Science

Here is Ben’s training regiment in preparation for his transatlantic swim

Training

Ben trained 3 – 5 hours a day, 6 days a week in preparation for the Cross Atlantic Swimming Challenge.

Ben’s training schedule is rigorous at best. To help him in his quest, the Exercycle Corporation of Woonsocket, R.I., designers and developers of advanced motor-driven exercise devices, is one of his sponsoring companies. Exercycle Corporation has generously donated one of their Executive Exercycles for his training. The Exercycle device is also on board the Falbala during his Cross-Atlantic swim. In an effort to avoid muscle cramping, as well as to maintain his physical pace during inclement ocean weather, he rides his Executive Exercycle.

Ben conducted three local endurance swims:

Barton Springs, September 23-24, 1997

Ben completed a 24-hour endurance swim at the Barton Springs pool in Austin, Texas. He began September 23, 1997 at 6:15 a.m. After a physically difficult and cold night he finished after covering approximately 48.5 miles. This swim allowed Ben to test his latest equipment, to experiment with different sources of nutrition, and to assess the areas of his training that need attention.

Lake Travis, April 17-18, 1998

Ben covered approximately 60 miles at Travis Lake, Texas between Max Starcke Dam and Mansfield Dam beginning April 17th and continuing through the 18th. He sought to complete a 36-hour swim at Travis Lake and continue onward through Austin Lake. Equipment problems on the support vessel and the support team’s difficult task to navigate by identifying landmarks during the moonless night caused some confusion.

Because this confusion slowed Ben, he was no longer able to tolerate the frigid water and stopped after 23 hours of swimming. Two separate teams, Don Mullican, Alice Neill, and Daniel Siragusa, and Tracey Beasley, Trinh Dang, and Matt Gilbert, followed and supported him through two stages of the swim.

The support vessel was provided by Sail & Ski Center of Austin. James Johnson and Buzz Watkins, both from Sail & Ski Center, were of great help in this event.

Lake Austin, May 15, 1998

Ben’s last swim took place in Lake Austin, he covered the 20 miles in 8 hours and 15 minutes. This swim was design to find the proper proportion of carbohydrate he had to take without experiencing any discomfort. Being in a laying position for so long reduces the speed of digestion. He found out that he had to take 20g of carbohydrate and one liter of water per hour.

Equipment

Ocean Vessel Supplies:

  • Sea anchors
  • Water purifier pumps
  • Navtex
  • Wind driven power generator
  • Motorized inflatable (Zodiac)
  • Satellite phone
  • All-weather fax
  • Raft

Support team:

  • Skipper
  • Crew

Other Equipment

  • Food supplies (for Ben and crew; four months supply)
  • Swimming equipment (fins, wetsuits,…)
  • Shark POD, “The world’s first successful electronic shark repellent”
  • Water-proof photo and video cameras

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