North Pole, July 20, 2007—
For most of us, swimming a kilometer (0.62 miles) in under 19 minutes is a lofty, if not impossible, goal. But swimming in below freezing water?
When British endurance swimmer and adventurer Lewis Gordon Pugh dove into the icy waters of the North Pole on Sunday, he had two goals in mind: become the first person to swim in the North Pole, and draw attention to global warming. And that's just what he did.
Gordon swam one kilometer in 18 minutes and 50 seconds in temperatures of minus 1.8 degree Celsius (28.7 degrees Fahrenheit), —the coldest water ever swum in.
"I hope my swim will inspire world leaders to take climate change seriously. The decisions which they make over the next few years will determine the biodiversity of our world, Pugh told the world media after emerging from his icy dip.
Pugh, who swam in a water hole once covered by thick polar ice, said "I am obviously ecstatic to have succeeded, but this swim is a triumph and a tragedy: a triumph that I could swim in such ferocious conditions but a tragedy that it's possible to swim at the North Pole. "
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Photograph by Reuters/Handout