"I wanted to challenge myself. I like the ocean. I like the environment. I wanted do something that never had been done before," Lecomte said.
Lecomte left Thursday on a 3,400-mile swim to Brest, France, to raise money for cancer research. He will swim with a Shark Protective Ocean Device, which emits signals to fend off would-be predators. The trip is dedicated to Lecomte's father, who died of the disease in 1990, said his publicist, Colleen Turner.
"Right now, I can't wait to be in the water, really. I'm very anxious, but I want to start swimming. And to release the pressure," said Lecomte. "I'm trying to realize my dreams."
If Lecomte succeeds, he will set a record for distance swimming and become the first person to swim across the Atlantic without assistance from support devices, Turner said.
Lecomte has raised over $100,000 for the trip, which he hopes to complete in about three months. He will swim six to eight hours a day and sleep on a 40-foot sailboat.
With a last-minute stretch and a few fair wells, he is ready to battle the open seas in memory of his dad and for everyone else who is swimming against the deadly tide of cancer.
At the water's edge he concentrates on the physical test ahead.
"I have to think about the hour that I am swimming. Not thinking about the next day, but focusing on what I'm doing at that particular moment," Lecomte said.