Coach Aaron Peirsol: Longest Distance Traveled Challenge Award

aaron_peirsalHi Race fans! After thousands of kilometers, several countries, many obstacles, numerous unexpected twists and turns, and one big ocean, we’ve arrived at the end of the Great Turtle Race. This being the last day of the Race, we’re also set to announce the results of the ‘Longest Distance Traveled’ swimming challenge.

See the challenge results below the race map!

Preparing the turtles for this challenge has been pretty easy, as they are really built perfectly for long swims. Those extra-large flippers, big swimming muscles, and ability to swim for long distances while holding their breath mean that they’re well-equipped for the long migrations they make between Canada and the Caribbean.

I’ve helped them focus on their swimming technique and concentration on the goal of getting to the Caribbean. However, no matter how hard I try, I can’t seem to get them to do the backstroke, which is my signature stroke. I guess they just really like to see where they’re going…

Anyway, just like me and the rest of the Olympic swimmers who’ve served as coaches in the Race, these turtles are such natural swimmers, and they absolutely love the water. They are wonderful to watch move through the water because they have an awe-inspiring balance between sheer power and strength and gracefulness and tranquility.

I’ve been thrilled to be a part of the Great Turtle Race, because it has also given me the chance to talk about another Race that I’m a part of, The Race for the Oceans. I’m a huge ocean lover; not only do I love to swim in it, I love to surf, I love to body board, I love just being near it. But I’m also aware that in many ways and in many places, the ocean’s health is severely under threat by things that we humans are doing. That’s why while I’m training for future swimming competitions, I’m also swimming to raise awareness and money to help turn the tide on declining ocean health.

IN DEPTH: Learn more about ocean conservation.

Like the Great Turtle Race is a way for all people to become engaged and active in marine conservation to save leatherbacks and their ocean habitats, Race for the Oceans is a cause that we can all join to make a real difference for the world’s seas and the amazing biodiversity that depend on them.

I’ve been proud to be the coach for all the turtles in this Race, because in reality, all turtles and other marine creatures are all facing similar challenges in their ocean worlds, and need our help to keep swimming.


  1. Pingback: Day 14: The race is over, but the turtles swim on | Conservation International Blog

  2. sammie says

    it’s really nice of you to care for the ocean… I love the water too though I’m not a good swimmer but I’m a water element so the water somehow has a magical effect on me… I wish I could participate on such events but I’m from Asia so it’s kind of impossible… XD

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