PRESS RELEASE: Announcing our founder Lewis Pugh’s next swim

Legendary British Endurance Swimmer Will Undertake His Longest River Swim from August 13-September 13
Expedition to Highlight the Critical Importance of Healthy River Ecosystems
Image of post in post detailed view

New York-July 19…Lewis Pugh, the UNEP Patron of the Oceans who has pioneered swims in the most challenging environments on earth, including the Antarctic, the North Pole, the Red Sea and the Himalayas, today announced that he will attempt to become the first person to swim the full length of the Hudson River unassisted from August 13-September 13, 2023 to highlight the critical importance of river health to the health of the world’s oceans and the overall global environment. The 315-mile / 507-km swim, one of the most challenging ever attempted by Mr. Pugh, will wrap up shortly before 20 September, when nations will begin ratifying the historic High Seas Treaty, which aims to protect biodiversity in international waters. “If we want healthy oceans we also need healthy rivers — it’s that simple,” Mr. Pugh, 53, said. “Clean rivers are essential in the fight for global sustainability; indeed, our very existence depends on fresh water, clean air, and a habitable planet. The good news is that rivers are accessible to most people, and we know what it takes to get them healthy. I specifically chose the Hudson for this swim because of the environmental progress that’s been made on the iconic waterway in recent years. Much work is still required, but tangible improvements have been made, setting an example for restoring rivers around the world.” (Photo and video assets from previous swims are available for media use here, courtesy of the Lewis Pugh Foundation.) Mr. Pugh will make the swim unassisted*, as all his swims are, meaning he’ll be traversing the length of the river wearing only a Speedo, cap, and goggles. The expedition will launch at Lake Tear of the Clouds high in the Adirondack Mountains, the Hudson’s source, and conclude at Battery Park in lower Manhattan. The complexity of the swim involves dramatic topological shifts, powerful river currents, and potentially toxic sewage runoffs during heavy rains. A full itinerary will follow. “The Hudson is truly majestic, but, like most rivers, it begins with a trickle in fairly rough terrain, so this swim will actually have to begin on foot to negotiate rocks and very dense vegetation,” Mr. Pugh said. “That terrain quickly evolves into white water rapids and waterfalls that demand respect, so my expedition team and I are studying every twist and turn of the river keenly. I will hike and run around any rapids which are unswimmable. The plan is to swim an average of 10-miles / 16-km per day, with some days being far more challenging than others based on river terrain and conditions.” “Refuse, sewage, chemical and plastic waste don’t just pollute rivers and harm the species that live in them; these contaminants are carried on to the sea where they do more damage,” said Inger Andersen, Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme. “Just as we must keep our own arteries unclogged for our health, we must keep the planet’s arteries unclogged for its health.” “Clean and healthy rivers are an essential yet often overlooked part of global efforts to restore ocean health,” said Carlos Manuel Rodríguez, Chairman and CEO of the GEF. “Lewis Pugh’s expedition will not be in pristine conditions – he will be swimming in a river basin that is heavily affected by human and industrial activity. This is such an important reminder of why we need to pay close attention to the health of freshwater systems, and prioritize ecosystem management in all our connected waterways as we work towards nature and climate targets.” “Lewis Pugh stands atop the Pantheon of the world’s endurance swimmers, with every stroke he takes focusing our attention on the environment,” said Steven Munatones, former head coach of the USA open water swim team. “Mr. Pugh’s range is unprecedented, from the tropical waters of the Maldives to the inhospitable North Pole, Lewis has pushed himself like no other, all to inspire government leaders and the citizens of the world to be proactive stewards of our marine environments.” “We are delighted to continue to be supporting Lewis as he sets out to tackle the scourge of water pollution and biodiversity loss in our rivers and oceans. The demanding challenge of the Hudson River Swim ahead of New York Climate Week this September elevates the importance of the related issues of fresh water, clean air and the conservation of our marine habitats, all vital for the prosperity of our planet,” said Michelle Scrimgeour, CEO of Legal and General Investment Management (LGIM). More information on The Hudson River Swim is available at:


*Footnote: An unassisted swim means the swimmer only wears a Speedo, cap and goggles (also known as ‘skins’) as compared to an assisted swim where swimmers choose to use equipment to assist them, for example: a wetsuit, snorkel, gloves, flippers, hand paddles, a craft when going down rapids, etc. ### ABOUT LEWIS PUGH Lewis Pugh was the first person to complete a long-distance swim in every ocean of the world. He pioneers swims in the most vulnerable ecosystems on Earth to campaign for their protection. In 2007 he became the first person to swim across the North Pole and in 2018 the first person to swim the entire length of the English Channel. He is also the only person to have swum the 217-mile / 350-km length of the River Thames (in 2006) and the only person to have swum down a river underneath the Antarctic Ice Sheet (in 2020). In 2013, Mr Pugh was appointed UNEP Patron of the Oceans. In 2016, he played a pivotal role in creating the largest Marine Protected Area in the world in the Ross Sea off Antarctica. The Lewis Pugh Foundation has helped protect an area of ocean larger than Western Europe. Mr. Pugh is from Plymouth, UK. He worked as a maritime lawyer in London before becoming a full-time ocean advocate. ABOUT THE LEWIS PUGH FOUNDATION The Lewis Pugh Foundation works for the preservation and conservation of our oceans for a peaceful and sustainable future. To date LPF campaigns have helped protect over 850,000-mile² / 2,2 million km² of ocean. Their aim is to help fully protect at least 30% of the world’s oceans by 2030. ABOUT UN ENVIRONMENT PROGRAMME (UNEP)
The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is the leading global authority on the environment. UNEP’s mission is to inspire, inform, and enable nations and peoples to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations. In 2013 Lewis Pugh was appointed the first UNEP Patron of the Oceans. ABOUT THE GEF The Global Environment Facility (GEF) is a family of funds dedicated to confronting biodiversity loss, climate change, pollution, and strains on land and ocean health. It was established ahead of the 1992 Rio Earth Summit and includes 185 countries in partnership with international institutions, civil society organizations, and the private sector. Since its inception, the GEF has reinforced the link between clean and available water, healthy ecosystems, and human development, and helped developing countries adhere to international environmental conventions. Over the past three decades, the GEF has provided more than US$23 billion and mobilised US$129 billion in co-financing for more than 5,000 national and regional projects. ABOUT LEGAL AND GENERAL INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT (LGIM) Legal & General Investment Management is one of Europe’s largest asset managers and a major global investor, with assets under management of US$1.4 trillion. LGIM works with a wide range of global clients, including pension schemes, sovereign wealth funds, fund distributors and retail investors. For more than 50 years, LGIM has built its business through understanding what matters most to clients and transforming this insight into valuable, accessible investment products and solutions.
  • Stevie Tellem

    48 w

    proud of you super hero living legend

    • Patrick Kiash

      48 w

      A very true proactive stewards of our marine environments, keep it up! Your voice and actions matter.

      • Tabitha Kimani

        48 w

        A super hero for planet earth conservation.

        • Annett Michuki..

          48 w

          great job

          • Ford Brodeur

            48 w

            Amazing work!

            Welcome, let's solve the climate crisis together
            Post youtube preview with preloading
            youtube overlay

            Write or agree to climate reviews to make businesses and world leaders act. It’s easy and it works.

            Write a climate review

            Voice your opinion on how businesses and organizations impact the climate.
            0 trees planted

            One tree is planted for every climate review written to an organization that is Open for Climate Dialogue™.

            Download the app

            We plant a tree for every new user.