The swimmer completed a 30-day swim across the Hudson River, covering 507 km
Lewis Pugh, a 53-year-old endurance swimmer, completed an incredible journey across the Hudson River on September 13, covering 507 km of water along the way. The month-long swim became a symbol of the river’s ecological restoration and a monument to its importance to nature and society, NBC New York reported.
Lewis Pugh started his swim at Tear of the Clouds Lake in the Adirondacks and swam across the Hudson without a wetsuit, wearing only a Speedo and goggles. The swimmer battled fatigue, sore shoulders and unpredictable natural conditions, but his determination to explore and highlight the importance of clean rivers overcame all odds.
“Swimming for 30 days is incredibly hard,” Pugh said, adding that he felt renewed after the journey.
Environmental activist in Speedo
Over the course of several weeks, Pugh dealt with fatigue and shoulder pain. He dodged tugboats and floating plastic debris. And he insists that any discomfort is worth talking about the Hudson and the importance of clean rivers.
“Seeing the Statue of Liberty and the beautiful torch on the horizon, I thought that everything we hold dear depends on us being able to drink clean water, breathe fresh air and take care of our planet so that it is suitable for life,” – he said. “Rivers are the arteries of our planet.”
On the subject: A Manhattan resident completed a 60-kilometer swim around Staten Island
The Plymouth (England) resident has completed other significant swims, including a 123 km swim across the Red Sea and a 528 km swim across the English Channel.
Christopher Swain previously swam across the Hudson in 2004. While Swain swam in a wetsuit, Pugh swam in a Speedo, usually aiming to cover 16km a day. Members of the support group followed him by boat and kayak.
Difficulties along the way
The second half of Pugh’s swim took place at the mouth of the Hudson, a tidal stretch of river that stretches from New York Harbor to the Albany area. He tried to swim with the tide, but he said the wind and choppy water made it difficult.
“Imagine that you are floating on a dirt road that has been paved, and this is the feeling you get when you swim in this stream of water hour after hour,” he said before swimming the last leg.
In the Adirondacks, some parts of the river are too shallow to swim, so Pugh ran along the bank. Other fast-flowing areas have plenty of rocks, which is commonly referred to as a “high hazard environment.” Pugh had to navigate around waterfalls, dams and locks by land, although he managed to swim through one lock. These obstacles have disappeared at the mouth of the river, which is becoming wider as the banks are built up.
Decades ago, the Hudson was notorious for being exposed to industrial chemicals, old tires and sewage. Thanks to cleanup and stricter regulations, the river gradually became a summer playground for kayaks, sailboats and even swimmers. However, the water is still not ideal. For example, after heavy rains, sewage flows into some areas of the Hudson.
However, Pugh said the Hudson River remains a shining example of how waterways can recover.
“We must never forget the history of the Hudson because we came with saws, cut down forests, built factories and dumped industrial waste into the river. This river has become a dumping ground,” Pugh said. “But in the 1970s, New Yorkers said, ‘Enough is enough.’
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