(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.
The annual Center for Innovation, Technology and Entrepreneurship (CITE) 100K Venture Competition and Exposition will be held on the Main Campus on Dec. 1. Twenty-eight teams from across the university will exhibit their project; six teams will compete for a prize pool of more than $100,000 in funding to launch their new venture / company. More than 650 students have participated in launching new technology ventures.
Biotechnology, Sciences and Engineering (BSE 2.102), Main Campus
This concert features 50 community children performing music in the UTSA Downtown String Project Winter Concert. The children, led by UTSA music students studying to be music teachers, will join together in playing the Theme from Batman at their concert. The Batman of San Antonio, a local celebrity figure, will make an appearance at the concert. This event is free.
Buena Vista Theatre, Downtown Campus
Graduate student uses storytelling to highlight important issues facing children
As touch screens and e-books demand more and more attention from both casual readers and scholars, many people say the handwriting is on the wall for the printed page.
At UTSA, the handwriting is on the wall for a library that doesn't have any printed books.
Since March 2010, the bookless library in the Applied Engineering and Technology Building has given UTSA students an innovative way to read, research and work with each other to solve problems.
With ultra-modern furniture and a décor featuring desktop computers, scanners and LCD screens, the AET Library is designed to engage students in an online format. But it also offers group study niches and study rooms with whiteboards and glass walls on which students can write. The space encourages teamwork, communications and problem solving for the next generation of scientists and professional engineers.
Did you know? The UTSA AET Library is the nation's first completely bookless library on a college or university campus. It served as a model for Bexar County's first-in-the-nation public bookless library system and one of its branches, the Dr. Ricardo Romo BiblioTech.
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