(May 14, 2012) -- In mid-May, UTSA College of Business alumnus Ben Lecomte '95 will swim across the Pacific Ocean in an attempt to set the Guinness World Record for accomplishing the longest swim without a flotation device. Through the swim, Lecomte will raise awareness and money for cancer.
Lecomte is dedicating his efforts to his father, who died of cancer in 1991 at age 49. He credits his father for teaching him to swim as a young boy in France.
Embarking on an endurance challenge of this kind is not new to the Roadrunner. In September 1998, he completed a swim across the Atlantic Ocean from Cape Cod to the French shore of Quiberon. The journey spanned 3,700 miles, and when he completed it, was the first to accomplish such a feat without the aid of a flotation device or kickboard.
When asked about the relation between his battle in the ocean and those with cancer, Lecomte said, "My battle was very different from the one faced by cancer patients; it was my decision, and I could give up at any time. But, during my swim, I better understood their suffering and the feeling of not knowing the outcome."
Lecomte's Pacific swim will begin in Tokyo, Japan, and be completed in San Francisco, Calif. -- a 5,500-mile trek that should take five to six months depending on ocean conditions. His current training consists of swimming 3-5 hours per day, six days per week. During his Pacific swim, his body will require a consumption of 8,000 calories per day.
Lecomte earned a bachelor's degree in marketing from UTSA in 1995. Most recently, he earned a master's degree in architecture from the University of Texas at Arlington. Before that, he built day spas from the ground up, overseeing design, construction and building a customer base for the businesses.
Once Lecomte begins his swim, supporters can track his progress via his The Longest Swim website with the help of GPS tracking and live video cameras.
Q&A with UTSA alumnus Ben Lecomte
You’re a native of France. What brought you to UTSA?
My parents always exposed us to different cultures and taught us that it was important to follow our dreams. They were behind me when I decided to come to the states. I started out at San Antonio College and transferred over to UTSA graduating with a degree in business in 1995.
You recently visited the UTSA campus. Has it changed since your days here?
Absolutely. It has grown so much that I was lost on campus!
What were your favorite hangouts as a student here?
I did not have a lot of time while I was a student here. While I was not studying, I was swimming at the pool on campus. During school breaks, I traveled back to France to spend time with my family.
What do you remember about campus life while you were here?
Mainly living on campus. I think I lived in one of the first dorms on campus.
You have said that one of the main reasons you swim is to be a symbol of motivation for those who face struggles in their lives. Would you say this applies to college students?
Definitely. Life is a big adventure, and not only do I hope to be an inspiration for others, but I also draw inspiration by seeing the struggles others are able to overcome.
For Ashaad Mabry and Triston Wade, football is not just a passing fancy. Both players were part of the UTSA football program almost from the beginning. When UTSA opens the 2015 season Thursday at Arizona, it will be the first time the Roadrunners take the field without them. But Mabry and Wade will still be playing football; their uniforms will just be a different color.
Mabry, a defensive tackle from San Antonio's MacArthur High School, was an honorable mention All-Conference USA selection his final two seasons as a Roadrunner and second among the team's defensive linemen with 49 tackles last year. Wade, a defensive back from Tyler, was the most decorated player in school history. He was a semifinalist for the 2014 Jim Thorpe Award – for the nation's top defensive back – a three-time all-conference honoree and two-year team captain who set a school record of 293 tackles in his career. Both men had outstanding college careers that allowed them to make UTSA history.
Did you know? Mabry and Wade both agreed to terms as undrafted free agents with the New Orleans Saints and Seattle Seahawks, respectively, becoming the first UTSA players to move to the professional ranks.
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Alamodome, 100 Montana St.
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