From OpenwaterpediaBen Lecomte is an ultra-marathon swimmer. He completed a cross-Atlantic Ocean swim in 1998 and will attempt a cross-Pacific Ocean swim starting in May 2012 called The Longest Swim or the Cross-Pacific Swim for Cancer 2012.
He will also speak at the 2012 Global Open Water Swimming Conference via global satellite while in the middle of the Pacific Ocean to an audience on the RMS Queen Mary on 22 September 2012 in Long Beach, California.
The Longest Swim
The Longest Swim is Lecomte's solo swim from Choshi, Japan north of Tokyo, scheduled to begin on 15 May 2012, across the Pacific Ocean, to San Francisco, California. He estimates that this stage solo swim will take approximately 5-6 months to cross over 5,419 miles (8,721 km) across the world's largest body of water. Doug Stanley, a two-time Emmy Award winner and producer of "The Deadliest Catch" is making a documentary of The Longest Swim.
The Longest Swim Documentary
The swim will be a Stage swim where he resumes his swim each morning where he stopped the day before. He will be supported by a team of five aboard a 50-foot catamaran.
The support boat will be fully equipped with computers and satellite phone to send and receive data. This technology will provide the audience direct interaction with Benoit and his crew. Audio and video information will be uploaded in real-time to his website. His website will relay his position, the weather condition, his physical health and that of his team, his mental status, and marine life.
By leaving from the eastern coast of Japan, he positions himself to catch the Kouro Shivo, the warm Pacific Ocean current that flows from the West to the East. His course is 5,419 miles from Tokyo, Japan to San Francisco, California, U.S.A.
Benoit will follow the same daily routine, swimming 8 hours in a rigid cage pulled by the support boat.
In the same spirit as the cross-Atlantic swim of 1998, Benoit dedicates The Longest Swim to raise awareness and funds for the fight against cancer in memory of his deceased father.
The Atlantic Swim
On September 25th 1998, Lecomte became the first man to swim across the Atlantic Ocean. 73 days after he left Hyannis, Massachusetts, over 3,700 miles to the East, he stepped on the French shore of Quiberon. He did this to raise money for cancer research as a tribute to his father. During his 3,716 mile journey, he was followed by a support boat that had an electromagnetic field for 25 feet to ward off sharks. He did, however, still encounter sea turtles, dolphins, and jellyfish.
Lecomte dedicated his swim to his father, Pierre who passed away from cancer, and the purpose of the event was to raise funds and awareness for the cancer research. "My battle was very different from the one faced by cancer patients, it was my decision and I could give up at anytime. But during my swim I better understood their suffering and the feeling of not knowing the outcome," said Benoit. During his journey, Benoit swam around 8 hours per day beside the Falbala, a forty-foot sailboat. When not swimming, he spent his time drifting on board with the two-crew members. To protect him from sharks and other sea creatures, he used a shark POD (Protection Ocean Device) instead of a cage. This high-tech equipment creates a magnetic field in the water to keep sharks away. During his journey, Benoit encountered some very difficult weather. At times, Ben would swim while waves reached over twelve feet high. But the most challenging aspect of the journey was staying motivated. "I found it very difficult to do the same thing over and over: looking at the same blue background, hearing the same noise, tasting the same strong salty water." Whenever he thought about giving up, Benoit would concentrate on why he began the adventure in the first place, and he would remember those happy times spent with his family in France. When he finally reached the shores of Quiberon, France his first words were: "Never again." But since then, his feelings have changed: "My passion is intact, I just focus on happy moments of my journey and I am ready to take on the Pacific," said Benoit.