Swimmer begins bid to cross Pacific Ocean

3 2018 French swimmer Benoit

Ben Lecomte, a French long-distance swimmer, dropped into the water Tuesday at Choshi, Japan, and embarked on his attempt to become the first person to swim across the Pacific Ocean, BBC News reports.

Benoit "Ben" Lecomte, 51, set off from his starting point of Chōshi, Japan, aiming to reach San Francisco, 5,500 miles away.

Past of Lecomte's journey will take him through a 1,600-kilometres floating pile of garbage that is known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

'I am very anxious to start right now, ' Lecomte said as he prepared to take to the waves.

He told Reuters last week that his plan was to swim for eight hours daily, and consume more than 8,000 calories each day.

"To do the physical aspect of it, yea, it is hard, but what is much more hard is to be in that very hostile environment, and the mind has to be super strong", he said.

"When you don't have anything to occupy your mind, it goes into kind of a spiral, and that's when trouble starts", he said.

More than 27 different scientific organizations, some medical and some oceanographic, will be benefiting from the data gathered during the expedition.

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His team will collect water samples to learn more about the build-up of micro-plastics littering the area.

Lecomte will be accompanied by a specially outfitted support boat named Discoverer.

His training included hours of open water swimming, and "visualization" exercises to prepare mentally.

Mr Lecomte, who previously swam across the Atlantic in 1998, admitted he would probably hit a "wall" after four to six hours of swimming.

"It didn't happen very soon after the Atlantic (swim) because I got married, I had children, so I put that aside".

"I break it down into sections during which I relive past events with my family, or I try to picture a city that I have never visited, walk through its streets and visualise people", he said in.

"Now every time I go with my kids, we see plastic everywhere".

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