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Saturday, February 6, 2016

The History Of Swimming In The Gulf of Gdańsk

Courtesy of Boguslaw Ogrodnik of Wrocłah, Poland.

Boguslaw Ogrodnik is a Polish open water swimmer, lawyer and mountaineer from Wrocław who is a member of the Peak and Pond Club (Mount Everest + English Channel in 20 hours 33 minutes) and crossed the Strait of Gibraltar (5 hours 28 minutes) and the Gulf of Gdańsk.

He explains about the marathon swim of the Gulf of Gdańsk. "It is the oldest and the most well known marathon swim in Poland. The first race was held on July 4th 1963 with a support and engagement from Polish Navy. The swimmers took off at 4:55 am from the beach in Hel on the Hel Peninsula to cover 22 km way to Sopot City. 9 out of 12 swimmers reached the other shore.

The winner Stanisław Kędzia from Legia Warszawa Club who crossed the gulf in 7 hours 26 minutes and 30 seconds. The marathon was held in August and always started in Hel. Depending on the host's preferences, the finish line was in Sopot, Gdansk, or Puck, but most often at the beach near the port in Gdynia.

Until 1979 there had been 15 races with male and female swimmers from many foreign countries.

The marathon swimmers were interesting subjects for many researchers. Based on their efforts, there have been many treatises written. Doctor Zbigniew Jabłoński, based on his own observations and the observations of his colleagues from the Maritime Institute of Medicine of the Polish Navy, claims that this kind of marathon swimming activity can only be compared to high altitude mountaineering expeditions.

Dr. Jabłoński also reported a decrease in the swimmers' body temperature at the skin surface (of 3–4°C) with a fairy low per rectum decrease, and body weight loss from 3 to 5 kg. Other parameters including ECG, ESR, morphology, urinalysis, transaminases, and blood sugar tested just after the swim have not presented any significant changes between before and after the swims.

After many years of hibernation, the Gulf of Gdańsk marathon swim can restarted in 2012 due to the sponsorship of the container company BCT from Gdynia. The event was renamed as the BCT Gdynia Marathon and is currently organized by Tomasz Pąchalski who offers a US$10,000 first prize for both men and women and US$28,000 in overall cash prizes.

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