19 mins, -1.8C

The first swim at the North Pole

  • Go through the article and number the paragraphs.

  • Look at the source of this article. What does this suggest about the target readership?

  • I love the picture at the top of the article; the curvature makes it look as if he is diving into the world. The caption tells the whole story in brief.

  • This seems to have limited relevance to the overall theme, except to show that, because of the melting ice, something is now possible that should not be possible, and would not have been a decade ago. I suppose that the point is that it’s putting a human face and achievement on a theory – he did it “to highlight the effects of global warming”. It’s an extreme publicity stunt.

  • In paragraph 1 the phrases “just one degree” and “not even the polar bears” highlight the extreme nature of Pugh’s feat. “On the verge of turning to ice” in paragraph 7 has the same effect.

  • Paragraph 2 contains a mix of facts – temperatures and statistics- and opinion – “it is believed to be the coldest water a human has ever swum in.”

  • Emotive but descriptive vocabulary follows in paragraphs 3 & 4 to chronicle his painful experience: “agonising” , “excruciating”, “perished but ecstatic”. Identify and quote the simile he uses in paragraph 4.

  • Paragraph 9 makes use of an authoritative source. Who?

  • The bulk of the article, and the inset “Record breakers” drop box, focus on Pugh and his achievement. The swimming records seem to have no relevance at all to the global warming issue. Since the purpose of this swim was to highlight the consequences of global warming, we might ask whether this is an appropriate focus. The end of the article seems to forget its beginning, though the final paragraph does acknowledge the involvement of WWF (not the Worldwide Wrestling Federation!)