Sunday, February 25, 2007

Wind Pushes Endurance Swimmer Off Course

Endurance swimmer Lewis Gordon Pugh experienced disappointment this week as his attempt to swim the entire width (roughly 160km) of the Maldives was hindered by Mother Nature.

Pugh, 36, who is trying to raise awareness of the Maldives’ vulnerability to climate change, was blown off course by an unexpected storm half-way through his swim, which commenced on February 17.

Pugh’s planned feat, known as the “Investec Maldives Challenge”, has not been previously attempted.

Speaking of his recent setback Pugh said: “I am trying to swim westwards and I ended up being blown about 20km off course. I was pushed southwards. It may not be possible to counter this wind - as stronger winds are expected.”

“I will crack on,” Pugh continued, “but I may end up heading even further south and even further from my destination... it's impossible to tell.”

According to the rules of the Maldives Challenge, Pugh must begin his swim at the same point where he finished from the pervious day. Therefore, the distance he is pushed off course one day, is an extra amount he must swim the next.

Despite what happens, Pugh said his main goal is to raise awareness of the devastating effects that rising sea levels will have on low-lying countries like the Maldives.

“By swimming in areas threatened by rising global temperatures, I want to highlight the impact of years of government inaction on climate change,” said Pugh.

He continued: “Governments should not pass the responsibility for climate change to the unquantifiable acts of individuals, but should instead be taking tough measures and introducing dynamic legislation that will force polluters to start making genuine reductions in their carbon emissions.” [Read More]

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