About The Swim
An intrepid group of swimmers from across the globe is attempting to conquer one of the world’s most daunting bodies of water – the Bering Strait. The Bering Strait Swim between Russia and America takes place in July 2013.
If successful it will be the first complete swim across the strait from Russia to the USA. History will be made.
This epic challenge, at first glance, may seem dangerous, impossible and even, well, crazy. After all, the maximum average water temperature between Cape Dezhnev, Russia, and Cape Prince of Wales, Alaska, is only just above freezing 41F (5C). The waves are very powerful and the current is treacherously strong.
So why would anyone dare? Simple: to show that anything is possible. This international team of swimmers is on its mark to prove that even though the water separating Russia and America is icy cold, the connection between these two neighbors remains friendly and warm. To show that if people from different cultures join together, they can achieve a dream that transcends all boundaries.
This is a feat no one swimmer could accomplish alone. The Bering Strait Swim is a team effort. Forty experienced cold-water swimmers from 14 countries will take this amazing challenge that bridges continents and cultures.
The Bering Strait is 53 miles (86 km) wide, but factoring in the current, the total swim distance will be approximately 68 miles (110 km). In this frigid water, hypothermia could set in after only half an hour. So the swimmers will swim in 20-minute legs with a 10-hour rest in between. Each swimmer will complete three to four legs and the whole swim is estimated to take 40-50 hours to complete, meaning each athlete will swim 3-4 times.
The swimmers then head to Cape Dezhnev, where one swimmer will wait for optimal conditions before taking the first icy plunge to begin this extraordinary journey. The other swimmers will wait their turn on board a support ship, with a team that includes officials, a support crew, medical personnel, researchers, film and photography crew, coaches and volunteers. After the swimmers reach Cape Prince of Wales, Alaska it will be time to celebrate in Nome and Anchorage, Alaska, before they head back to their home countries.
Celebrating Peace and International Cooperation
2013 marks the 25-year anniversary of an open border between Russia and the USA after the Cold War. To commemorate the ties between these two countries, the swim will be dedicated to the 25th anniversary of the “Friendship Flight” from Nome, Alaska to Provideniya, Chukotka. Leading the celebrations is Alaska Lieutenant Governor Mead Treadwell, who helped plan the flight in 1988.
A monument will be erected on Big Diomede, Russia – roughly the halfway point of the swim – where a time capsule will be buried at its base with the names of participants of the Bering Strait Relay Swim, international observers and teams of escort vessels .
Crossing the international dateline is not just symbolic. The Bering Strait Swim aims to:
- strengthen connections between Russia and the United States and
- foster friendship and cooperation between the international participants.
Follow the Adventure!
The Bering Strait Swimmers are gearing up for the swim of their lives. Training focuses on acclimatization and generating body heat in order to fight hypothermia. The team is comprised of established cold-water swimmers who have been training for years in harsh elements to be able to withstand such extreme conditions. They are medically fit and many compete internationally at events such as the World Winter Swimming Championships.
This is a daring adventure combining athletes, researchers, and training across the globe. The Bering Strait Relay Swim that will take place this summer has been three years in the planning. Without careful logistical, financial, political and athletic cooperation and preparation this event would not be possible. It is ambitious and has never completed before, but these highly experienced athletes are up for the challenge.
The English Channel, the Strait of Magellan, the Strait of Gibraltar. You name it – every major channel and strait of open water in the world has already been mastered…except for one – the Bering Strait.
We invite you to follow this amazing challenge!