Who Is On Benoît Lecomte’s Crew For 6 Months?
Channel swimmer always have major decisions to make when deciding who is on their support crew for a 10-20 mile channel swim. They have to balance decisions such as who wants to be on their escort boat in contrast who should be on their escort boat. Who can be of assistance in an emergency and who has specific skills and experience to help them achieve their goals?
Occasionally, difficult decisions must be made. For example, are family members who have never been on a channel swim before the best choices as crew members? What about sponsor representatives? What about friends who want to play a role, but who tend to get seasick?
Now imagine selecting a support crew who must not only help you for six straight months, but you must get along with the rest of the crew in very close quarters for 180 consecutive days without seeing land.
Those are extremely important decisions.
But those decisions are comfortably and intelligently made by cross-ocean stage swimmers like Benoît Lecomte. The French native who lives in Austin, Texas has put together an experienced veteran crew of seven individuals to help him safely and successfully traverse 8,000 km across the Pacific Ocean in an estimated 180-day stage swim. Those seven individuals on The Longest Swim from Tokyo to San Francisco will undoubtedly be putting in more time and energy and facing the greatest risk over a sustained period than any other support crew in open water swimming history.
Imagine the pressure and responsibilities that these Intrepid 7 face while observing and keeping watch over Lecomte 8 hours per day for 180 straight days.
“Three of my crew are professional seamen and will be dedicated to the management of our support boat and everything related to navigation,” explains Lecomte. “The other three crew members are media representatives, film makers, and social media professionals who will work on those fields to engage followers.
But we will all work together, help each other and learn to execute each others tasks. Also everybody will participate in collecting samples for the multiple areas of research that we are conducting. I have met the crew members over the years.”
Lecomte has also received the support of Mark Ruffalo and his foundation Water Defense. “What better way for Water Defense to demonstrate how we are there for the people and the fishes?” said Ruffalo. “We will be joining Ben on his journey across the Pacific Ocean testing the water with our very own WaterBug cumulative water testing technology trailing behind on his long swim across the world. It’s an honor for Water Defense to join Ben on this extraordinary historical super human journey.”
Lecomte’s support team will also conduct data sampling on behalf of a variety of leading research centers. Scientists from the Marine Biological Laboratory, the Sea Education Association and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution are studying the microscopic marine life that lives on plastic in the ocean, and in collaboration with scientists at the University of Chicago and Argonne National Laboratory, will further study the impact the marine environment and extreme exercise has on Lecomte’s microbiome (the microscopic lifeforms that naturally colonize the human body).
“We will also sample the water for radioactive contaminants chemist Ken Buesseler from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute who has been tracking the spread of contaminants across the Pacific to North America and in Fukushima, Japan.”
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