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Lewis Gordon Pugh Completes First Swim On Mount Everest

Only Swims in Speedos, a Cap, and Goggles

By Leap Communications

Lewis Gordon Pugh

Lewis Gordon Pugh swims on Mt. Everest - a 1km swim in icy cold 2 degree waters across a glacial lake adjacent to the Khumbu Glacier.

Michael Walker
Lewis Gordon Pugh completed a 1km swim in icy cold 2 degree waters across a glacial lake adjacent to the Khumbu Glacier in a time of 22 minutes and 51 seconds on Sunday, 23 May 2010. The Pumori Lake is situated at an altitude of 5,300 metres. He undertook the record-breaking swim to draw attention to the melting of the glaciers in the Himalayas and the impact of declining water supplies in the region.

He swam in just a pair of Speedo briefs, cap and goggles after three days of test swims and continuing battles with altitude sickness. Pugh said: "It's one of the hardest swims I've ever undertaken. When I swam in Antarctica and across the North Pole I swam with speed and aggression but on Mount Everest you can't use the same tactics. Because of the altitude you need to swim very slowly and deliberately. Swimming 20 metres at full speed in the test swim, I felt I was going to drown. I was gasping for air and if I had swum any faster I would have gone under. I was deeply concerned that I wouldn't make 1km and I'm delighted that I've finally achieved it.

"I learned that I had to respect this unique terrain and swim as slowly as possible - I had to swim breast stroke so that I could breathe more efficiently. I had to find a delicate balance between going too fast (in which case I might drown due to hyperventilation) and going too slowly (in which case I might die of hypothermia).

"I would urge leaders both in Britain and worldwide to put climate change at the very top of their agendas. I have seen glaciers in the Arctic, the Alps, Central Africa, Antarctica and the Himalayas - and it's the same story everywhere. Most glaciers are melting away. The glaciers in the Himalayas are not just ice. They are a lifeline - they provide water to approximately two billion people."

Pugh, who has a home in Cape Town, had spent the past eight months preparing for the swim.

SOURCE: Leap Communications
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