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Wednesday, May 6, 2015
World's Top 100 Open Water Swims In History
Photo shows Lynne Cox, one of the greatest open water swimmers in history.
An experienced open water swimmer recently wrote and suggested that the contemporary open water swimming community does not give enough credit to Lynne Cox who has long been pushing boundaries in the open water world since the 1970s, maintaining her peak throughout the 1980s and 1990s.
Cox, as one of the world's most renowned aquatic adventurers, has done a number of unprecedented swims throughout her career. So we decided to put together one of our most difficult lists to create: the World's Top 100 Open Water Swims in History.
The swims include marathon swims, ice swims, stage swims, competitive races, channel swims, extreme swims, river swims, lake swims, bays swims, adventure swims, and assisted swims. The list includes many unprecedented swims and swims that helped change the mindset of future generations of swimmers. The list does not include relays or uncompleted swims like Penny Palfrey's attempt across the Kaieiewaho Channel (from Oahu to Kauai), Kevin Murphy's 53-hour three-way English Channel attempt or Mike Spalding's crossing attempts in Hawaii halted by shark attacks.
The list includes audacious, unprecedented, extreme, geographically-dispersed swims across and in various open bodies of water around the world dating from 1810 to the present. The swims are listed alphabetically by the first name of the swimmer and are limited to 3 individual swims per swimmer:
World's Greatest 100 Open Water Swims In History
1. Abdul Latif Abou Heif (Egypt): swim 60 miles (96.5 km) across in Lake Michigan in a pro race in 1963 in 34 hours 38 minutes
2. Alfréd Hajós (Hungary): won the 1896 Athens Olympics Games 1200m race in rough 55°F (13°C) water in the Bay of Zea off the Piraeus coast, Aegean Sea, Greece in 18:22.1
3. Alison Streeter (Great Britain): 43rd crossing of the English Channel, a record that may never been broken
4. Alison Streeter (Great Britain): first crossing of the North Channel in 1989 from Scotland to Ireland in 10 hours 4 minutes
5. Andrei Sychev (Russia): swam 2250m in 1 hour 6 minutes in Tyumen, Russia in 2012 in 0.8°C water and - 30°C air
6. Annette Kellerman (Australia): competed against men in the 7-mile Seine Swim through Paris in 1902 in front of hundreds of thousands of spectators
7. Annette Kellerman (Australia): swam 42 km down the Thames in England in 1902 in 5 hours
8. Antonio Abertondo (Argentina: first two-way crossing of the English Channel in 43 hours 10 minutes in 1961
9. Barry Devonport (New Zealand): first crossing of the Cook Strait from North Island to South Island in New Zealand in 1962 in 11 hours 20 minutes
10. Benoît Lecomte (France): assisted stage swim across the Atlantic Ocean from Massachusetts, USA to Quiberon, France in 73 days in 1998 across 3716 miles
11. Bert Thomas (USA): first crossing of Strait of Juan de Fuca in 1955 in 11 hours 10 minutes
12. Bhakti Sharma (India): swam 1.4 miles in 41.14 minutes in Antarctica in 2015 in 41.14 minutes
13. Brenda Sherratt (Great Britain): first crossing of Loch Ness in Scotland in 1966 in 31 hours 27 minute
14. Cameron Perry (New Zealand): first crossing of the Cook Strait from South Island to North Island in New Zealand in 1972 in 9 hours 36 minutes
15. Captain Matthew Webb (Great Britain): first crossing of the English Channel in 1875 in 21 hours 45 minutes, swimming breaststroke
16. Carl Kawauchi (USA): first crossing of the Pailolo Channel from Molokai to Maui in Hawaii in 1993 in 8 hours 38 minutes
17. Carol Lee (USA): first crossing of the Maui Channel from Lanai to Maui in Hawaii in 1983 in 4 hours 14 minutes
18. Chloë McCardel (Australia): first crossing from Eleuthera to Nassau in the Bahamas in 2014 in 42 hours 30 minutes
19. Christof Wandratsch (Germany): swam 1 km in Lake Semenovskoe, Murmansk, Russia in 2015 in 13:00.51 in 0°C water and -7°C air.
20. Cindy Cleveland (USA): first 48-mile (77 km) circumnavigation around Catalina Island in 1979 in 34 hours 24 minutes
21. Cliff Lumsdon (Canada): swam 51.5 km (32 miles) in the 1955 Canadian National Exhibition swim in 1955, winning $84,000+
22. David Yudovin (USA): first crossing of the Tsugaru Channel from Honshu to Hokkaido in 1990 in 11 hours 56 minutes
23. Denize le Pennec (Jersey): first circumnavigation of Jersey in 1969 in 13 hours 55 minutes
24. Diana Nyad (USA): swim across the Florida Strait from Cuba to Key West, Florida in 2013 in 52 hours 54 minutes
25. Éva Risztov (Hungary): won the Olympic 10K Marathon Swim in London in 2012 in 1:57:38.2
26. Fred Rogers (USA): first crossing of Lake Tahoe in 1955 in 19 hours 6 minutes
27. George Young (Canada): first crossing of the Catalina Channel in 1927 in 15 hours 44 minutes
28. Gertrude Ederle (USA): first crossing of the English Channel by a woman in 1926 in 14 hours 30 minutes
29. Greta Andersen (Denmark/USA): first two-way crossing of the Catalina Channel in 1958 in 26 hours 53 minutes
30. Guy Delage (France): first assisted stage swim across the Atlantic Ocean from Africa to Barbados in 55 days in 1994 across 3,900 km (2,335 miles)
31. Harry Huffaker (USA): first crossing of the Molokai Channel from Oahu to Molokai in Hawaii in 1972 in 16 hours 15 minutes
32. Harry Huffaker (USA): first crossing of the Alenuihāhā Channel from Hawaii to Maui in Hawaii in 1970 in 20 hours 8 minutes
33. Harry Huffaker (USA): first crossing of the Kalohi Channel from Molokai to Lanai in Hawaii in 1989 in 5 hours 40 minutes
34. Henri Kaarma (Estonia): swam 2150m in 35 minutes 20 seconds in Murmansk, Russia in 2013 in 0.8°C water and -7°C air
35. Henry Charteris Hooper (South Africa): first crossing from Robben Island to Cape Town in South Africa in 1909, 11 km in 6 hours 55 minutes
36. James Caldwell (USA): first crossing of the Maui Channel from Maui to Lanai in Hawaii in 1970 5 hours 30 minutes
37. James Caldwell (USA): first crossing of the Pailolo Channel from Maui to Molokai in Hawaii in 1973 5 hours 20 minutes
38. Imre Szenasi (Hungary): 136-mile (219 km) swim down the River Tisza in Romania in 1962 in 44 hours 50 minutes
39. Jacques Amyot (Canada): first crossing of lac St-John in Quebec, Canada in 1955 in 11 hours 32 minutes
40. J.B. Johnson (Great Britain): first individual to attempt to swim across the English Channel in 1872 but gave up after 1 hour 3 minutes
41. John Sigmund (USA): swim 292 miles (470 km) down the Mississippi River in 1940 in 89 hours 46 minutes
42. Jon Erikson (USA): first three-way crossing of the English Channel in 1981 in 38 hours 27 minutes
43. Julie Ridge (USA): first double circumnavigation of Manhattan Island in 1983 in 21 hours
44. Keo Nakama (USA): first crossing of the Molokai Channel from Molokai to Oahu in Hawaii in 1961 in 15 hours 30 minutes
45. Kevin Murphy (Great Britain): first 90 km (56-mile) circumnavigation of the Isle of Wight in the English Channel in 1971 in 26 hours 51 minutes
46. Larisa Ilchenko (Russia): won the Olympic 10K Marathon Swim in Beijing in 2008 in 1:59:27.7
47. Lewis Pugh (Great Britain): swam 1 km at 5,200m altitude in 2°C water in Lake Pumori on Khumbu Glacier, Mount Everest in 2010
48. Lewis Pugh (Great Britain): swam 1 km at the geographic North Pole in the Arctic Ocean in 2007 in -1.7°C water in 18 minutes 50 seconds
49. Lewis Pugh (Great Britain): swam 350m in -1°C water and -37°C air in the Bay of Whales in the Ross Sea in 2015 where the waves froze in air
50. Linda Kaiser (USA): first crossing of the Channel from Kauai and Niihau in Hawaii in 2003 in 10 hours 45 minutes
51. Linda Kaiser (USA): first crossing of the Kealaikahiki Channel from Kahoolawe to Lanai in Hawaii in 2005 in 11 hours 53 minutes
52. Lord Byron (Great Britain): first crossing of the Hellespont in 1810 in 1 hour 10 minutes
53. Lynne Cox (USA): swam 7 miles across Lake Baikal in 1988 in 4 hours 19 minutes
54. Lynne Cox (USA): swam the Bering Strait in 4°C (40°F) water from Little Diomede (Alaska) to Big Diomede (Russia) in 1987 in 2 hours 6 minutes
55. Lynne Cox (USA): swam 10 miles across Lake Titicaca from Bolivia to Peru at 3,812 meters (12,507 feet) in 1992 in 3 hours 48 minutes in 13°C (56°F) water
56. Maarten van der Weijden (Netherlands): won the Olympic 10K Marathon Swim in Beijing in 2008 in 1:51:51.6 after recovering from leukemia
57. Maria Luisa Cabañeros Sanchez de Leon (Spain): first two-way crossing of the Strait of Gibraltar in 1990 10 hours 58 minutes
59. Martin Strel (Slovenia): swam 100 miles (162 km) from Lignano to Ravenna in Italy's Adriatic Sea in 1994 in 55 hours 11 minutes
60. Martin Strel (Slovenia): completed a 66-day 5,268 km (3,273-mile) stage swim along the Amazon River in 2007 where he faced piranhas
61. Martin Strel (Slovenia): completed a 40-day 4,003 km (2,487-mile) stage swim along the Yangtze River in 2004
62. Marilyn Bell (Canada): first crossing of Lake Ontario in 1954 in 20 hours 59 minutes
63. Mercedes Gleitze (Great Britain): first crossing of the Strait of Gibraltar from Spain to Morocco in 1928 in 12 hours 50 minutes
64. Michael Read (Great Britain): first four-way crossing of Windermere, England in 1972 in 26 hours 16 minutes
65. Mihir Sen (India): first non-stop crossing across the Panama Canal from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean in 1966 in 35 hours 30 minutes
66. Murugapillai Navratnaswami (Sri Lanka): first crossing of the Palk Strait in 1954 in 26 hours 50 minutes
67. Natalie du Toit (South Africa): competed in the Olympic 10K Marathon Swim final in Beijing in 2008
68. Otto Kemmerich (Germany): first 50-mile (81 km) crossing of the Baltic Sea across Danzig in East Prussia in 1928 in 43 hours 30 minutes
69. Oussama Mellouli (Tunisia): won the Olympic 10K Marathon Swim in London in 2012 in 1:49:55.1
70. Pedro A Candiotti (Argentina): 281-mile (452 km) downstream swim in River de la Plata in Argentina in 1935 in 84 hours 0 minutes
71. Penny Palfrey (Australia/Great Britain): first 67.2-mile (108 km) crossing from Little Cayman to Grand Cayman in the Cayman Islands in 2011 in 40 hours 41 minutes
72. Philip Rush (New Zealand): fastest three-way crossing of the English Channel in 1987 in 28 hours 21 minutes
73. Philip Rush (New Zealand): first two-way crossing of the Cook Strait in 1984 in 16 hours 16 minutes
74. Philippe Croizon (France): swam across the English Channel without limbs in 2010 in 13 hours 26 minutes
75. Renata Novakova (Czech Republic): swam 1 km in Lake Semenovskoe, Murmansk, Russia in 2015 in 14:21.82 in 0°C water and -7°C air
76. Robert Dowling (USA): first circumnavigation of Manhattan Island in 1915 in 13 hours 45 minutes
77. Sarah Thomas (USA): first two-way crossing of Lake Tahoe in 2013 in 22 hours 35 minutes
78. Sarah Thomas (USA): first two-way crossing of Lake Memphremagog in 2013 in 30 hours 1 minute
79. Sean O’Connell (Bermuda): first circumnavigation around Bermuda in 1976 in 43 hours 27 minutes
80. Stacy Chanin (USA): completed a triple circumnavigation of Manhattan Island in 1984 in 33 hours 39 minutes
81. Stephen Redmond (Ireland): first completion of the Oceans Seven with a 12 hour 45 minute crossing of the Tsugaru Channel in Japan in 2012
82. Stephen Redmond (Ireland): first swim around Fastnet Rock in Ireland in 2012 in 12 hours 28 minutes
83. Steven Munatones (USA): first crossing of the Tsugaru Channel from Hokkaido to Honshu in 1990 in 6 hours 39 minutes
84. Stewart Evans (USA): swam from the Farallon Islands to California in 1967 in 13 hours 44 minutes
85. Susie Maroney (Australia): first 122-mile (197 km) shark-cage crossing from Mexico to Cuba in 1998 in 38 hours 33 minutes
86. Susie Maroney (Australia): first 111.8-mile (180 km) shark-cage crossing from Cuba to USA across the Florida Strait in 1997 in 24 hours 31 minutes
87. Susie Maroney (Australia): first 119-mile (190 km) shark-cage crossing from Jamaica to Cuba in 1999 in 34 hours 50 minutes
88. Ted Keenan (Ireland): first crossing of the Bristol Channel in 1975 in 14 hours 26 minutes at its widest point
89. Thane Guy Williams and Jonno Proudfoot (South Africa): completed a 458 km 25-day stage swim across the Mozambique Channel from Mozambique to Madagascar in 2014 swimming for 155 hours total
90. Tom Blower (Great Britain): first crossing of the 33.7 km (21 mile) North Channel from Ireland to Scotland in 1947 in 15 hours 26 minutes
91. Veljko Rogošić (Croatia): 120+ mile swim across the Adriatic Sea in Italy in 2006 in 50 hours 10 minutes
92. Vicki Keith (Canada): first butterfly crossing of Lake Ontario in 2005 in 63 hours 40 minutes
93. Vicki Keith (Canada): first two-way crossing of Lake Ontario in 1987 in 56 hours 10 minutes
94. Vicki Keith (Canada): first crossing of Lake Huron in 1988 in 46 hours 55 minutes
95. Vojislav Mijić (Serbia): 86.3-mile (139 km) swim down the Sava River, Serbia in 1992 in 36 hours 30 minutes
96. V.S. Kumar Anandan (Sri Lanka): first two-way crossing of the Palk Strait in 1974 in 51 hours
97. William 'Billy' O'Connor (Canada): first crossing of lac Memphrémagog from Vermont, USA to Quebec, Canada in 1955 in 18 hours 35 minutes
98. Yuko Matsuzaki (Japan): 51.5-mile (83 km) swim in Lake Cane in Florida in 2008 in 33 hours 24 minutes
99. Zhang Jian (China): first crossing of the Pearl River estuary from Hong Kong to Macau in 2005 in 10 hours 43 minutes
100. Zhang Jian (China): first crossing of Bohai Bay in China in 2000 in 50 hours 22 minutes
Copyright © 2015 by World Open Water Swimming Association
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