Hello! My name is Ben Lecomte. In 1998 I became the first man to swim across the Atlantic Ocean. I'm here to talk about my next great journey as I attempt to swim across the Pacific Ocean, starting in Tokyo and ending in San Francisco in an attempt to raise awareness for our ocean's health.

My six-month Trans-Pacific journey begins next week and will cover over 5,000 miles of ocean. The entire expedition will be captured on Seeker, where viewers can track my progress and watch daily videos and live moments.

For more information on my journey see the trailer link HERE

Proof: https://twitter.com/BenLecomteSwim/status/999905735482867713


Thank you for all your great questions! That was a lot of fun. I have to head back to the boat to continue preparing with the crew. I will try to keep answering questions as they come in.

To track my journey, please tune-in to Seeker.com/theswim and its social channels to watch daily videos and live moments from the expedition, with weekly updates also airing on Discovery.

You can also follow our progress at https://www.facebook.com/BenLecomteTheSwim/


Comments: 93 • Responses: 27  • Date: 

phxhooks28 karma

That isn't scary as hell for you? I've been in the ocean at night and did not like it lol

Ben_Lecomte22 karma

I won't be swimming at night so that won't be much of a problem. There are certainly other things to worry about.

phxhooks4 karma

What are the bigger cautions?

Ben_Lecomte15 karma

It's important for me to maintain connection with the boat and not get too separated from them. Which is very difficult in some conditions where waves are pushing the boat faster than me, or the other way around. Sometimes it can be difficult for the boat keep track of a swimmer in the open water, especially during rough seas.

phxhooks8 karma

Do you wear gps on your wet suit?

Ben_Lecomte10 karma

No. The tracking GPS will be on the guiding vessel leading me that day - either a dingy, kayak or our support vessel, depending on what the conditions are looking like.

harrarm20 karma

Hello Ben I am a father of 2 daughters ...... They want to know what you will be eating?

Ben_Lecomte26 karma

Your daughters will be disappointed to know I have a strict no sugar diet. Most of my calories will come from a high fat diet and include a lot of freeze-dry full meals, rice, pasta and various soups, with olive oil added to increase the fat content.

MediocreLifeguard10 karma

Logistical question - I always wonder how these sorts of things are financed. Are you being sponsored for the swim?

Ben_Lecomte12 karma

It's a combination of support from Seeker and other various sponsors, equipment suppliers, donors, and investors.

phxhooks9 karma

How many calories do you have to take in while on your swim? I would think it would be a crazy amount

Ben_Lecomte25 karma

I will try to consumer around 8,000 calories per day. Unfortunately I will not be able to take in much food or drink while I am swimming, leaving me with only evenings and early mornings to try and eat as much as I can before jumping in the water again.

MindlessDivide8 karma

What is the thing you are most worried about going wrong on the way that would stop you from continuing the swim?

Ben_Lecomte28 karma

To me I'm less worried about something happening in the water than something bad happening on the boat. Things like a bad fall on the deck, damage to the boat that we can't repair, a crew member getting severely injured or ill.

Safety is a major concern for our team and we've done everything we can to prepare for every type of scenario, for this reason we have two medics on board and more than a few crew members that can provide repairs to the boat.

MindlessDivide1 karma

Tht's good to know. Will you have any external assistance if you need it or is that against the spirit of the journey?

Ben_Lecomte13 karma

We are preparing with the goal in mind to be completely autonomous for 6-8 months at sea. At the same time, we're not against the idea of coming into contact with another boat. There could be instances where we have to rendezvous to pick up more supplies, swap out a crew member, or replace a broken part.

HuffRyte28 karma

You claim to be the first man to swim across the Atlantic. Didn't Guy Delage do that before you? https://www.nytimes.com/1995/02/12/world/for-french-long-swim-is-not-enough.html

Ben_Lecomte22 karma

Not to discredit Guy's attempt, but his swim was aided by the use of a kick board. He also used a 15-foot raft, in prevailing winds and currents that kept him moving west even when he was asleep. For me it's not a matter of who did it first, we both had different methods.

HuffRyte26 karma

OK, but you also traveled with the currents while you were resting on the boat, during your Atlantic swim, correct?

Ben_Lecomte9 karma

It was a stop we had to at the time to repair our water-maker and change a crew member.

4cys6 karma

How does it work between swim stages? Do you start each new swim at the same location as you finished the previous swim? Or is it allowed to float along with the currents while on board the boat?

Ben_Lecomte15 karma

In order to be accredited for the Guinness World Record I will need to swim the entire distance which means resuming the swim at the same exact location I stopped the previous day. This done using GPS location technology.

4cys3 karma

Very cool! Will your GPS data and swim stage start/finish times be available publicly during the swim, for independent analysis?

Ben_Lecomte5 karma

The entire journey will be tracked on Seeker.com and via their social channels. There you will find a real-time updates, monitoring my progress as well daily video footage and occasional live streaming video taken from the boat.

DrWollyNips5 karma

Hey, Ben!

I’ve been a competitive swimmer for pretty much all my life, but I still find swimming in the open ocean absolutely terrifying. Did you have any kind of fear to overcome when you first began open water swimming? Does your team help at all to make sure there’s not much wildlife for you to encounter along the way?

Ben_Lecomte17 karma

Great question! For me it's all about perspective. When I swim in the open water I always visualize myself swimming in a pool that moves along with me. I never really had any sort of fear swimming in the open water because I learned to swim in the ocean with my father at a very early age, so it's something I've grown to become very comfortable doing.

As for wildlife, one of the tasks of the crew is to monitor my surroundings and alert me of any potential danger. That said, I hope to encounter a lot of wildlife in the ocean, sharks included. It would be disheartening if we don't encounter many sharks or other animals.

GoblinWin4 karma

What do you do to mentally prepare for something like this?

Ben_Lecomte16 karma

Leading into the swim I've been working on a lot visualization, meditation and dissociation exercises. Also, trying not to look ahead to the finish but instead focusing on a lot of happy moments in my past, reliving of special moments, being with my kids, spending time with my father and trying to make the moment as real as possible.

petyrbaelishs3 karma

How long have you been swimming professionally, and how did you make the leap from amateur to professional?

Ben_Lecomte9 karma

I like to consider my self an adventurer first and a swimmer second. The leap was born out of a love for the water. That said, swimming doesn't pay all the bills and I still have to work to subsidize my passion.

petyrbaelishs1 karma

Your passion is so admirable! I'm also curious, with such a long journey are you and the team concerned about how much plastic packaging/supplies you'll need to bring on board?

Ben_Lecomte3 karma

That's an excellent questions. It is something we have been very mindful of in preparing for this journey. One of the big logistical problems that we've had to solve is food and managing waste as well as preparing/storing enough for nine crew members over the course of 6-8 months. We try and minimize the amount of packaging and plastic waste we use by doing things like avoiding plastic containers when possible, buying in bulk, removing labels and plastic wrap from food items. We even take into consideration the cleaning products we use, making they are safe for the environment.

Menzowski3 karma

How long will you be swimming each day? In hours and kilometers or miles?

Ben_Lecomte8 karma

I will be swimming about 8 hours per day. The distance I will cover depends on the speed of the current. This could range anywhere from 20 - 40 miles.

Slanderbags2 karma

Hey Ben

I know Tyral is a real slow walker is this the reason you took over the swimming duties because it would take him so long to complete ?

Ben_Lecomte3 karma

no boat could ever hold enough provisions for Ty to swim an ocean

RubberYam1 karma

I saw a comment here that you have another job to supplement this interest, I am curious as to what that is? Thanks for the AMA, I have school swim 3 times a week(I am not on a team).

Ben_Lecomte10 karma

I work as an architect for an architecture and design firm based out of Austin. This actually proves helpful during my long swims as it gives me a lot of material to think about while I am in the water. Often times I like to restructure or redesign buildings in my head or try and come up with entirely new designs.

MindlessDivide1 karma

When is your departure date and will it be televised?

Ben_Lecomte3 karma

We are scheduled to depart Wednesday, May 30th from Japan. The entire journey will be chronicled on Seeker.com and their social channels. Weekly updates will also be televised on Discovery Channel.

NocturnalDispatcher1 karma

How long of a shower and nap are you going to take afterwards?

Ben_Lecomte3 karma

Quick shower as soon as I get on the boat followed by a 1-2 hour nap.

Kurkpitten1 karma

Aren't you afraid of sharks ?

Ben_Lecomte15 karma

I respect them when I am in the water with them of course my heart races but they are a very important part of our ecosystem and we need to respect them. 100 million sharks die due to human activity so they're likely more scared of us.

antj11 karma

What's your training routine building up to this? How often? What distances? Workouts etc

Ben_Lecomte6 karma

It was all about maintaining physical shape and performance leading into this point. Workouts included some form of running, biking and of course swimming, six days a week at various distances. I would usually try target 3-5 hours of activity with each workout.

antj11 karma

Were you training once or twice a day? How much do you sleep? I'm guessing all that training requires a lot of rest. What's your diet consist of?

I'm about to go for my first run in 6 months..

Ben_Lecomte3 karma

It varied depending on my schedule. Sometimes I would be able to sneak a second workout in. As for sleep, you're correct in your assumption. The more I trained the more I needed time to recover.

I maintained a strict no sugar diet, with a focus on high fat content as a source of energy.

MindlessDivide1 karma

How much will the videos focus on life on board the ship and how candid or honest will the final edit be e.g. will it include any emotional arguments and breakdowns etc., or will it be given a more professional finish? How do you strike a balance between a documentary and reality tv?

Ben_Lecomte2 karma

The focus of the project is entirely unscripted. Daily videos will cover everything from life on board the ship, scientific data and samples collected from the ocean, crew dynamics, my ongoing health status, and more.

swim4tye1 karma

I've heard this is a Guinness World Record attempt. Will you have independent in-person observers on board to document and verify the record?

Ben_Lecomte3 karma

That's correct. We are following official protocol as provided to us by the Guinness World Record team. We have a person on our crew assigned to logging all GPS location records where I start and stop each day. We also have a real-time tracker that records my progress and is distributed and monitored by a Guinness observer on land.

swim4tye1 karma

So do I understand correctly that you will not have an independent observer witnessing your swim directly?

Ben_Lecomte4 karma

The independent observer is on land and will monitor and receive our data that is uploaded in real-time via Iridium Yellow Brick Tracker.