Lewis William Gordon Pugh, OIG, (born 5 December 1969) is a British-South African endurance swimmer and ocean advocate. Dubbed the “Sir Edmund Hillary of swimming”, he is the first person to complete a long-distance swim in every ocean of the world, and he frequently swims in vulnerable ecosystems to draw attention to their plight.
Pugh is known for undertaking the first swim across the North Pole in 2007 with the aim of highlighting the melting of the Arctic Sea ice. In 2010 he swam across a glacial lake on Mount Everest, to draw attention to the melting of the glaciers in the Himalayas and the impact the reduced water supply will have on peace in the region. In 2018 he swam the full length of the English Channel to call for 30% of the world’s oceans to be protected by 2030.
Pugh was named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum in 2010 and the United Nations appointed him as the first UN Patron of the Oceans in 2013.
He was the first person to swim around Cape Agulhas (the southernmost point in Africa), the Cape of Good Hope, and the Cape Peninsula (a 100 km swim from Cape Town to Muizenberg). Pugh was also the first person to swim across an African Great Lake, namely Lake Malawi.
In 2006 Pugh achieved the “Holy Grail” of swimming by becoming the first person to complete a long-distance swim in all five oceans of the world. His five swims were:
- Atlantic Ocean – across the English Channel in 1992
- Arctic Ocean – around the most northern point of the Island of Spitsbergen in 2005
- Southern Ocean – across Whaler’s Bay in Deception Island in 2005
- Indian Ocean – across Nelson Mandela Bay in 2006
- Pacific Ocean – from Manly Beach through the Sydney Heads to the Sydney Opera House in 2006
Pugh currently serves as an Adjunct Professor of International Law at the University of Cape Town.
According to Wikipedia