On the 29thof August, FXTM Brand Ambassador and UN Patron of the Oceans Lewis Pugh made history. The endurance swimmer and oceans advocate emerged from the cold sea on Shakespeare’s Beach in Dover, and victoriously crossed the finish line of The Long Swim – a 530Km mammoth swim from Land’s End to Dover.
On a beach which is a popular starting point for swimmers attempting the crossing from England to France, Lewis finished a swim which is equivalent to 16 Channel crossings. The FXTM Brand Ambassador is now the first ever person to swim the entire length of the English Channel while adhering to Channel Swimming Association rules – wearing just a pair of goggles, Speedo briefs, and a cap. FXTM Staff Writer Natasha Keary examines the motivations behind this world-first swim.
The journey from Sennen Cover (Land’s End) to the famous white cliffs of Dover was not without severe challenges. Almost as soon as Lewis had left Land’s End’s shores he was met with his first jellyfish sting – one of the many to come as he swam through the UK’s waters. Without a wetsuit to protect him, and often swimming at night, Lewis was left to endure the multiple stings.
During the swim, Lewis witnessed some of the worst conditions of his 30-year career as an endurance swimmer. On several occasions the waters were too rough to swim in at all, meaning Lewis swam through the night or twice a day in order to make up for lost time. The strain of consistently pushing his body to its limits took its toll and just after reaching the half-way mark, Lewis was diagnosed with tendonitis in his shoulder.
However, nothing – including jellyfish stings to the face – could stop Lewis from completing his mission. The Long Swim was not just about endurance swimming, but about educating the public about the desperate state of the oceans and urging the UK government to allocate more of its waters as Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). Despite the tendonitis causing Lewis pain with every stroke, the urgent cause was one which he refused to give up on.
The oceans are in desperate need of help. Pollution has reached harmful levels, and climate change is responsible for raising the temperature of the waters to unliveable levels for many sea creatures. Plastic pollution and overfishing mean it’s now estimated that there may be more plastic than fish in the ocean by 2050. Over the course of Lewis’ career, he’s witnessed thriving marine ecosystems degrade into a desolate seabed.
Throughout the swim, Lewis delivered his message to cities across the UK, including his hometown of Plymouth. Educating the public about the dangers facing the oceans was a key motive behind the swim, and perfectly united Lewis’ cause with FXTM, the lead sponsor of The Long Swim.
The award-winning broker builds its company on similar values of education, respect, safety and appreciation, making them a natural partner for this important mission.
FXTM’s CCO Lex Webster comments, “As a company that prides itself on a sense of social responsibility and integrity, FXTM is delighted to collaborate with Lewis Pugh. His commitment to this vital cause about the plight of the oceans matches our own values as a client-centric broker, which includes supporting our traders across the globe with first-class forex education. We look forward to supporting Lewis on the next steps of his journey and extending our beach clean-up initiatives to our key regions.”
As Lewis crossed the FXTM-finish line on Shakespeare Beach, the energetic crowd which greeted him said it all. Michael Gove, the UK’s Environment Secretary was among them, and referred to Lewis as a modern-day hero. The Long Swim certainly fulfilled its mission by educating the public and bringing the message to the highest echelons of society. But it’s not over yet – Lewis will continue to travel across the world to spread his important message even further.
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