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Friday, March 24, 2017

Thinking About The Longest Swim

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

"I was a child when [my uncle] Ben [Lecomte] walked on the shores of France in Quiberon after he first crossed the Atlantic Ocean in 1998," recalled Paul Lecomte, the Project Manager for Lecomte's The Longest Swim across the Pacific Ocean.

Later this year, Paul will head a 9-person escort crew of The Longest Swim that Ben explained in detail last night at the XPRIZE Foundation in Los Angeles, California.

"Benoît's presentation of his solo stage swim was fascinating beyond expectations," commented Steven Munatones. "The technology that Benoît is utilizing in his swim are beyond anything we have seen in the sport of open water swimming. He described how his team will be studying the plastisphere, collecting data on the radiation in the ocean from the Fukushima nuclear disaster, obtaining high-definition water data, studying the physiological effects of extreme exercise by monitoring the microbiome, gravity effects on the human body, and the effects on the heart, and researching the psychological stress of such a solo swim."

He explained how he trains physically and psychologically. Currently, he is focused on his aerobic conditioning and doing a lot of running and cycling. Surprisingly, he is not currently doing a lot of swimming, although he swims in the open bodies of water near his home in Austin, Texas.


"I want to be excited when I finally get in the water. I want to enjoy it."

But probably the most telling aspect of his swim and his abilities is his trained ability to disassociate his mind from his body.

"You do not see much in the ocean. Eight hours a day, I am staring down into a deep ocean. So on the mental side, I put my mind in a separate place. It is important to know what I will think about before I get in the water every day.

This is important because your mind will be directed to think about things that always go to the negative. For example, my back hurts or the water is cold. But for eight hours every day, I know exactly what I will think about. I plan this before each day. For example, in the first hour I will think of one subject. During the second hour, I will think about another subject. I can think about a city that I have never visited or a book that I read.

It is important to separate your mind from your body.

I practice this [meditation] a lot. The good monk is not 20 years old. The best monk is the older monk.

The trick is to engage all your senses when I am thinking during my swim. If I am thinking about visiting a city, I think about small details like what are the smells? What is the temperature? How does the warm sun feel on my skin? It is important to disassociate your mind

For more information on his Kickstart campaign, visit here. For more information about the swim itself, visit thelongestswim.com.

Lecomte is currently the Associate Director of Sustainability Services at Progea, a global environmental and sustainability consulting firm that helps organizations worldwide to assess their exposure to environmental, health and safety, social, and sustainability issues.

Copyright © 2008-2017 by World Open Water Swimming Association

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