Lewis Pugh was the first person to complete a long-distance swim in every ocean of the world.
Over a period of 30 years he has pioneered swims in the most challenging environments on earth and developed an understanding of the beauty and fragility of life and its many ecosystems.
In 2007 he undertook the first long-distance swim across the North Pole, wearing just Speedo swimming trunks, to highlight the melting of the Arctic sea ice. He followed this up with a swim across a glacial lake on Mt Everest to draw attention to the melting glaciers in the Himalayas. Most recently he became the first person the swim the 528km length of the English Channel.
Lewis’s driving purpose is to protect our oceans.
In 2016 he played a pivotal role in creating the largest marine reserve in the world in the Ross Sea off Antarctica. The media coined the term “Speedo Diplomacy” to describe his efforts swimming in the icy waters of Antarctica and shutting between the USA and Russia to help negotiate the final agreement.
Lewis is a vivid storyteller. He talks about the methods he uses to undertake swims, which were deemed “impossible” - choosing the right team, meticulous preparation, the right mind-set, never quitting, and changing when circumstances dictate. TED describe him as a “master story-teller” and his speech at the 2008 Business Innovation Forum in Rhode Island was voted as one of the “7 Most Inspiring Speeches on the Web”.
Lewis has received many awards for his work. In 2010 he was selected as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum. In 2013 he was chosen to be the first UN Patron of the Oceans. And last year he was appointed an Adjunct Professor of International Law at the University of Cape Town.