The 2001 swim

In 2001 (August 5th) Mr. Fylkir Þ. Sævarsson became the first man to swim across Lake Thingvallavatn.

On the day of the swim I got tremendous help with preparations from Mr. Kristinn Magnússon and his wife. I absentmindedly forgot to put on my swim trunks before leaving for the swim, so the first thing I needed to do was find a secluded place to undress and put on my trunks. Quite a number of people had shown up to watch the swim since I had been interviewed by the very enthusiastic press earlier that day. The rescue team was ready and waiting and nothing left except to go. The weather was fine with very little wave action.

Since I had always before swum along the shoreline for safety reasons I was a little apprehensive about swimming out into the lake itself. I expected to find cold currents coming from crevices at the bottom of the lake. As I swam into deeper waters farther from shore it felt more like swimming in the open ocean. In the middle of the lake I gazed down and it was seemingly bottomless but became more shallow and then became bottomless again. The deep cold current never came. After a little over two hours of swimming I came to shore on the sandy beach between Riðuvík and Markartangi. Quite a number of people were there to greet me and the media was there as well.

My preparatory training swims really made a difference and I didn’t have any shivers at all after the swim. Up until this point in time the common expression “Aything that sinks in Lake Thingvallavatn will never come up again.” My swim proved this expression to be false. This fact alone made a great deal of difference to me.

Fylkir swimming in Lake Thingvallavatn.