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18:26 | Aug 02 | 2013

Preparations for the Intercontinental Swim across the Bering Strait

There is not much left before the official start of the intercontinental swim across the Bering Strait on route Chukotka - Alaska dedicated to several anniversaries: the 270th anniversary of the expedition of Vitus Bering, the 365th anniversary of the expedition of Semyon Dezhnev, the 110th anniversary of the Russian Geographical Society in Yakutia, the 70th anniversary of the airway AlSib, and the 50th anniversary of the feat of the crew of K-19 submarine.
The details of this ambitious project have been told by the participants and organizers on a press conference held at the Republican Press Center.
The event was attended by the Vice-President of Yakutia Dmitry Glushko, the head of the organized group of the swim Oleg Dokuchaev, the Vice-President of the Association of Polar Explorers Pavel Seleznev, the Deputy Chairman of the organizing committee and the head of the Amur Regional Federation “AKVAYS-Sport” Alexander Brylin, the editor of the Book of Russian Records Alexey Svistunuv, the head of the  Main Office of the organizing committee Yury Melnikov and the swim participants Maria Yurjö-Koskinen, Semyon Alekseev and Ram Barkai.
According to Oleg Dokuchaev, they have been preparing to the swim for about two years; organizers seriously took the training of athletes-swimmers. During this time, they organized four preliminary swims from 67 to 120 km in the Amur Bay, which were held in similar conditions. “These swims let us create a worthy hard-working team, which will have to pass the still unconquered Bering Strait”, - he said.
The international team composition is the most diverse. The youngest participant, Alexander Golubkin from Blagoveshchensk, is 13 years old; the oldest one, Viktor Moskvin from Novosibirsk, is 67. All in all, athletes from 17 countries will take part in the swim. The Russian team is represented by 11 cities, four of which - Andrey Kuzmin, Gregory Prokopchuk, Afanasy Dyachkovsky and Semyon Alexeev - will represent Yakutia.
The width of the Bering Strait at its narrowest point is 86 km, but due to the crosswind, participants will swim a distance of about 120 km. With an average speed of 3 km/h it will take them about 40 hours to cross the strait. The swimmers will change each other along the distance; each of them will be in the water for 20 minutes on the average. One swimmer will pass two or three such stages, depending on the number of participants. Average water temperature will be 0 - 8 ˚C.
The international team will take the way on August 4 at 06:00 pm from the village Uelen not far from Cape Dezhnev. Preliminary finish time is 08:00 pm of August 6 at Cape Prince of Wales, Alaska. The team will be accompanied by rescue rafts throughout the route.
As the participants of the swim said, their main goal is to unite the world and promote winter or ice swimming.
“Winter swimming is becoming more popular in the world and especially in Finland; the number of its fans is growing, and we hope that it will be officially recognized as an individual sport”, - Maria Yurjö-Koskinen, the swim participant and the president of the International Association of Winter Swimming, said.
“This is a great event that will bring together people from all over the world and draw attention to swimming in icy water. This type of swimming have many advantages if you have experience and certain knowledge”, - Alexander Yakovlev, the Vice-President of the International Association of Winter Swimming, added.
The main organizers of the swim are the Khabarovsk Regional Public Association of Veterans of the RF Armed Forces, the Inter-regional Public Organization of Veterans of the Eastern Military District and the Far Eastern Center for Social Rehabilitation of Military Men. The project is supported by the Russian Geographical Society and the RF Ministry of Defense.