Lake Issyk Kul Swim Fed

Welcome to the Lake Issyk Kul Swimming Federation (LIKSF). LIKSF was formed to provide a point of contact for marathon swimmers interested in crossing this beautiful body of water. But we are not just for marathon swimmers! If you enjoy swimming in Issyk Kul, then you belong here!

There are currently three sanctioned routes for marathon swimmers wanting to cross Issyk Kul:

Historical Crossing:

historical crossing

This crossing is based on a Kyrgyz myth, as retold here. The crossing is on the western side of the lake, between the village of Kara-Talaa in the south and Toru-Aygyr in the north, a distance of about 13.5km. Traditionally, the routing is from the south to the north, but crossing north to south is also sanctioned. As of August 2017, four men besides me have crossed the lake on this route (I completed it in the time of 6:02, observer logs here, swimmer narrative starts here. The times and names of the other four are at the LIKSF home on FB). Sarah D’Antoni is the only woman and the fastest person to have crossed the lake on this route (4:43 and observer logs here).

Eastern crossing:


This crossing is between the village of Ananyevo in the north and Kirpichny in the south, a distance of 33km. Akhmed Anarbaev is the only person to date to have completed this crossing, in 1982 in a time of 10:42.

The big cheese:

big cheese crossing

This crossing is the widest point in the lake, from the village of Barskoon in the south and the village of Grigorevka in the north, a distance of 60km. A relay team of four, including Akhmed Anarbaev and other members of the 1968 Soviet Olympic swim team, completed this swim in the 1990’s in a time of approximately 18:00.

For more information on swimming in Issyk Kul, contact us at: SwimIssykKul(at)gmail(dot)com and visit us on Facebook.

All I am is a body adrift in water, salt & sky