Iconic Marathon Swims
A curated series of iconic swims that capture the spirit and challenge of unassisted marathon swimming.
- 25 annual, organized events
- 20 sanctioned solo swims governed by established local organizations
- 10 established but currently ungoverned solo swims
The following 25 swims are currently active annual marathon events, selected on the basis of longevity and/or popularity, natural routes, and adherence to the rules and spirit of traditional marathon swimming.
- Events are usually open to qualified amateur swimmers. We have included a few historically significant professional events (annotated as pro), which may have limited availability to amateurs.
- A few events are slightly shorter than the standard minimum of 10 km.
- If swim aids (wetsuits) are allowed, organizers must list them in a separate category.
|Boston Light Swim||13||1907||Massachusetts, USA||30|
|Maratona del Golfo Capri-Napoli||36||1954||Naples, Italy||29 pro|
|Traversée Internationale du lac St-Jean||32||1955||Quebec, Canada||20 pro|
|Rottnest Channel Swim||20||1956||Perth, Australia||376|
|BLDSA Loch Lomond||35||1959||Scotland||6|
|Ohrid Lake Marathon||30||1962||Macedonia||15 pro|
|Travessia 14 Bis||24||1970||Bertioga, Brazil||272|
|IJsselmeer Zwemmarathon||22||1970||The Netherlands||15|
|Toroneos Gulf Marathon||25||1971||Nikiti, Greece||20|
|Faros Marathon Swim||16||1976||Stari Grad, Croatia||30 pro|
|Swim Around Key West||20||1977||Florida, USA||93|
|Semana Nautica 6-Mile Ocean Swim||9||1979||California, USA||54|
|El Cruce||9||1980||Cancun, Mexico||537|
|20 Bridges (pka Manhattan Island Marathon Swim)||46||1982||New York, USA||60|
|Lake Zurich Marathon Swim||26||1987||Zurich, Switzerland||26|
|Swim Across the Sound||25||1989||Connecticut, USA||8|
|Messenian Gulf Swim||30||1990||Kalamata, Greece||15|
|Tampa Bay Marathon Swim||37||1999||Florida, USA||5|
|South Head Roughwater||10||2002||Sydney, Australia||75|
|Swim the Suck||16||2010||Tennessee, USA||105|
|In Search of Memphre||40||2011||VT, USA / QC, Can.||5|
|8 Bridges Hudson River Swim||various||2011||New York, USA||20|
|SCAR Swim Challenge||various||2012||Arizona, USA||50|
The following 20 swims are solo routes governed by an established local sanctioning organization. Marathon swim sanction orgs provide planning assistance, independent observers, a well-defined ratification process, and an authoritative history of successful swims.
The following 10 swims are established solo routes for which a fairly complete record of previous swims is available, but which are otherwise unregulated and lack the resources and processes of a full sanctioning organization. For example, typically swimmers must arrange their own observers for these swims. Links are provided below to the unofficial recorders.
|Bristol Channel||17||1927||British Long Distance Swimming Association|
|Northumberland Strait||28||1951||Jen Alexander|
|Lake Tahoe||50||1955||Dave Van Mouwerik|
|Lake George||11||1958||Bob Singer|
|Hawaiian Islands (9 channels)||~400||1961||Carl Kawauchi|
|Loch Ness||21||1966||British Long Distance Swimming Association|
|Gulf of the Farallones||5||1967||Phil Cutti|
|Strait of Georgia||11||1967||Masters Swimming Assoc of British Columbia|
|Angel Island (San Francisco Bay)||11||1984||Evan Morrison|
|Lake Taupo||46||1985||Anna Marshall|