History

The initial idea for a swimming event across Lake Þingvellir came from Mr. Fylkir Sævarsson in the summer of 2000.

He turned his idea into reality the following year when he swam from the tip of Mjóanesoddi in the county of Bláskógabyggð, across to the sandy beach between Riðvík and Markartangi in the county of Grímsnes and Grafningshreppur.

Mr. Fylkir Þ. Sævarsson 2001.

During the summer of 2002 Mr. Kristinn Magnússon, who is a childhood friend of Fylkir from the Swimming Team of Hafnarfjörður, swam across the lake from the sandy beach to the Mjóanesoddi which is the opposite direction of Fylkir's swim.

Mr. Kristinn Magnússon 2002.

Then in the summer of 2003, Kristinn got the idea to make the swim an annual event. By this time he had swam from the Vestmann Islands to the mainland. His idea concerning the Þingvalla swimming event is to let more people participate in the swim. The swim will be from the Mjóanesoddi as in the first swim across the lake.

 

The story of the swim.

The initial idea for swimming across the lake came to me during the summer of 2000 while I worked as a watchman of some telecommunications equipment located on top of Mt. Miðfell. From there I had a good view of the lake during my long day or night shifts. I therefore had plenty of time to ponder over my idea anytime during the day or night. The more I thought about the swim the more determined I became.

The following fall I moved to Denmark where I now reside and I used the winter to mentally prepare myself.

I came back to Iceland early in the summer of 2001 and started working on maintenance of the Sogsvirkjun dam. This meant that I lived in the area of the lake throughout the week and it made it easy for me to try the cold waters after I finished work. To begin with I swam in the river between the Ljósafoss dam and the Írafoss dam. The current in the river is not very strong so it suited me well to swim out into the current, find a rock on the bottom to get my bearings and swim against the current much like a runner uses a treadmill for running. The longer the periods I spent in the river, enabled me to start swimming in Lake Þingvellir itself.

It was a magical experience swimming along the shoreline at the south side of the lake at the outfall. The bottom was much different from the bottom I knew from ocean open water swimming. The high water visibility and bottom terrain were much different. What surprised me the most was the cold current rising up from deep fissures. Looking down into the seemingly bottomless abyss sent a shiver down my spine. My training swims went well never the less and I started bicycling to warm myself up after spending long periods in the water. Cycling caused my chills and shivering to stop which otherwise would have been part of the routine. At this point I was around 105-110 kg (231-242 lb.) and I gradually increased the length of time I spent in the water. I estimated it would take about two hours to swim across the lake so that I focused on being able to spend 45 to 60 minutes in the lake at a time. Since I had planned on working in Iceland for only six weeks that summer, my preparations were on a tight schedule. I also had to decide where to make landfall on the other side of the lake. I chose a sandy beach between Riðvík and Markatangi as a good place to get out of the water.

During weekends I used Lake Vífilstaðavatn and Lake Elliðavatn as training grounds. Many anglers in Lake Elliðavatn felt my swimming in the lake would reduce their chances of catching fish and the game warden agreed with them, which meant that I turned my training efforts to Lake Vífilsstaðavatn. I also trained in Lake Úlfljótsvatn. One night after work, a week before my scheduled swim, when I had spent two hours swimming in lake Þingvallavatn, I decided my preparation training was complete. Four weeks had passed since I started my training. I spoke to the farmer at Mjóanes and got his permission to start my swim from the tip of Mjóanestanga. I also spoke to the Life Rescue Organization at the town of Selfoss, which has Lake Þingvellir within its jurisdiction. There was little to do except count the days to the swim.

Mr. Fylkir Þorgeir Sævarsson.

 

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The 2001 Swim.

Read about the 2001 Swim.
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The 2002 Swim.

Read about the 2002 Swim.
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The 2012 Swim.

Read about the 2012 Swim.
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