First Unassisted Hudson River Swim to Highlight River, Ocean Health

Lewis Pugh, the UN Environment Programme 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, will attempt to become the first person to swim the full length of the Hudson River unassisted from August 13 to 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-mi./507-km swim, one of the most challenging ever attempted by Pugh, is scheduled to wrap up shortly before September 20, 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,” Pugh, 53, said.

Pugh will make the swim unassisted, as all his swims are, meaning he’ll traverse 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.

Learn more at: and

Leave a Reply