Swimming From Asia To Europe Across The Bosphorus

Courtesy of Gürsel Şen, Istanbul Strait, Turkey.

The 2017 Samsung Bosphorus Cross-Continental Swim (Samsung Boğazıçi Kitalararasi Yarislari or Samsung Boğaziçi Kıtalararası Yüzme Yarışı) went according to plan as 2,200 people attempted to cross the Istanbul Strait that connects the Black Sea with the Sea of Marmara in Turkey, enabling its participants to claim they swam between Asia and Europe. The course is from Kanlica on the Asian side of the Bosphorus to Kuruçesme on the European side of the Bosphorus.

Doug Woodring explains the start and finish of the 6.5 km strait swim. “All the competitors’ times are recorded with an ankle transponder.

The time is started when the swimmer leaves the boat and steps onto a mat. That starts their own time. So, in theory, a swimmer could be the very last person off the boat and still win the race because the official time is all relative to when they hit the first pad. This system stops the mad rush at the beginning to be first swimmer out of the boat.

The finish time stops when the swimmer climbs out on a ladder onto a finish pontoon and then steps onto the mat which stops their time.

The organizers did use a hand panel once before, but the currents are strong there [near the finish]. Some people can’t reach up to touch the panel after a long swim in the currents, so it is better to do it on the mat once they climb out of the water

American Lexie Kelly attended along with fellow Californians Bill Ireland and Michele Macy. “This event is an absolute gem … it is one-of-a-kind. It was an incredible experience from the second I arrived in Istanbul. The hospitality of the organizers, the accommodations, the event logistics and operations were above and beyond what I have experienced elsewhere. People like Pelin Çelik make this swim a unique and special experience.” Results in English are posted here.

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Steven Munatones