TOKYO—Professional distance swimmer Ben Lecomte set off from Japan to San Francisco today in an attempt to become the first person to swim across the Pacific Ocean.
Spokesman Alexandre Borreil said Lecomte left at 8 a.m. from Choshi, Japan, which is northeast of Tokyo in neighbouring Chiba prefecture.
He is expected to swim eight hours daily on a journey that could take six-eight months and will cover about 8,000 km (5,000 miles).
“For the moment we know he left and everything went well,” Borreil said.
Organizers said Lecomte completed a similar swim across the Atlantic in 1998.
He's doing this swim to raise awareness about the health of the world's oceans and the threat of pollution.
Scientific teams accompanying Lecomte will collect more than 1,000 water samples and study plastic pollution, mammal migration, and the effect of extreme endurance events on the human body.