Extreme Swimmers

Lewis Pugh – The Extreme Swimmer

Last Updated on August 24, 2020 by Darshan Modi

Lewis Pugh
Lewis Pugh


Lewis Pugh is an ocean advocate and a British endurance swimmer.


Lewis William Gordon Pugh was born on 5th December 1969 in Plymouth, England.

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Early Life

Lewis Pugh was brought up in Dartmoor, Devon.
He went to Mount Kelly School in Tavistock.
Lewis Pugh loved the story of exploration from when he was a child as a result of the world maps his father put in their house; he would always imagine himself touring those places.
When Lewis Pugh was 10 years old, his family moved to South Africa and he continued schooling at St. Andrew’s College and later on went to Campus Bay High school in Cape Town.
At 17, Lewis Pugh did his first swim at Robben Island and felt a great sense of achievement. The real African Wilds experience was so amazing to him; he believed he could do far much more.
After high school, Lewis Pugh studied law and politics at the University of Cape Town and even graduated as one of the top students in his class.
Lewis Pugh went back to England when he was in his mid-twenties and studied international law at Jesus College in Cambridge and thereafter worked as a maritime lawyer in London.

About Lewis Pugh

Lewis Pugh began swimming in various vulnerable ecosystems in order to draw attention to the impact of human action to the oceans.
He visited water bodies like the Himalayas and the Arctic where he says that he came across pollution in some remote parts of the oceans, garbage piling up on the beaches, and even chunks of ice slides.
In 2003, he swam in the cold North Cape with just a Speedo swimming trunk, goggles and a cap.
In 2005, he entered into the Guinness World Record for the farthest long-distance swim by covering 1km in the Verlegenhuken Cape.
Lewis Pugh was the first person to ever complete a long distance swim in every ocean present in the world; Atlantic Ocean, Arctic Ocean, Southern Ocean, Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean.
In 2007, Lewis Pugh made himself popular by swimming across the North Pole to draw attention to the melting ice in the Arctic Sea.
In 2010, he swam across one glacial lake in Mt. Everest to highlight the melting glaciers of the Himalayas and the World Economic Forum named him a ‘Young Global Leader’ for the effort he was making and for inspiring many.
In 2013, he was appointed the United Nations Patron of the Ocean by the UN.
In 2014, while campaigning for more Marine Protected Areas, he swam all the seven seas; a 10km swim in the Red Sea, Black Sea, Mediterranean Sea, Aegean Sea, Adriatic Sea, Arabian sea and a 60km swim in the North Sea.
Lewis Pugh says that he has been privileged to be part of the positive changes that have come about.

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Genetic Or Learned

Lewis Pugh has always been interested in learning about everything that concerns the sea and when he grew up, he mixed his skills of working as a maritime lawyer with his passion for swimming to create attention about what happens in the oceans.

Guinness World Records

  • In 2005, Lewis Pugh broke the Guinness World Record for the farthest long-distance swim by covering 1km in the Verlegenhuken Cape.

Names Known By

  • Sir Edmund Hillary of Swimming

Official Website


Featured In

  • TED Talk
  • Good Morning America
  • BBC Breakfast

Books Published

  • Achieving the Impossible
  • 21 Yaks and a Speedo