Lake Zurich Marathon Swim

SydneDSydneD Member
edited March 2014 in General Discussion
Hi there,
Searched for this but couldn't find a thread so excuse me if I am re-posting something that has already been covered elsewhere.

My family and I are traveling for the Lake Zurich swim this August and I'd love to hear from folks who have done it. Specifically, favorite places to stay? Did you fly into Geneva or Zurich? How was that whole morning travel to the race site thing? Anything you think is worth sharing is great.

Basically, I know very little except for what they've sent me and I'd love to hear some swimmer feedback. (Okay, the other thing I do know is that my 13-year-old is already rolling his eyes at being on the boat for so long. And I have, ahem, heard the phrase "I am SO over this swimming thing." To which I said "Tough.")

Thanks everyone!


  • Last year we had a very brief but very nasty storm. The race organizers said that it was force 5 but I think they exaggerated. My support boat capsized. It could be very exciting for your daughter.

    Sisu: a Finnish term meaning strength of will, determination, perseverance, and acting rationally in the face of adversity.

  • I stayed in Rapperswill, where the start is. Above the McDonald's if you can believe that.
    Buy any water you might need when you get there. Things shut down Sat pm and are ( or were 10 yrs ago) closed on Sundays. I flew into Zurich. You can take a boat to Rapperswill or the train. It is , of course all very well organized.:).
    The clock tower is more than half way ... and there IS a slight current against you at the end. It was a great experience for me, food and massages at the end... Everyone gets a greeting and a lei. Tough for me, as it's fresh water but warm enough that I actually took my cap off for a few hours.

    Looking for the next big thing.. ... @suzieswimcoach

  • I flew in via Zurich and took a taxi to the Best Western Hotel Speer ( in Rappwerswill (~36km). It is opposite of the train station, that could be a cheaper alternative to get there from the airport. The start of the Zurich Lake swim is at the Schossbad, i.e. just 700m from the Hotel, or an easy 7 min walk away. You can train at the Schlossbad and acclimatize the days before the swim. You will enjoy it. All the best!
  • Thank you everyone!
    One more question--how did the support boats work? I had assumed it was helping my husband secure a kayak but it seems like it's a bit more than that?
    Also, how far in advance did you all get there? We are making it part of a family vacation and they tolerate my swimming enough already--I don't want to torture them with days and days of waiting around!
  • NiekNiek Heiloo, NetherlandsMember
    You can do a warm up swim on Friday, 8 August, 2014 - 10:00 - 14:30
    3,5 km
    (47 km) 50 min. by car - Cold, wind, waves, sunburn, currents, jellyfish and flotsam! Hop in and join the fun!

  • Always best to stay at Rapperswil and the Best Western usually did an early swimmers breakfast on the day too when we went mob-handed from UK. I have some maps, annotated with GPS-based distances that may be useful too from previous relays and solos swims. You dont have to memorise them, but it helps on the day if you know where you as as the chances are you're crew wont know for sure and your rellies on the boat will only be guessing. You can hold a view waypoints in your mind and use them when you start to see clock towers everywhere. Its a fantastic swim, you will enjoy (most of) it. If there is a facility for you to pm me an email address I will happily forward you my maps
  • Re the 13 year old being on the boat all the time, I swapped by crew just after half way. You are fairly close to the bank and with a bit of prior arrangement you can get your support boat in to the pontoon and away without much hassle. Not sure its allowed but others seemed to do it too!
  • No need to get there too early but you should go to the race briefing; I came two days before the swim. Only met my boat captain on race day, so if you need to make special arrangements best to check with organizer.
  • Hi everyone,
    Sent my money today! At long last, and am getting both excited and, of course, nervous. Thank you again for all of your help! Especially @JimBoucher for the great email--and I will get back to you with some additional questions.

    Wish I could get to that "warm-up swim" on the 8th but we are still making our travel plans. Not so cheap for a family of 3 to get there from the States in August so we're working on it as much as possible and trying to do frequent flyer miles. (One unexpected bonus of the fact that my husband travels so much for work!)

    Any of you fine folks willing to share a bit about what your training was? My tendency is, always, to way over train because it helps me mentally, but would love to know what some of you did.

    Before the Cape May Circumnavigation last September, my longest swim was around 6 hours. Think I need to do longer for this one since that one had a current assist? 7 hours? I know, I know--it's in August and I have, um, yeah, a little time but... :)
  • SydneDSydneD Member
    Today, after a 3-hour training swim, I went back to the car to find that my phone was ringing. It was one of the race organizers calling from Switzerland in response to an email I had sent about my son being on the boat for that long, and our request for a possible 2-seater kayak.
    Such a lovely call to get and made me really feel great about heading over. :)
  • Hey all--
    Did a pre-swim blog post before I leave for Zurich tomorrow. Thank you to those of you who have provided such useful information!
    @JimBoucher and @suziedods, it is so much appreciated.

    Looking forward to sharing stories after the swim!
  • It is a lovely swim, and seeing your pictures brought back such wonderful memories.

    Looking for the next big thing.. ... @suzieswimcoach

  • Can't wait!! :)
  • Best of luck for the swim and it looks like the weather will be great too - plenty sunblock and chilled feeds I'd imagine! Several friends are also in the race, the camaraderie and support is fantastic.
  • Thank you! (And I promise not everything in those photos is going in the boat. I am an expert over-packer.)
  • Love your son's James Bond golden gun, pity he can't take it, being in charge of your safety and all. But true, might cause a stir, so best to leave it at home. Loved what you wrote about the marathon swim community's willingness to help:

    Unlike some other sports I’ve participated in, there is no sense that one must hoard information, keeping it to themselves to have a leg up on the competition. Instead, people are open, they share, they applaud one another.

    A friend and I were just talking about that today. We both have been the recipients of such generosity. Most awesome. Love it. Best wishes on your fantastic Lake Zurich swim adventure!
  • WarmWaterWarmWater SingaporeMember
    What a challenge, good luck! Will be thinking of you tomorrow......
  • WarmWaterWarmWater SingaporeMember
    I see from the results sheet that our intrepid Sydne came 2nd in her Women Masters (above 40 years) category in 9h 10m 52s. Well done Sydne, we await a full report!!
  • Yes! I will post one ASAP. Just got back from Europe this evening. What a great two weeks!
    And a truly fantastic swim day. Will share more soon. :)
  • Part One of my Race Report from the Lake Zurich swim. Be aware--this part includes almost no actually swimming.
  • NiekNiek Heiloo, NetherlandsMember
    @SydneD Write faster! Why is part 2 not there yet? ;) - Cold, wind, waves, sunburn, currents, jellyfish and flotsam! Hop in and join the fun!

  • Congrats! Looking forward to part II :)
  • IronMikeIronMike Bishkek, KyrgyzstanCharter Member
    Congrats @SydneD, nice reports and great to see the star-spangled banner on the board!
  • Thank you! It was a great day on the water. Hope you get to do it sometime!
  • SpacemanspiffSpacemanspiff Dallas, TexasMember
    @SydneD After seeing the 30 second (!!!) gap between you and the third place swimmer, I was so looking forward to the end of your report to read about the mano y mano death sprint for the finish line. How you had to dig deep to find a part of yourself you'd never seen, fight through the shoulder pain, and push yourself, stroke-by-stroke, to the photo finish where, at last, you vanquished your British foe! A 20 meter gap after 26,400 meters? Did you know she was there? Did it give you that little something extra? Or did you family keep it a secret out of fear it might break you? I figure she must have been gaining on you for the last hour, since your half-way split was 9 minutes ahead of her, but was there a back-and-forth struggle? Maybe you caught glimpses of her during your feeds, forcing you to roll over and start swimming while still chewing your last bite! Where did you find the energy to land one final punch after 9-hours of fighting? Don't give me any of that "oh, I was just competing against myself" business ;) I need some sports drama motivation for my long sets this afternoon!

    "Then, after the swim, I did the math. And, newsflash! 26.4 Kilometers is, strangely, NOT 15 miles. It’s 16.4042 miles. And that extra 1.4042 makes a hell of a lot of difference." Indeed it does...

  • 'Stroke after stroke after stroke.' - sing it sister!
  • @Spacemanspiff - Well, let's just say I learned something. Apparently, in Europe, people don't like it when you finish your swim, get on the dock, turn to the swimmer who has just come in after you and yell "That's right! In your face Lady! Suck it! That's how it's done!" Those Europeans are just weird that way. ;)

    Actually, I had no idea she was there and I confirmed with my son and he said they had no idea either. At the end, support boats had to peel off to land elsewhere so it's possible they didn't see her. And it makes sense that she caught up on the back half as I was really, really struggling then. My husband said he could see that my catch just had no power and that I was just going through the motions. He said my stroke count stayed consistent but the power i was getting from each one was noticeably different, and folks I had passed earlier were able to catch me. Oh well! That's how it goes.

    And she and I shared a few nice congrats on the podium. Because again, swimmers are just generally nice people. Aren't we?

    @TimDex---inch by inch. That's all we can do, right?

  • SpacemanspiffSpacemanspiff Dallas, TexasMember
    SydneD said:

    Apparently, in Europe, people don't like it when you finish your swim, get on the dock, turn to the swimmer who has just come in after you and yell "That's right! In your face Lady! Suck it! That's how it's done!" Those Europeans are just weird that way. ;)

    I suppose the Europeans have been a bit sensitive after that whole '99 Ryder Cup fiasco. Perhaps loping about the dock doing that clever "gangnam style" horse riding pantomime would have been more tasteful?

  • Wait--how did you know? Did someone catch me on video? Darn those GoPros!
  • Well done on your swim! How do you sign up for the lottery? I've been to their site but it's in German and there doesn't seem to be any info for 2015. Thanks.
  • Thanks!
    If you scroll down, everything is also in English. The lottery doesn't happen for a few months so I would put it in your calendar and just keep checking back for the application.
    You could also email them because they were pretty great about getting back to me.
    If you get in and do it, you will have a great time and I am happy to offer any advice, tips. etc., that I might have. :)
  • NiekNiek Heiloo, NetherlandsMember
    @Lynne First half November one can register for the race. The lottery takes place in January. - Cold, wind, waves, sunburn, currents, jellyfish and flotsam! Hop in and join the fun!

  • Thanks SydneD, I did email but got no reply, so will keep checking the site. Thanks Niek as well. Is the lottery exactly that, i.e. they throw the applications into a hat? Or is there some sort of selection criteria?
  • NiekNiek Heiloo, NetherlandsMember
    edited August 2014
    Their website haven't got them posted now but here are the rules for 2011 when they started the lottery because of the overwhelming interest.
    Those rules are used in the later years also.

    24th International Self-Transcendence Marathon-Swim Rapperswil–Zurich 7. August 2011
    Information how to register;
    Please fill out the entry form, sign it (all swimmers of the team must sign it personally) and send
    it by post latest until November 15th, 2010.
    It does not matter when you will send it, as long as it is before Nov. 15th.
    Because there will be many more applications then starting places, we will have to make a
    selection. We give our best to make a fair selection.
    After the Nov. 15th only swimmers with there own boat may have a chance for a place.
    Please be aware that we have an overall limit and even if you have your own boat we can not
    guarantee a starting place.
    After the Nov 15th, if there are still places free, it will be first come first serve.
    Important: read the separate information “own boat”.
    On December 15th we will upload a list on our website with all the swimmers which got a starting
    place for the race 2011. We will also inform all by email.
    Please do not pay any entry fee before you are in the race. The race information and bank
    details will also be on the website on Dec. 15th.
    With kind regards
    Your Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team - Cold, wind, waves, sunburn, currents, jellyfish and flotsam! Hop in and join the fun!

  • NiekNiek Heiloo, NetherlandsMember

    I suppose the Europeans have been a bit sensitive after that whole '99 Ryder Cup fiasco. Perhaps loping about the dock doing that clever "gangnam style" horse riding pantomime would have been more tasteful?

    OK lets talk this time about the 2014 American Ryder Cup fiasco. 14,5 - 9,5 with 4 matches to go.
    Or in golf terms 5&4 for Europe :) - Cold, wind, waves, sunburn, currents, jellyfish and flotsam! Hop in and join the fun!

  • WarmWaterWarmWater SingaporeMember
    Its a shame the Ryder Cup has been spoilt by a misunderstanding of sportsmanship across the pond. Modesty is the best strategy and impossible to answer. Anyway, back to swimming.
  • NiekNiek Heiloo, NetherlandsMember
    edited December 2014
    28# Int. Self-Transcendence Marathon-Schwimmen, Rapperswil-Zürich, Switzerland
    The registration is closed.
    Only places left for those who bring their own boat. - Cold, wind, waves, sunburn, currents, jellyfish and flotsam! Hop in and join the fun!

  • Fingers crossed for some folks I know who have applied! Hope they make it through the lottery!
  • NiekNiek Heiloo, NetherlandsMember
    They can increase their chances to almost 100% by entering with an own boat. - Cold, wind, waves, sunburn, currents, jellyfish and flotsam! Hop in and join the fun!

  • Considering that some of the entrants were being supported by rowboats, that wouldn't be hard to do.
    Can you imagine---16+ miles supported by a ROWBOAT?!? I was in awe.
  • LynneLynne Member
    edited December 2014
    Nope, didn't get a place for 2015...

  • KatieBunKatieBun CornwallMember
    I got a place this time, having been rejected in 2012.
  • I'm another one who didn't get in, but not a surprise as it was very popular this year. Stupidly, I applied in 2012 but withdrew my application as I got a Channel slot for 2012 and couldn't afford two swims in one year. Hopefully in 2016.

    Good luck to KatieBun, I bet you will have a fantastic time. (Bring me back some chocolate!)
  • Notable that last year, I was the only American swimmer, and this year, none.
    Congrats to you KatieBun. It's a great day on the water! :)
  • I enjoyed reading all you experience ... now its my turn on the 26 of July :)

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