Lewis Pugh

Endurance Swimmer and UN Patron of the Oceans

Lewis Pugh is the only person to have completed a long-distance swim in every ocean of the world. Over a period of 30 years he has pioneered swims in the most challenging environments on earth including the Antarctic, the North Pole and the Himalayas and developed an understanding of the beauty and fragility of life and its many ecosystems. In 2007 he undertook the first long-distance swim across the North Pole, wearing just a Speedo swimming costume, to highlight the melting of the Arctic sea ice. He followed this up with a swim across a glacial lake on Mt Everest to draw attention to the melting glaciers in the Himalayas and the impact the reduced water supply will have on the region.

In 2013 the United Nations appointed him as the first UN Patron of the Oceans. Last year he played a pivotal role in creating the largest protected area in the world in the Ross Sea off Antarctica. The media coined the term “Speedo Diplomacy” to describe his efforts swimming in the icy waters of Antarctica and shutting between the USA and Russia to help negotiate the final agreement.

Lewis is also one of the world’s leading business speakers and the author of the bestseller “Achieving the Impossible”. He gives approximately 100 speeches a year to companies such as Barclays, Ernst & Young, BMW, Unilever and Microsoft. He speaks on leadership, teamwork, change, and how to achieve the “impossible”. TED describes him as a “master story-teller” and his speech at the 2008 Business Innovation Forum in Rhode Island was voted as one of the “7 Most Inspiring Speeches on the Web”.

In 2010 Lewis was appointed a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum. And most recently he was chosen as one of National Geographic’s Adventurers of the Year