swimming the last 300m together with flags (photo: Stacey Mueller, Wales,AK)

After what seems like an eternity we finally landed at the native village of Wales, the most western point of the United States of America after we started swimming from Cape Dezhnev, the most eastern point of Russia

The swim took 6 days and the organisation took far, far longer….

To explain everything that happened both before and during the swim needs many thousands of words but needless to say massive kudos to all those involved over the years that helped to make this project succeed in 2013.

6 days is a quite a long time to cross an 86km strait but when you take into consideration the fact that we swum 134km in total and had to deal with waves of up to 4 or 5 metres, winds of up to 44knots, heavy rain, extremely strong currents, fog as thick as thick as candy floss and of course extremely cold water as low as 2c, it becomes apparent that it was a major achievement to make the crossing. Personally I am glad it was difficult not only because it was a tremendous adventure but because it meant that I got something lasting for all my dedication to do this for the last 2.5 years. I would say that the challenge was somewhere around 20% swimming, 40% psychological and 40% nature.

Fear, pain, fatigue, confusion, cold, sleep deprivation, seasickness, in the end I felt like we morphed from swimmers into 50% swimmer and 50% old school marine explorers such was the uniqueness of the challenge in the far north, well above the 10c July isotherm in an area described by one word…arctic.

Paolo Chiarino (Italy) takes over from Anne-Marie Ward (Ireland), also notice fog starting in background

This was a major success for the sport of winter swimming. There have only been two other swims that have been made at such a latitude in the northern hemisphere. Lewis Gordon Pugh took an icebreaker to the north pole and swum 1km there in 2007. He did that swim to highlight the melting of arctic sea ice. Our 2013 swim was about international cooperation, also relevant to the region as the arctic continues to attract more interest in terms of resources and energy and therefore logistics. Lynne Cox of course got to the Bering Strait before us, she made an amazing solo swim in 1987 when she swam between the 2 diomede islands. That was the first America to Russia swim but we made the first continent to continent swim with our relay.

We succeeded in not only linking the  two continents but in connecting 16 nations as swimmers from various backgrounds and countries came together in a relay swim of friendship, proving that the most important things in life aren’t material riches but human feelings and friendship.

Personally I’ll be looking North and East for future projects from my Czech Republic base.

British team Jack Bright & Jackie Cobell at the finish in Wales (photo: Jackie)

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3 Responses to
“Bering Strait swim, Russia to USA finally succeeds in 2013”

  1. […] Erschwert wurde dieses Schwimm-Unternehmen nicht nur durch die niedrigen Temperaturen, sondern auch durch meterhohe Welle, starke Strömungen und häufige Nebel. Sieger des Wettbewerbs war ein russisches Team, dessen jüngstes Mitglied erst 13 Jahre alt war. Berichte dieses Sportereignisses finden sich bei OpenWaterPedia und bei BeringStraitSwim. Ein ausführlicher Bericht mit Fotos findet sich auf ExtremWinterSwimming. […]

  2. Borge Blatind says:


    Friends, my book “How to swim in cold water” is now out. Please forward to all your
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  3. Jonathan says:

    We’ve been taking our three kids (2, 5 8) to Sea World in Southern California for years. I would also pack sncaks, like crackers or fruit in small zip-lock bags, or fruit roll-ups whatever they like. Maybe a toy or two (my youngest loves hot-wheels cars, so we take a couple to entertain him) This helped each of our kids through the longer shows, especially the 15 to 20 minutes between the time you get to the amphitheaters and the show start. If you can get them to wear ball caps, that can also help with the sun. Pack a change of clothes, just in case they get wet (in the splash zone, for example at the Shamu show). Aside from that, try to get into the Dine with Shamu’ if you can they’ll have a blast seeing Shamu come up to your table. You’ve got to make reservations ahead of time. Don’t miss the penguins at the other side of the park. Try to teach them your names (not just mama and dada) just in case. Make a mental note of what they’re wearing, and maybe give them matching loud-colored shirts.

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