Martyn Webster's Record-Breaking Swim: Conquering the Length of Flathead Lake

Martyn Webster’s Record-Breaking Swim: Conquering the Length of Flathead Lake

Courtesy of Flathead Lake Open Water Swimmers (FLOW Swimmers)

[Riverside Park Boat Ramp, Polson, Montana] – [July 19th, 2023] – Flathead Lake Open Water Swimmers (FLOW Swimmers) are thrilled to announce that Switzerland-based, UK Marathon Swimmer Martyn Webster completed the full 28-mile length of Flathead Lake, Montana, on Wednesday, July 19th. The swim not only marks a historic milestone for Martyn, as his longest swim ever, but also establishes a new men’s record time of 14 hours and 35 minutes.

Starting his epic swim at 6:40 a.m. from the Somers Boat Ramp on the northern shore, Martyn swam without wetsuit and according to international marathon swimming rules. His swim culminated in Polson at 9:15pm, walking up the boat ramp at Riverside Park. The conditions were in his favor, with excellent weather, water temperatures ranging from 60 to 64 degrees F, and a slight tailwind during the first 9 miles, creating a solid start for his remarkable journey.

Under the support and guidance of Mark Johnston, founder of FLOW Swimmers, Martyn showed incredible endurance as he covered the entire length of the lake. Alongside Mark, Martyn’s wife, Cat, played a pivotal role, providing encouragement, nutrition, and ensuring his safety throughout the swim.

What makes this accomplishment even more extraordinary is the exceptional support from the local community. Two notable Polsonites, Jess Bouchee and Rachel Wanderscheid, showed fantastic spirit as they paddle-boarded the entire length of the lake in tandem, giving vital assistance, safety, and companionship to Martyn throughout.

Martyn said,

“Mark and I first talked about the swim in 2019 but due to COVID and other commitments in previous years it was not possible to arrange sooner. But I am so pleased to have finally gotten here and had a successful swim. Many things can stop these swims, the wind is a particular enemy when you are in the water for 14-15hrs. But everything came together this week. It has been a great experience to come to Flathead Lake and have the support of local people in helping me achieve my dreams. I have swum many lakes and seas around the world over the last eight years but can honestly say that Flathead is one of the most picturesque and cleanest lakes I have swum in. I will definitely come back and swim some different routes in the future.”

“We are absolutely thrilled by Martyn’s achievement,” said Mark Johnston of FLOW Swimmers. “At the end of the day, it’s a team effort. No one could accomplish this alone. Cat, Jess, and Rachel were wonderful as well as all our friends who met us at Riverside Park at the finish line.”

Next up for Flow Swimmers is a “never-been-done-before” 15-mile swim from Elmo to Yellow Bay, the widest distance of Flathead Lake. The swim will be attempted by 35-year-old Laura Chenier, who hails from Denver, and is the niece of the Flathead Lake Biological Station Director, Jim Elser. It will be Laura’s first marathon distance open water swim and is tentatively scheduled for Tuesday, August 1st.

About Flathead Lake Open Water Swimmers (FLOW Swimmers)

FLOW Swimmers is a passionate community of open water swimming enthusiasts dedicated to promoting the sport and fostering a spirit of camaraderie. With a focus on adventure, personal growth, and the preservation of natural water bodies, FLOW Swimmers seeks to inspire individuals to explore their limits and discover the boundless beauty of open water swimming. You can learn more about FLOW Swimmers at

Photo Credits: Flathead Lake Open Water Swimmers (FLOW Swimmers)