Thomas Lurz


"We need to start and have a continuous work and endurance to archive goals - doesn’t matter what goal but we need to take care with this mindset."

World Champion and Olympic medalist committed to protecting the ocean from plastic pollution.

As an open-water swimmer, Thomas Lurz had the opportunity to see and live many great things, but also bad… He recalls how much plastic pollution and affected animals he saw during his races in the ocean, and is now committed to finding a solution that stops plastic pollution and protect marine biodiversity. Now, we interview Thomas to receive a more in depth perspective on his experience!

Can you tell us about your journey into open water swimming? What inspired you to start this sport?

First of all it was for me a sport reason due to the longer distances that fit better for me. The longer the race was the better I succeed. Secondly I liked the challenge in the nature and dealing with the elements you are facing at. The strong conditions in the open water are a good experience for your whole life. Never complain about things you cannot change and the elements of nature like currents for instance you cannot change. Third of all is the beauty of the nature you are looking at. That experience is awesome and no one els can take that from me.

You’ve had an incredibly successful career with multiple world championships and Olympic medals. What do you consider your most memorable or proudest moment in your swimming career?

That was definitely the Olympic silver medal at the London 2012 olympic games. The reason is that this competition was a huge one for our sport and brought to us a big development. After that the sport grew up a lot and we had different opportunities afterwards.

Open water swimming can be very exciting but also very physically and mentally demanding. What is it like to swim long distances in open waters? What did you find most exciting and what did you find more challenging?

The big difference is dealing with the nature and the conditions. Strong currents, waves, water temperatures, animals and of course the physical distance to the opponents. Experience is the most important thing in the sport. The most exciting thing is swimming in the ocean and feeling the strong power of nature and water. Swimming in currents and really choppy water with cold water temperatures is most challenging.

Being in the ocean, you must have encountered some pollution or seen the effects that this has caused. Is there any experience you would were specially impacted by? And did this experience change your point of view in how we are affecting the planet?

For sure it did affected me…I saw a lot of things which made me thinking about how we treat the planet. I saw a lot plastic garbage in the sea, I saw some dead animals due to dirty waters, I saw really big ships and could smell it in the water how much diesel they need and loose. I even saw a lot of garbage on the ground in rivers and lakes. To be honest it sometimes shooked me a lot. We need to take care about that it is our responsibility to take care.

What are some ways in which you contribute to the fight against plastic pollution on a daily basis?

Take more care about what you buy in the supermarket. Don’t buy things in many plastic bags and don’t use so much bags. It starts from the beginning and there we should take care.

On a bigger scale, is there any project or initiative you are currently working with?

For the moment not but we should start with a project … in the history we did some things in the sea and lakes.

Some philosophers/anthropologists agree people have lost their ability to be amazed by the wonders surrounding us. This might have contributed to a passive and careless attitude in protecting for our planet. What do you think of this?

I guess yes because the humans don’t see the results by using more plastics in the actual way. People are mostly selfish and see their benefits and are missing the consequences.

As a consumer, but also as an influential voice, how do you think institutions can use their platforms to motivate people into protecting our ocean?

I think it is a great idea because influential voices should use them in a senseful way. Taking responsibility with the influential potential is a great result a the end.

What would you say to people to motivate them to join the fight against plastic pollution?

If you want to live the next centuries like you did until now you should take care of plastic and if you have children, look them in the eyes and give them a proper future. It is great to swim in a clear nature and give them the possibility for that.

Pictures © Benjamin Krohn

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