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Lewis  Pugh

Lewis Pugh

Endurance Swimmer & UN Patron of the Oceans

Lewis Pugh

Endurance Swimmer & UN Patron of the Oceans


Lewis Pugh is an endurance swimmer and the UN Patron of the Oceans. He pioneers swims in the most vulnerable ecosystems on Earth to campaign for their protection.

He was the first person to swim across the North Pole, and the first to swim the full length of the English Channel. He was also the first to complete a long-distance swim in every ocean of the world.

Lewis has been instrumental in protecting over 2 million km2of vulnerable ocean – an area larger than Western Europe. His dream is to fully protect 30% of the world’s oceans by 2030.

Lewis talks about the methods he uses –a clear vision, the right mind-set, choosing a high performance team, meticulous preparation, never quitting, and having the flexibility to change when circumstances dictate. TED describe him as a “master story-teller”.

Lewis has received many awards for his work. He was selected as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum. He was chosen as one of National Geographic’s Adventurers of the Year. And he was awarded South Africa’s highest honour –the Order of Ikhamanga (Gold Class).

He read law at the Universities of Cape Town and Cambridge.

Speaker Videos

Swimming Under the Antarctic Ice for Climate Awareness | NBC News

TED: How I Swam the North Pole

Speaking Reel

TED: Lewis Pugh’s Mind-Shifting Mt. Everest Swim

Speech Topics

Achieving the Impossible

Leading Diverse Teams

Managing Change

Overcoming Obstacles