Longest Open Water Swims

The Marathon Swimmers Federation recognizes the following all-time Solo Distance Records for open water swimming:

Extended Lists

About MSF Recognized Records

Record-eligible swims must be observed, documented, and conducted according to unassisted rules. Distances are measured by the shortest path1 along a natural route2.

Records are classified along three dimensions:

  • Body of water: ocean, lake, and river.
  • Continuous3 vs. multi-segment4 swims.
  • Current-neutral5 vs. current-aided swims.

If you believe a historical swim is missing from these lists, please contact us to begin the authentication process.

We’re happy to advise any challengers to these records. You may also wish to consult the MSF Documented Swims documentation guidelines.



Longest Open Water Swim
and Longest Lake Swim

The longest continuous, unassisted, current neutral swim along a natural route in open water.

Sarah Thomas
168.3 km (104.6 miles)
Lake Champlain

Ratified by Marathon Swimmers Federation

Route: Gardiner Island loop from Rouses Point
(New York / Vermont, USA)

67 hours, 16 minutes

August 7-10, 2017

Documentation



Longest Ocean Swim

The longest continuous, unassisted, current neutral swim along a natural route in an ocean, sea, or bay.

Chloe McCardel
124.4 km (77.3 miles)
Exuma Sound

Ratified by Marathon Swimmers Federation

Route: South Eleuthera to Nassau, Bahamas

41 hours, 21 minutes

October 20-22, 2014

Documentation



Longest Ocean Swim (multi-segment)

The longest unassisted swim along a multi-segment natural route in an ocean, sea, or bay.

Jon Erikson, Philip Rush,
Alison Streeter, Chloe McCardel
101.4 km (63.0 miles)
English Channel triple crossing

Ratified by Channel Swimming Association

Route: England to France to England to France

Erikson: 38 hr 27 min on Aug 10-11, 1981
Rush: 28 hr 21 min on Aug 15-16, 1987
Steeter: 34 hr 40 min on Aug 1-2, 1990
McCardel: 36 hr 12 min on Aug 8-9, 2015



Longest Lake Swim (multi-segment)

The longest unassisted swim along a multi-segment natural route in lake or reservoir.

Vicki Keith
95.0 km (59.0 miles)
Lake Ontario double crossing

Ratified by Solo Swims of Ontario

Route: Leslie Street Spit to Port Dalhousie to Queens Quay Terminal (Ontario, Canada)

56 hours, 10 minutes

August 5-7, 1987

Note: The distance of this swim is occasionally reported as 104 km. However, the standard straight-line distance between the start location (Leslie Street Spit), the turnaround location (Port Dalhousie), and returning to Queens Quay Terminal is 95.0 km.



Longest Ocean Swim (open currents)

The longest unassisted swim in an ocean or sea, which may benefit from surface currents.

Veljko Rogošić
194 km (120.5 miles)
Adriatic Sea

Route: Grado to Riccione (Italy)

50 hours, 10 minutes

August 29-31, 2006

Documentation

Note: This swim was recognized by Guinness World Records (GWR) as the longest distance ever swum without flippers in open sea." However, limited details are available about the swim, and GWR has declined to share any documentation. MSF categorizes this record separately from current-neutral swims due to strong and predictable currents in the Adriatic Sea. We also cite the standard straight-line distance between Grado and Riccione (194 km), in contrast to GWR's use of GPS track distance.



Longest River Swim

The longest continuous, unassisted swim in a river.

Ricardo Hoffmann
481 km (299 miles)
Paraná River

Route: Corriente to Santa Elena (Argentina)

84 hours, 37 minutes

March 3-6, 1981



Longest Current-Neutral Swims

Name WaterRouteDist kmDateDurationSpeed kphCategory
Sarah Thomas Lake Champlain Gardiner Island loop from Rouses Point NY 168.3 2017 Aug 10 67:16 2.5 lake, island loop
Sarah Thomas Lake Powell Bullfrog UT to Wahweap AZ 128.7 2016 Oct 6 56:05 2.29 lake, one-way
Chloe McCardel Exuma Sound South Eleuthera to Nassau, Bahamas 124.4 2014 Oct 22 41:21 3.01 ocean, one-way
Penny Palfrey Caribbean Sea Little Cayman to Grand Cayman 108.1 2011 Jun 12 40:41 2.66 ocean, one-way
Jon Erikson English Channel triple crossing 101.4 1981 Aug 11 38:27 2.64 ocean, multi-way
Philip Rush English Channel triple crossing 101.4 1987 Aug 16 28:21 3.58 ocean, multi-way
Alison Streeter English Channel triple crossing 101.4 1990 Aug 2 34:40 2.93 ocean, multi-way
Chloe McCardel English Channel triple crossing 101.4 2015 Aug 9 36:12 2.8 ocean, multi-way
Abdel-Latif Abou Heif Lake Michigan Chicago IL to Benton Harbor MI 96.6 1963 Aug 24 34:38 2.79 lake, one-way
Ted Erikson Lake Michigan Chicago IL to Benton Harbor MI 96.6 1963 Aug 24 37:31 2.57 lake, one-way
Vicki Keith Lake Ontario Leslie St Spit to Port Dalhousie to Queens Quay Term. 95 1987 Aug 7 56:10 1.69 lake, multi-way
Tita Llorens Mediterranean Sea Ibiza to Mallorca 84.3 2015 Jul 16 28:13 2.99 ocean, one-way
Tina Neill Pacific Ocean San Clemente Island to Palos Verdes 84 2012 Sep 6 28:41 2.93 ocean, one-way
Greta Andersen Lake Michigan Chicago IL to Kenosha WI 80.5 1962 Aug 22 31:00 2.6 lake, one-way
Ted Erikson Lake Michigan Chicago IL to Kenosha WI 80.5 1962 Aug 22 35:37 2.26 lake, one-way
Philip Rush Lake Taupo Taupo - Waihi - Taupo 80.4 1985 Jan 14 23:05 3.48 lake, multi-way
Sarah Thomas Lake Memphremagog Newport - Magog - Newport 80.4 2013 Sep 7 30:01 2.68 lake, multi-way


Longest Current-Aided Swims (excluding river swims)

Name WaterRouteDist kmDateDurationSpeed kphCategory
Veljko Rogošić Adriatic Sea Grado to Riccione, Italy 194 2006 Aug 31 50:10 3.87 ocean, one-way
Diana Nyad Atlantic Ocean Bimini to Juno Beach, Florida 145 1979 Aug 20 27:41 5.24 ocean, one-way
Skip Storch NY/NJ Harbor Estuary Manhattan triple circumnavigation 137.7 2007 Aug 29 32:52 4.19 estuary, circumnavigation
Stacy Chanin NY/NJ Harbor Estuary Manhattan triple circumnavigation 137.7 1984 Aug 29 33:29 4.11 estuary, circumnavigation


Selected Assisted Swims

Name WaterRouteDist kmDateDurationSpeed kphEquipment
Susie Maroney Straits of Yucatán Isla Mujeres, Mexico to Las Tumbas Beach, Cuba 200 1998 Jun 1 38:33 5.19 shark cage, stinger suit
Susie Maroney Cayman Trough Montego Bay, Jamaica to Marea del Portillo, Cuba 170 1999 Sep 15 34:50 4.88 shark cage, stinger suit
Susie Maroney Straits of Florida Havana, Cuba to Key West, Florida 166.2 1997 May 13 24:31 6.78 shark cage
Zhang Jian Bohai Bay Lushun to Penglai 109.75 2000 Aug 10 50:22 2.18 wetsuit
Tammy Van Wisse Bass Strait King Island, Tasmania to Apollo Bay, Victoria 97 1996 Feb 6 17:46 5.46 wetsuit, shark cage


Notes

  • 1 Open water swim distances are measured by the route distance - the shortest path that fulfills the route definition (not the length of the GPS track).
  • 2 A natural route utilizes only permanent geographical features to define the route waypoints. This excludes routes defined by buoys or other artificial objects.
  • 3 On a continuous swim, the swimmer must swim (or float) continuously from start to finish, without touching land or otherwise gaining flotational support.
  • 4 On a current-neutral swim, the swimmer does not gain a net benefit to their progress from any surface currents that may exist along the swim route.
  • 5 A multi-segment swim is comprised of two or more distinct sub-routes between which the swimmer touches land (typically, for up to 10 minutes). For example, a double crossing of the English Channel.