More swims at Lake Issyk Kul

In August, three more swimmers completed crossings in the second largest alpine lake in the world, lake Issyk Kul in Kyrgyzstan.

Finishers Daulet, Batybek & Arsenii

As I’ve discussed here before, marathon swimming is, if not new, then very rare in that part of the world. Tooting my own horn, I’ll say that mine and Sarah d’Antoni’s swims in 2016 opened up interest in crossing lake Issyk Kul, and with the help of Olesya Pakseleva, the lake has enjoyed an annual crossing. The latest was held on 26 August.

Arslan from Nomad Sport & Olesya

Originally, seven swimmers were scheduled to cross the lake: three from Kazakhstan, two from the US, and two from Kyrgyzstan. On the eve of the crossing, unfortunately, Olesya found out that the two Americans would not be swimming: they hadn’t received permission from their leadership to do the swim. I’m not sure what leadership; perhaps these folks were Peace Corps like Sarah or embassy employees. As well, one of the swimmers from Kazakhstan didn’t get his doctor’s permission so he wasn’t able to participate.

Three of the swimmers taking off from Kara-Talaa

So four starters. All wore wetsuits, despite Olesya’s protestations. Unfortunately, their times won’t count for any records or claims. As this is still a new sport over there, I’m just happy that people are swimming the lake. We get enough of these events going over there, more people will attempt the swim and more will swim it the EC way.

Arslan briefing the swimmers prior to start

Four started, but only three finished. One of the Kyrgyz swimmers DNF’d. Daulet Kurmanbaev, Arsenii Eliseev and Batykbek Turusbekov all finished in the low 5 hours range.

Batybek & Arsenii after the swim
All 4 starters at the end

Congratulations to all the swimmers, as well as Olesya, Arslan from Nomad Sport, and all the volunteers!

Swimmers, organizers, volunteers & family, all part of the marathon swimming team!

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