North Texas man plans swim across Pacific Ocean

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by TED MADDEN

WFAA

Posted on July 11, 2012 at 12:33 AM

Ben Lecomte swims. Five hours a day, six days a week.

He doesn't do it to stay in shape. He's not training for a triathlon.

Lecomte is preparing to swim across the Pacific Ocean.

"I hope that we'll captivate people's imagination, so they can follow their dreams or follow their goals, even if they think it's too difficult, or too big, or crazy," Lecomte said.

No matter what he says, the idea to swim across the Pacific Ocean is crazy. But it's not quite as crazy, when you consider that Lecomte swam across the Atlantic 14 years ago.

When he finished, he said, "Never again." Yet here we are.

"It's like the person who likes to climb mountains," Lecomte said. "After climbing one, then you are looking for the next one, because that's what makes you happy, that's what you want to do.

"And for me, that's how I express myself," he continued. "That's what I like to do."

Lecomte grew up in France. He moved to the United States when he was in his early 20's and became a citizen.

He's credited with being the first person to swim across the Atlantic without using a kick board. On that trip in 1998, he was accompanied by a sailboat where he could eat and sleep. It took 73 days, and he dedicated the swim to his father, who died of cancer.

His swim across the Pacific will take five-to-six months, going eight hours a day, covering 5,500 miles, and dealing with the endless monotony.

"I never think about the whole swim -- that's the trick, that's what works for me," Lecomte said. "I cut it into pieces that I can wrap my brain around it. So when I go in the water -- even here, when I train four-to-six hours -- I think about an hour. When that hour is over, I think about the next hour.

"And the same when you swim in the Pacific Ocean or the Atlantic Ocean, you don't think about, 'Well I'm going to be stuck there for five months or six months,' just think about what you have to do, hour by hour."

He will swim from Tokyo to San Francisco, and he would like to begin at the end of the summer or early fall, but no date has been set yet. Until then, he'll keep training.

Five hours a day, six days a week.

E-mail tmadden@wfaa.com

Twitter: @tedmadden

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