Anyone who’s ever goofed around with GoogleMaps to see how long it would take to swim across the Pacific Ocean need wonder no longer: Ben Lecomte is about to take on the 5,500 mile challenge, which is the world’s longest open water swim – without a kickboard. Beginning in Tokyo and ending in San Francisco, Lecomte hopes to inspire people to work together to combat climate change for the benefit of future generations.

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Lecomte is no stranger to vast, open water swims, as he was the first to traverse the Atlantic Ocean in 1998 without a kick board – a trip which took 73 days. He hopes the notoriety gained from this accomplishment will bring more attention to his current cause, explaining “Rather than just an event, my swim is a platform to get people’s attention about growing environmental and sustainability issues, mobilize fans with emotion, and inspire them to become full-blown advocates.”

The Longest Swim is partnered by Water Defense, the Mark Buffalo-founded organization who will attach a WaterBug sensor to Lecomte on his journey to collect water quality data. Not only will information be gathered about the surrounding sea, but also about Lecomte, himself. Using “remote guidance echo” technology – used in monitoring cardiovascular changes in astronauts – real-time echocardiogram information will be transmitted via satellite to record the effects of the journey’s demands on the swimmer’s body.

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Currently, the project has raised $8,000 of its $50,000 IndieGoGo campaign goals to help fund all of the voyage’s technical needs. The campaign explains that the first step is to get Lecomte’s boat, the Rolano, which will follow alongside him on his trek, to Japan in preparation for the swim. Stay tuned to see when Ben sets sail on this landmark journey.

+The Longest Swim

Images via The Longest Swim