In 2012 (August 25th) Mr. Kristinn Magnússon, Mr. Árni Þór Árnason, Mr. Hálfdán Örnólfsson and Mr. Benedikt Hjartarson swam across lake Thingvellir. They started from the Mjóanes and landed in Riðvík 5 km away.  The swim went well, in spite of somewhat heavy side waves most of the way.

The temperature of the water was about 11.5 °C. Mr. Hálfdán Örnólfsson was the first to arrive at Riðvík with a swimming time of 1 hour and 40 minutes, the other swimmers joining him one by one over the next 10 minutes.

Thingvallasund is a dream come true of many swimmers, but only 5 people have completed it.  Mr. Fylkir Þ Sævarsson was the first to do so in 2001, Mr. Kristinn Magnússon completed it the following year (2002) and again now in 2012.

Thingvallasund is listed as number 17 in international listings of the top 100 most interesting open water swims, see World´s Top 100 Open Water Swims

The swimmers were ably assisted by a local Search and Rescue team from Selfoss and good friends who supported them all the way.

Below is a link to a newspaper article about the swim. It is in Icelandic.

Four men swam across Lake Þingvallavatn

Mr. Árni Þór Árnason (1969).


"Swimming in one of the most spectacular national parks in the world touches you.  Pure nature and clean water – an indescribable experience to do this swim in the company of good friends :-)."

Mr. Benedikt Hjartarson (1957).


"Thingvallasund is very different from swimming in the sea. When swimming in the sea the waves will lift the swimmer. In the fresh water the waves hit the swimmer without lifting him. It is therefore more likely to swallow water. My experience was that of learning to swim in fresh water. I had a neoprene cap that floats which was a mistake. The cap lifts the head and impedes an optimal position for Freestyle. For this reason, I swam breaststroke half of the way which is not my swim style and more time consuming. This was still very enjoyable and it is always exciting to try new places."

Mr. Hálfdán Freyr Örnólfsson (1973).


"Absolutely amazing! Saw the bottom for a few meters and then there was just an abyss. Felt really good throughout the swim, had some energy gel twice on the way. Kept a good pace all the way, despite the side wave and when I saw the bottom on the other side there were tears of victory and a completely indescribable feeling. I was overwhelmed and felt like I was doing the impossible, as my body fat % is quite low :))"

Mr. Kristinn Magnússon (1967).


"What did it feel like to repeat a 10 year old experience, but now in the opposite direction. To experience a swim without nutritional intake, to get leg cramps and work through them. To experience group swimming, see the experience of the other swimmers and enjoy having sold them the idea to join me. This time around, the nature seemed more intense, stronger, and I felt the pull of the water. Last but not least, I experienced security in the escort across the lake and the joy when I finally saw all the swimmers on the other shore pleased with their accomplishments. Overall, this swim was easier now than 10 years ago."