JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, December 26. LEWIS Pugh, long an accomplished distance swimmer from Great Britain, recently established a pair of records while navigating through the chilling waters of Antarctica. Clad in only swim trunks, goggles and a cap, Pugh first completed a 1-kilometer swim off Petermann Island on December 14.
Completing the outing in 18:10, Pugh set a record for the southernmost swim in history. Two days later, Pugh was back at it again, as he took 30:30 to complete a 1.65-kilometer swim near Deception Island. Pugh became the first individual to swim for that period of time in water measuring only two or three degrees on the Celsius thermometer.
"As soon as I dived in, I had a screaming pain all over my body," Pugh said in a statement. "After three minutes, I'd lost all feeling in my hands and feet. And after six minutes, I lost all feeling throughout my arms and legs. I am not sure how I kept on going for so long. I had to concentrate all the time and swim as fast as I could to keep the cold out."
Having completed a swim across the English Channel in 1992, Pugh was also the first person to swim around Cape Agulhas, the most southern point in Africa. He was able to withstand the frigid temperatures of Antarctica due to holding a body temperature of 38.4 Celsius when his swims started.