Martyn Webster - Zurich to Schmerikon
Zurich to Schmerikon
36.2 km (22.5 miles)
12 hours, 48 minutes on 6 August 2022
Observed and documented by Sally Bantock
- Support Personnel
- Swim Parameters
- Swim Data & GPS
- Observer Log
- Swimmer Statement
- Name: Martyn Webster
- Gender: male
- Age on swim date: 55
- Nationality: British
- Resides: Rapperswil, Switzerland
- Catherine French - feed support
- Alexander Nikitenko - pilot
Previous marathon swim observing experience: o Crew support on Lake Lucerne Swim 2020 o Crew support on Zurich Marathon Swim 2019 (Mark Johnstone)
Other qualifications: Swim Teacher, long time open water swimmer, Lake Zurich 2-person relay, Lago D’Orta 2-person relay, Lago D’Orta Oceanman
|unnamed||8hp motor boat||Wassersport & Reisse GMBH (Stafa, Switzerland)|
- Category: Solo, nonstop, unassisted.
- Rules: MSF Rules of Marathon Swimming, without exception or modification.
- Equipment used: Textile swimsuit (Funky Trunks brief), silicone swim cap, Swans SFX prescription goggles, Timex watch
- Body of Water: Lake Zurich and Obersee
- Route Type:
- Start Location: Strandbad Tiefenbrunen, Zurich (47.352380, 8.554533)
- Finish Location: Schmerikon, St Gallen (small beach in front of Pier 8716 Restaurant) (47.224610, 8.945491)
- Minimum Route Distance: 36.2 km (22.5 miles) (map)
No known previous swims of this route.
- Start: 6 August 2022, 06:41:00 (Europe/Zurich, UTC2).
- Finish: 6 August 2022, 12:29:24
- Elapsed: 12 hours, 48 minutes, 24 seconds.
Summary of Conditions
|Water Temp (C)||24.7||27|
|Air Temp (C)||18||19|
Trackpoint frequency: 20 minutes. Download raw data (CSV).
- Sponsor Brand – Long Energy Drink (starch based)
- Isostar Brand - Long Energy Drink (maltodextrin based)
- First feed on the hour for 2 hrs.
- Then every half hour – alternating between Sponsor and Isostar
- Occasional banana
- Occasional peanut butter sandwich
- Occasional black tea
by Martyn Webster
What inspired you to do this swim?
My initial plan was to swim a 2-way Rapperswil >Zurich > Rapperswil swim in July. However, very quickly into the first leg of that swim I felt I was not in a good place mentally and physically. Work/life/travel balance I felt was out of kilter and I had nothing in the tank and was so far off my usual pace I aborted that swim after 1 leg.
This was to be a step-up swim for Lake Geneva in August.
As with all DNF or part swims they gnaw at your soul. Have I lost it? Will I ever feel ok about a long-distance challenge? Some serious self-doubt started to surface in my head. Anyway, after a short holiday and lots of sleep I decided to get back in and go again, but to scale back a little and go for something shorter that was also a challenge.
Lake Zurich is split into 2. The Zurichsee and the Obersee and separated by a bridge called the Seedam. The Zurichsee is the popular route and one that features in the Sri Chinmoy race from Rapperswil to Zurich and because of this has featured in the equivalent solo swims – whether they be one way or two-way swim. However, no one has swum the combined swim in one go.
Describe how you planned for the swim?
I am fortunate to be swimming the lake I live on and have good reliable connections and support team. Once I made the decision to follow up on the last swim it was relatively easy to arrange my boat and team. Boat service used are Wassersport und Reise GMBH who have a selection of boat to suit license and non-license holder
How did the swim go, generally? Did you face any unanticipated challenges?
The day prior to the swim was 35 deg C plus and taxing the boar to the start we were all sweating. By the time we arrived at Tiefenbrunnen Marina to moor up the wind had picked up and we had difficulty parking the boat safely. A storm quickly followed but at least we had everything tied down safely for an early morning start
We started out early with a drive from Rapperswil to Zurich picking up team along the way. Then once we had picked up the boat from the marina a short boat ride to the start at the Strandbad.
The swim started at 6:41 with a slight breeze to my back pushing me forward. By the time I had reached Meilen at 12km this had changed direction and was now a 22km side wind which made swimming pretty tough (check out the video). The air temperature also dropped, and I could see the crew start to put on the windjammers and huddle up. It was definitely warmer in the water than sitting on the boat.
But we made good pace and my stroke rate as normal was consistent 53/54 spm.
On all my other swims I would stop at Rapperswil and that would be it. But at 8.45 into the swim I was feeling good and ready to head under the Seedam. The bridge that connects the two lake parts.
Going under the bridge the support boat headed through a small canal. I order not to come across any boats in the canal coming in the opposite direction I decided to swim in the adjacent canal. Big mistake this was full of see grass and weeds right to the surface. So was difficult to keep moving forward without getting tangled up. It was like something from a Harry Potter movie. Eventually I managed to extract myself from the weed and move away from the bridge and into the Obersee and into clear water an meet the boat waiting just to the side of the channel.
By now the wind had dropped and there was some shelter from the Seedam. The Obersee in general seems to be a much stiller lake – especially as the wind tends to blow from a North Easterly direction down the lakes.
Entering the Obersee I knew I had another 11-12km left. This is a swim I do regularly for training and although I was starting to feel a little sore, the wind had dropped and I knew I could now stoke properly and I got a huge mental uplift at this point – knowing this was only my normal’ bread and butter’ swim to complete.
Nearly 3 1/2 hours later I passed the Schmerikon railway station and headed for the corner of the lake in front of the Pier 142 restaurant where I was to finish. As I approached to restaurant diners were sitting having there evening dinner wandering what the hell was happening. My support pulled alongside the restaurant and explained to the diners I had swum from Zurich and I was greeting by a small round of applause as I climbed out onto the beach. Job done.
I got back in the water as the air temp had dropped and waited for the crew to come around with clothes
15 mins later we sat with cappuccinos reflecting on the days event before heading back to Stafa marina to return the boat and a quick beer!
Click to enlarge.