Open Water Swimmers Who Take Action

Open Water Swimmers Who Take Action

Open Water Swimmers Who Take Action

Courtesy of Lily Moy, Southern Ocean, East Antarctica.

Lily Moy is a 15-year-old high school student scientist and competitive swimmer interested in biology and specifically clean ocean initiatives, wildlife animal preservation, and global environmental protection. She looks to others for inspiration and guidance as she follows her passions.

Lewis Pugh draws attention to oceans by completing long and inherently dangerous swims. Douglas Woodring founded the Ocean Recovery Alliance. Bruckner Chase is a professional waterman who aims to change people’s perspective of the ocean.

What do they all have in common? Their drive and dedication for ocean protection and conservation.

Pugh’s journey began at the age of 17 after his first open water swim in Robben Island which gave him the pride and courage to continue challenging himself to complete bigger and more audacious aquatic adventures. Through the many things he has encountered during his swims, he has seen the extremities of human waste with his own eyes and he claims he’s seen these conditions grow worse in a matter of only a few years. He has witnessed huge chunks of ice slide off of glaciers, completely bleached coral reefs, and trash piled up so thickly on beaches that the sand is not visible anymore. What this all meant to him was this: he had to get the word out and he had to do it fast. Pugh has convinced politicians, environmentalists, scientists, and news media people to become his partners. He is the world’s most renowned activist who conducts Speedo Diplomacy as he travels all over the world to widely share his experiences, speak about his concerns for the oceans, and teaches that it is up to people to help the ocean because it will not save itself.

Doug Woodring’s mission has similarly not been easy. The goal for his Ocean Recovery Alliance is to come up with creative ways to minimize plastic waste on land and in water. From taking Art for Awareness and disseminating his message around Hong Kong to make people mindful of what they dump in storm drains, Woodring was rewarded the Prince’s Award for Innovative Philanthropy by Prince Albert of Monaco. Woodring continues to travel the world and make a serious difference. He followed through with his goal by founding the Plastic Disclosure Project and the Plasticity Forum which both focus on how to better make use of plastic in the future in order to reduce waste footprints. Part of his journey has included publicly speaking in Shanghai, Dallas, Los Angeles, Sydney, New York, and many places in between about his proposals and programs to help the plastic problem.

In the case of Bruckner Chase, like Pugh, he travels the world to pioneer ocean swims. At the same time, he serves as a passionate ocean advocate. His belief is that by completing long and physically taxing tasks, it will connect others to the aquatic world and hopefully inspire them to form their own connection with the ocean. As a writer, speaker, endurance waterman, and event organizer, he and his wife have dedicated their lives into partnering with organizations such as the National Weather Service, Ocean Today, Seafood Watch, and BLUE MIND. Together, they not only want to make a difference, but also inspire others to make their own differences.

These three icons and activists in the open water swim world would probably all agree on this: anything that just a single person could do, whether it be making a small decision like choosing between paper or plastic bags at a supermarket or reaching for a reusable bottle rather than a single-use bottle, that one small action on a large scale will make a difference for the environment because it is one less piece of plastic entering the ocean.

Everything and everyone counts.

For more information on these activists and their achievements and programs, visit,, and

Video above shows the Lewis Pugh’s Ice Sheet Swim in East Antarctica on January 23rd.

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Steven Munatones