Another Pioneering Success: 221 km Swim To Victory 2021

Another Pioneering Success: 221 km Swim To Victory 2021

Courtesy of Akimov Vitaly, Murmansk, Russia.

Akimov Vitaly of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Murmansk Region in Russia and Alexander Brylin reported about another unprecedented swim called the Black Sea Landing of Victory, a relay of 221 km. 

In Sevastopol, a Crimean port on the Black Sea, in May was the finish of an international relay race called the Black Sea Landing of Victory. Vitaly explains, “The Swim to Victory 2021 was dedicated to the 76th anniversary of Victory in the Great Patriotic War and the 77th anniversary of the liberation of Sevastopol from Nazi invaders. The event was organized by the Interregional Association for Cold Swimming (Russia) and the International Ice Swimming Association.

Despite the obvious improvement in the situation with the outbreak of COVID-2019 and the beginning of mass vaccination around the world, this situation still affects many countries and does not allow athletes to safely cross  boundaries for setting new records. The event was attended by four teams of 40 swimmers from Russia, Armenia, Belarus and Azerbaijan.

[In selecting the relay team members,] the status of athletes and their ages were not considered.  The youngest swimmer, 12-year-old Nikita Tereshchenko from Barnaul (Russia), said, “It was cold only at the very beginning, when he was training at home on the lake.  Now he even withstands 0°C.”

Alexander Brylin, chairman of the Interregional Association of Cold Swimming, commented, “This extreme sport is called ice swimming.  People have been preparing for such marathon swims for years, developing the ability to withstand low temperatures.  This time, the participants will have to swim in water which has barely warmed up to 10°C.  However, most swimmers do not consider such conditions to be extreme.

The core of the international competition includes experienced swimmers, holders of Guinness World Records from Russia and abroad, who know that it is not enough to acquire the skill of swimming in ice water. It is necessary to maintain with regular exercise.  If you miss a training, then you need to start over. 

The 221 km Black Sea Landing of Victory relay ran along the following route: Black Sea Olenevka to Maryino to Popovka to Evpatoria landing to Saki Nikolaevka

Azerbaijani swimmer Ihtiar Aliyev said the distance along which the athletes swam throughout the relay during the daylight hours along the coast of the Black Sea.  Each participant was watched by a handler and Federal Rescue Service officer in an escort boat. Each athlete swam for 15-30 minutes. Then the next participant swims. Despite the waves up to 3 meters and winds up to 18-20 meters per second, everyone slogged down to the icy water of the Black Sea and swam, trying to make the maximum contribution to the common cause.  The participants swam every day for more than 30 km from start to finish.

Lydia Serova admitted, “The only obstacle that had to be overcome during the swim was the desire to stay in the water as long as possible, but the rules required the transfer to other participants [at 30 minutes]. At the finish line on the way to Sevastopol, the sea kicked up even more. At some point, it seemed to the participants in the swim that they would not be able to finish on time, but having gathered all their strength together, they succeeded.”

Brylin added, “The culmination of the competition was the awarding of certificates and medals to the participants of Black Sea Landing of Victory, welcoming meetings with spectators and patriotic musical performances.  At the end of the event, the swimmers emphasized that the participants in open water swims are a community of professional athletes and amateurs who must jointly develop this sport, through thick and thin. So, the organizers of the event agreed to continue the begin work in 2022 to organize their next international relay.”

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is IMG_9700-1024x1024.jpg

Copyright © 2008 – 2021 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Steven Munatones