Swim Atlantic

Ben swam the Atlantic Ocean in 74 days, from Cape Cod to the shores of France.


Expedition Logbook


Ben prepared for this event with several endurance exercises in Austin, Texas. He swam prolifically at Barton Springs pool and at Lake Travis.

Support Team

Dr. Edward Coyle, Director of the
Human Performance Laboratory at the University of Texas, Jennifer MacAulay and Susie Jastrow, R.D., L.D.


Falbala is the support vessel that accompanied Ben on his transatlantic swim. He also used a Shark POD, the world’s first electronic shark repellant.

Ben prepared for this event with several endurance exercises in Austin, Texas. He swam prolifically at Barton Springs pool and at Lake Travis.

Read more about Ben’s training regiment, including three endurance swims.

Read about Ben’s massive caloric intake during training.

Ben sits at the south shore of Barton Springs a popular swimming hole in Austin, Texas.

Expedition Overview

On July 16, 1998 at 3:30pm EST Ben Lecomte set out on an 80 day swim from Hyannis, Massachusetts across the Atlantic Ocean to raise funds for cancer research. He arrived in Quiberon, France approximately 80 days and 3,736 nautical miles later.

The Cross-Atlantic Swimming Challenge was an international venture never before attempted. The challenge had two purposes: to set new records in long distance swimming and to raise funds for cancer research following the death of Ben’s father, Pierre Lecomte.

This challenge also sets a new standard in the sport of long distance swimming.

Donations of funds and equipment from individuals and corporations helped Ben realize his goals. This challenge provided a powerful international communication vehicle to sponsors in exchange for their financial and/or material contributions.

Ben’s Motivation

“When I first had the idea of such a project, one of my purposes was to raise funds for the protection of the ocean (see newspaper article). But, with time I realized that the death of my father had left a growing space in my life. After a short battle against cancer my father passed away at the young age of 49. So, I decided to help raise funds for cancer research by using this project as the best vehicle within my means to create awareness to raise funds for the battle against cancer.”

“My deep thirst for adventure joins my intense feeling of mission in this project. These traits drive my strong desire to achieve my dream of swimming across the Atlantic Ocean.”

“I have been training for the past six years to prepare for this challenge. I currently swim six days per week. Currently, my average speed during a regular 3-hour endurance swim is 2.5 knots (2.8 miles/hr).”

Facing new challenges is the core of this unique event which has given life through the ambition and determination of Ben Lecomte.

How He Did It

Ben left Hyannis, Massachusetts on July 16, 1998 swimming between the 40th and 50th latitudes at an average speed of over two knots reaching Brest, France about three months later. This route was carefully chosen to take advantage of the strong eastward currents (Gulf Stream and North Atlantic currents) and the most favorable climatic conditions (from May to September).

Ben’s detour to the Azores added about 350 miles to his trip. The total distance has been extended from 3,395 to 3,736 statute miles.

Ben displays the moonfin he used to swim the Atlantic Ocean.

Ben swims at least six hours per day with a Shark POD, a protective ocean device, resembling a large plastic bubble, that emits an electronic field to ward off intruders. The ocean vessel is sailed by a supporting team composed of a skipper and one crew member.

When not swimming Ben spends his time on the boat drifting with the currents and winds. These conditions are essential to ensure that his progress is due only from his own effort. The support team monitors these conditions.


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  • Delivery