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Ocean crossing

Unlucky or deluded? One man’s attempt to swim the Atlantic

One sunny morning last November, Ben Hooper, a 38-year-old former policeman, waded into the Atlantic Ocean from a beach in Dakar, Senegal, and plunged right in. In film of the moment, Hooper appears thick set, almost podgy. He’d spent the past year bulking up and now layers of fat concealed muscle beneath. He wore a sports watch, black goggles provided by a sponsor and a pair of tight blue shorts. The sun had risen early, and by 10.33am, when Hooper entered the water, the ocean temperature had reached 30C, a lukewarm bath. A group of reporters gawked from the shallows. Most of them squinted in the bright light.

Ex-police officer to swim from Senegal to Brazil in shark invisibility wetsuit

On Sunday morning, Ben Hooper will don a wetsuit specially designed to make him invisible to sharks, trot down a beach in Senegal and start to swim.

Hooper, a 38-year-old father and former police officer from Gloucestershire with a deceptively languid-looking front crawl, aims to keep swimming until he reaches Brazil in about four months’ time.

If he succeeds, he will have covered approximately 2,000 miles (3,220km) to be the first person to have swum the breadth of the Atlantic Ocean.