Yachting Art Magazine

Baikal Great Swim - Lake Baikal hosts an extraordinary competition

The first international swimming competition across Lake Baikal "Baikal Great Swim" ended today. It was supported by the State Company Rosatom, the United Nations Information Center in Moscow and the government of Irkutsk Oblast.

Baikal Great Swim - Lake Baikal hosts an extraordinary competition

The award ceremony took place in Irkutsk and Vadim Titov, President of Rosatom-International Network, Igor Kobzev, Governor of the region, and Vladimir Kuznetsov, Director of the United Nations Information Center in Moscow, were present for the occasion. 

This swim has become a special event in the history of open water swimming. The distance of the course was not chosen by chance. In 2019, a group of swimmers (Vyacheslav Timoshenko, Yevgeny Semeniaka (Kerch) and Zaur Zakrailov (Grozny)), supervised by Andrei Bougai, head of the Irkutsk regional public organization "Pribaikaltsi", made a historic 55 km crossing of Lake Baikal equipped with swimming suits.

In 2020, a group of swimmers (Andrei Bougaï (Irkutsk), Oleg Dokouchaev, Maria Tchizhova, Pavel Komarov, Evgeny Zozoulïa (Vladivostok)) realized the same feat without wetsuits. This year, the task was more difficult: to cross the Baikal lake and partially the Angara river along the Vidrino-Irkutsk road... without wetsuits.

Nine participants from Russia, France, Italy, USA, Morocco, South Africa and Great Britain took part in the competition.

The swimmers started on July 12 in the village of Vidrino (Buryatia), and finished on July 13 in Irkutsk. The course "Baikal Great Swim" is one of the most difficult in the world, which required almost 26 hours without rest or sleep to cover the distance of 70 km.

The event was held in compliance with all safety measures. The motor boats and the boats of the Ministry of Emergency Situations accompanied the participants throughout the crossing.

For Vadim Titov, interviewed by ActuNautique Yachting Art, "This event illustrates how bringing together people from all over the world raises awareness of the uniqueness of Lake Baikal and underlines its value for all mankind. This is an important issue for Rosatom, which is involved on a daily basis in international cooperation and the preservation of Lake Baikal's ecosystem, as the company has been designated by the Russian President as responsible for solving a range of environmental issues in the region.

According to the athletes, the swimming distance was a challenge they met despite the water temperature of only 5-8°C.

"The participants showed tremendous mental strength, incredible endurance, stamina and physical strength. It is symbolic that the most important open water swimming event is dedicated to the Year of Lake Baikal, announced in Irkutsk Oblast," concluded Igor Kobzev.

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