Pugh tells of epic Arctic swim

13 November 2007 | Story by Helen Théron

With Puff Daddy in his ears to rev him up, Lewis Pugh prepared to plunge into -1.7 deg C water at the Geographic North Pole to become the first person to survive a 1km-swim, with Russian polar bear guards keeping watch.

The UCT alumnus recently delivered a motivational talk at the Sports Science Institute on his epic 13 July swim. Professor Tim Noakes, whose team at the UCT/MRC Research Unit for Exercise Science and Sports Medicine provided valuable medical support, described Pugh as an "incredibly unusual person".

"He has this huge vision."

Pugh attributed this to "an incredible father who told me stories of great explorers. I knew my destiny would lie in the Polar regions".

"Through my swims I have a unique perspective on climate change. It's as a result of these experiences that I am determined to do my bit to raise awareness about the fragility of our environment.'

In the picture above, at the motivational talk Arctic swimmer Lewis Pugh (right) handed the Lifesaving Society's Mountbatten Medal to Achmat Hassiem who last year lost his foot to a Great White shark during a lifesaving training exercise near Muizenberg.

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