planetary Sciences at Brown University), Dr. Ken Buesseler (Senior Scientist of Marine Chemistry & Geochemistry at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution), Dr. Michael DeGrandpre (Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of Montana), Dr. Kara Lavender Law (Research Professor of Oceanography at SEA Semester Environmental Studies in Woods Hole & at Sea), Dr. Tracy Mincer (Associate Scientist of Marine Chemisty and Geochemistry at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution), Dr. Gerald Chris Shank (Senior Lecturer in the Department of Marine Science at the University of Texas at Austin's Marine Science Institute), Dr. Tracy Villareal (Professor in the Department of Marine Science at the University of Texas at Austin Marine Science Institute), Dr. Erik Zettler (Associate Dean for Institutional Relations, Professor of Oceanography at the SEA Semester Environmental Studies at Woods Hole & at Sea), Dr. Molly S. Bray (Professor of Department of Nutritional Sciences at the University of Texas at Austin School of Human Ecology), Dr. Edward Coyle (Professor of Exercise Science at the University of Texas at Austin), Dr. Adrian Leblanc (Director of the Division of Space Life Sciences at the Universities Space Research Association), Dr. Benjamin Levine (Distinguished Professorship in Exercise Sciences at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center), and Dr. Scott Parazynski (astronaut, Mount Everest climber, physician). Each will have a specific role in the transoceanic swim where Lecomte will swim 8 hours per day for approximately 6 months.

Day after day, Lecomte will swim with a wetsuit, fins, a snorkel and his RadBand from Woods Hole on his ankle. Then he will rest, eat and sleep while his escort boat returns him back every morning to the exact GPS location where he stopped swimming the day before.

For more information, visit The Longest Swim.

Copyright © 2015 by World Open Water Swimming Association

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