The greatest swimmer ever
Benoit Lecomte swimming across the Atlantic ocean is the greatest triumph of endurance. He was born in 1967. At age 23, he immigrated from France to Austin, Texas. When his father died of colon cancer in 1992, it spurred him to do something extraordinary to raise awareness of and money for cancer research. With the help of Edward Coyle, director of UT Austin’s Human Performance Lab, Lecomte trained to build his endurance, swimming and cycling 3 to 5 hours a day, six days a week for two years. On 16 July 1998 he set out from Cape Cod with 8 wet suits, a snorkel and some flippers into turning weather. Navigated through the 40th and 50th latitude by two French sailors on a 12m (40 foot) sailboat and protected by an electronic force field, Lecomte swam 6 to 8 hours a day at two-hour intervals. He mainly used the crawl stroke, switching occasionally to a mono fin and using an undulating dolphin kick to carry him over the 5 600km (3 736 nautical miles) of relentless waves. 72 days later, on 28 September, he swam ashore exhausted but heroic at Quiberon, France. Swimming across an ocean made him become everybody's hero.