Ben Lecomte, a 50-year old Frenchman turned Texan, will slip into the water Sunday off the coast of Choshi, Japan, and start swimming. If all goes as planned, he won’t set foot on land for six months. In that time, he plans to swim through the largest collection of trash on the planet, great white shark migration areas, through jellyfish and storms and isolation and monotony.
In November, Lecomte hopes to paddle and kick all the way to San Francisco, becoming the first person to swim across the Pacific Ocean, an extraordinary transcontinental quest that’s equal parts adventure and science experiment.
“For me, swimming is a passion,” Lecomte explained in a recent interview. “But if it’s just swimming for pleasure, that’s limited.