Lewis Pugh – Keynote Speaker

Endurance swimmer and UN Patron of the Oceans

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Lewis Pugh Profile Picture

Specialist Subjects

  • Goal Setting
  • Motivation
  • Leadership and Teamwork
  • High Performance
  • Resilience
  • Sustainability
  • Change
  • Risk


  • English


Lewis Pugh was the first person to complete a long-distance swim in every ocean of the world.

Over a period of 30 years he has pioneered swims in the most challenging environments on earth and developed an understanding of the beauty and fragility of life and its many ecosystems.

In 2007 Lewis Pugh undertook the first long-distance swim across the North Pole to highlight the melting of the Arctic sea ice. He followed this up with a swim across a glacial lake on Mt Everest to draw attention to the melting glaciers in the Himalayas. Last year he became the first person to swim the length of the English Channel.

Lewis’s driving purpose is to protect our oceans.

Since 2015 Lewis Pugh has played a pivotal role in protecting over 2.2 million square kilometres of vulnerable ocean – an area larger than western Europe. The media has coined the term “Speedo Diplomacy” to describe his swimming in vulnerable ecosystems and then negotiating with governments to set them aside as Marine Protected Areas. His dream is to fully protect 30% of the world’s oceans by 2030.

Lewis talks about the methods he uses – a clear vision, choosing the right team, meticulous preparation, the right mind-set, never quitting, and changing when circumstances dictate. TED describe him as a “master story-teller”.

In 2010 Lewis Pugh was selected as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum. In 2013 the United Nations chose him as the first UN Patron of the Oceans. Most recently he was appointed an Adjunct Professor of International Law at the University of Cape Town.

Recent testimonials

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