Open water swimming

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Participant in a triathlon while swimming in a lake

Open water swimming and long distance swimming mostly refer to swimming a longer distance in open water; both terms are used synonymously for this. For competitions in swimming pools, distances from 200 m ( chest, back and dolphin position ) or 400 m ( freestyle ) are referred to as long distances .


From the earliest times people have swum through open waters, both out of necessity and for pleasure. Swimming through the English Channel , which required at least 32 kilometers and was first achieved in August 1875 by the then 27-year-old English captain Matthew Webb , set a new direction in open water swimming towards sport.

Since Webb had calculated the sea ​​state and current incorrectly, he covered well over 70 kilometers and needed more than 21 hours to do so. On August 6, 1926, Gertrude Ederle was the first woman to swim the English Channel between Cap Gris-Nez and Dover . She needed 14 hours and 32 minutes for this and was over two hours earlier than the previous male world champion. The German-Danish counterpart, the crossing of the Fehmarnbelt (approx. 25 km) in the Baltic Sea, is also part of long-distance swimming. Karl-Heinz Rauert from Fehmarn made the first successful crossing of the Belt in July 1939.

Open water swimming as a competitive sport

German Open Water Swimming Championships in Lindau (Bodensee) 2009

Since 1995, the elected German Swimming Federation instead of the term long-distance swimming as a German counterpart to designate Open Water Swimming World Swimming Federation FINA the term open water swimming . A separate set of rules (specialist part) was introduced.

In the sense of a competitive discipline, FINA understands Open Water Swimming to be races in open waters that are at least five kilometers in length. At open water world championships and open water European championships titles over 5 km, 10 km and 25 km are awarded. The so-called swimming marathon over 10 kilometers has been an Olympic discipline for women and men since 2008 . In the Marathon World Cup, which has been held since 1997, only the Olympic ten-kilometer distance has been held since 2007. Since then, longer stretches have been swum in the open water swimming Grand Prix - usually downstream. The longest is Hernandarias – Paraná in Argentina , at 88 kilometers .

In the triathlon , swimming is one of the endurance tests, alongside running and cycling. The swimming distance is usually between 0.5 and 3.8 km ( Ironman ), depending on the triathlon variant . In the longest triathlon to date, the Double-Deca (20 times the Ironman triathlon) in Mexico, the swimming distance was 76 km in an indoor pool.

Well-known open water swimmers

Well-known open water swimmers are the multiple world champions Peggy Büchse , Angela Maurer , Britta Kamrau and Thomas Lurz . Otto Kemmerich set a large number of records on the North and Baltic Seas in the 1920s. Christof Wandratsch swam various world records, among others. when crossing the English Channel. Another German world record holder is Bruno Dobelmann , who is also known by his nickname “Orca”. He was the first person to cross the Fehmarnbelt (Baltic Sea) between Puttgarden and Rødby twice. This corresponds to a swum distance of approx. 50 km.

The Egyptian Abdellatif Abuhif (1929-2008), who completed around 70 international competitions between 1953 and 1972 and crossed the English Channel three times , was elected "Marathon Swimmer of the Century" in 2001. Nicky Farrugia gained notoriety when he became the first person to swim from Sicily to Malta in 1985 . The distance is approx. 87 kilometers.

A well-known ultra-long distance swimmer is the Slovenian Martin Strel , who set several world records in this discipline. For example, he swam through the Danube , the Yangtze and the Amazon . The British-Australian marathon swimmer Penelope Palfrey set a world record in long distance swimming in June 2011. She swam in the sea unassisted a distance of 108 kilometers between Little Cayman and Grand Cayman .

The 21-year-old Nathalie Pohl from Marburg swam through the Strait of Gibraltar (15 km) in 2 hours and 53 minutes in April 2016, setting a new record - she undercut the time of Penelope Palfrey from 2010 by ten minutes.

Other Events

New Year's swim in the Rhine in Düsseldorf
Canal swimming, part of the Westphalia Triathlon, Dortmund (2005)

Some of the most famous competitions in Germany are the Sundschwimmen from Rügen to Stralsund (since 1965) with 1000 participants annually, the Müritzschwimmen in Waren (Müritz) across the Müritz (since 1968) with 600 participants annually, the Strausseeschwimmen in Strausberg (since 1925) and the Blue Ribbon from the Hohenwarte reservoir (since 1966). In Switzerland, the Lake Zurich Swimming , a marathon swim over 26.4 km in Lake Zurich from Rapperswil to Zurich, which was founded in 1987, is very well known.

In Austria, the Earl of Pearl took place annually from 2009 to 2013 in Zell am See over 750, 1500 and 5000 meters. In Kampsee Ottenstein ( Waldviertel ), the best trip backwaterman over 7 and 14 km has been held annually since 2006 . The Hallstätter See ( Salzkammergut ) has hosted the Hallstattsee swimming marathon over 2.1 and 9 km since 2011 . As part of the Austria Swim Open , a cup with 10 competitions per year, a popular sport full moon swim was held for the first time in the New Danube in Vienna on August 14, 2019 .

In Sweden, the Vansbrosimningen over 3000 meters has been held annually since 1950 .

Lake crossings and river swimming are also popular mass sporting events. In Switzerland there is an official calendar of all lake crossings, which is distributed to the population and accessible on the Internet, in which around 50 events are listed. Hundreds of swimmers take part in these events, individually, in groups, as a couple or family, as a school class or as employees of a company. The events are monitored by the maritime police and lifeguards who travel with boats. The start and finish are usually in a lido. When swimming in a river, one often starts with a jump from a bridge. Particular challenges are the torch-lit swimming at night, as well as the Santa Claus swim in winter and the New Year's swim in the ice-cold water.

sports medicine

Long distance swimming is one of the endurance sports . Aerobic endurance is particularly crucial. Particular attention must be paid to the difficult food intake in water and, depending on the water temperature, thermal loads: In cold water, energy is lost, while in particularly warm water overheating can occur. The World Swimming Federation has therefore stipulated for its open water competitions that the water temperature must be between 16 and 31 degrees.

24 hour swimming

24-hour swims are often carried out side by side as relay, team and individual swims. The distances reached are added up, the ranking is then derived from the total number of kilometers swum. For single starters, 24-hour swimming is an extreme type of long-distance swimming. Large events over a whole weekend, as a "party in the bathroom", with food and drinks, overnight stays in tents in the bathroom, games and fun offers for the children, sometimes also with demonstrations (water jumping, diving, lifeguarding, water ballet), with music and dance are common , Fashion show, open-air cinema or fireworks. This usually takes place in swimming pools because they are safer, also for organizational reasons or because the swimming pool operator is a co-organizer.

The world record for men was set on March 3, 2018 by Dutch Olympic champion Maarten van der Weijden with 102.8 km. Vera Niemeyer from Aachen will take part in the women’s event on the 24th and 25th. June 2017 at the 24h swimming in Meiningen reached the world record and at the same time the German record 96.38 km. The German record for men is held by Chris Pascal Hoffmann from Bermbach (Thuringia) on the 24th and 25th. December 2020 reached 94.55 km held.

As with 24-hour swimming, continuous swimming is about endurance performance, usually as a popular sports event combined with a swimming pool festival. Endurance swimming is often combined with a fundraising campaign . The spectators pay a donation for a welfare project for every lap they swim.

Another form of continuous swimming extends over the whole year or a bathing season. The swimmers add up the lengths they have swum in order to acquire a certificate of 50, 100 or 150 kilometers swum at the end of the year. The aim is to encourage bathers to swim regularly and continuously and thus improve the health of the population.

See also

Web links

Commons : Category: Open water swimming  - album with pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. FINA / HOSA 10km Marathon Swimming World Cup 2015. Accessed on February 26, 2020 .
  2. Open Water Swimming Grand Prix on the FINA website ( memento of September 8, 2014 in the Internet Archive ), accessed on August 17, 2014.
  3. ^ Dover Channel Swimming - Successful Crossings in 2005
  4. Beltquerung best list
  5. Abdul Latif Abou Heif. Openwaterpedia, accessed April 30, 2014 .
  6. Channel Swimmer. New York Times, August 29, 1985, accessed November 29, 2014 .
  7. ORF - world record in long distance swimming
  8. Penny Palfrey Sets a New Ocean Swim Record ... But Kills 3 Sharks In The Process ,, June 23, 2011, accessed August 8, 2015.
  9. Marburg swims from Europe to Africa Die Welt online, April 25, 2016.
  10. Sri Chinmoy Marathon Swimming. In: , accessed March 3, 2020.
  11. Earl of Pearl online
  12. best-trip backwaterman online
  13. Hallstattsee swimming marathon online
  14. Swimming under the moon, August 14, 2019, accessed August 14, 2019.
  15. Vienna Swim Open - Vollmondschwimmen, Austrian Sport & Lifestyle Association, accessed August 14, 2019.
  16. Switzerland's swimming calendar
  17. The heat as an opponent: Wellbrock is aiming for a medal in the sea. In: Hamburger Morgenpost , August 2, 2021.
  18. 102.8km! Olympic champion breaks world record in 24-hour swimming., March 5, 2018, accessed on July 18, 2019 .