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Transatlantic Voyages

Transatlantic Voyages

Although ships have been able to cross the Atlantic Ocean for centuries, it was only recently that a human being was able to swim completely across the North Atlantic without support devices. In 1998 Benoit "Ben" Lecomte swam across the Atlantic ocean in order to raise money for the Association for International Cancer Research. He began his swim in Hyannis, Massachusetts, and swam across the North Atlantic ending in Port Maria, Quiberon, France. The journey took 74 days and covered 3736 miles.

In order to prepare for this event, Lecomte trained 3 to 5 hours a day for 6 days a week. With the help of his doctor, he ate a specially selected high-calorie diet and exercised with the conditions of the Atlantic in mind. Before he swam the Atlantic, Lecomte swam for 24 hours continuously in a pool in order to test his equipment. Another practice swim at Travis Lake, Texas, allowed him to test different kinds of nutrition and their effects on him in a controlled environment. Later, Lecomte swam in Lake Austin in order to test the amount of carbohydrates he could digest while swimming.

In the Atlantic, Lecomte found that swimming in three-hour blocks twice a day allowed him to keep his body temperature high. He swam in a special cage that protected him from sharks. At night Lecomte slept on a 40-foot sailboat. A crew of two people prepared massive meals of 7000 to 8000 Calories. Although Lecomte acknowledged the importance of his swim, when asked if he would do it again, he emphatically replied, "No."