Press Release


JANUARY 6, 2014


SAN FRANCISCO, Calif.—The Marathon Swimmers Federation, a global organization uniting, inspiring, and connecting marathon and aspiring marathon swimmers around the world, has released a set of standardized rules and principles to govern the sport of marathon swimming. These rules, which are available in full online at, codify nearly 140 years of global marathon swimming traditions into a streamlined and easy-to-use document to help swimmers around the world complete officially recognized marathon swims.

The rules were written by a core group of Federation members—Evan Morrison of San Francisco, Calif., Andrew Malinak of Seattle, Wash., Donal Buckley of Co. Tipperary, Ireland, and Elaine Howley of Boston, Mass. The co-authors spent several months developing the rules and sought input, comments, and peer-review from a wider, global group of dedicated open water swimmers. The peer review group is named in the rules document.

The rules document is intended to assist aspiring and experienced marathon swimmers, observers, event organizers, and the media to swim, organize, monitor, evaluate, and report swims according to guidelines long used by the global marathon swimming community. These rules do not supplant any existing marathon organization’s rules but may be used as a foundation for organizing bodies that want to develop swim-specific guidelines. The document includes standard marathon swimming definitions, a listing of accepted equipment, types of marathon swims, observation criteria, and standardized swimming rules.

Marathon swimming is unassisted by definition. Swims that use equipment or rules other than those outlined within the MSF rules document may be considered assisted swims.

The aim of the document is to present a complete picture of the guiding principles and widely agreed-upon standards of the sport of marathon swimming. As the sport grows in popularity, codifying rules becomes increasingly important. The co-authors hope that with the addition of these standardized rules, the sport can become more accessible to new swimmers.

About the Marathon Swimmers Federation and Forum

The Marathon Swimmers Federation is the organizational body administering the forum that was founded in early 2012 by American marathon swimmer Evan Morrison and Irish marathon swimmer Donal Buckley. The forum’s continually growing membership includes many of the world’s most accomplished and recognized marathon swimmers, as well as observers, pilots, event organizers, swim journalists, and marathon swim aspirants. The forum is an entirely voluntary and non-commercial amateur athletic discussion community that connects swimmers around the world.


For more information about the Marathon Swimmers Federation, and the forum please email