Lake Swimming in Sweden

VanMouVanMou San Luis Obispo, CASenior Member
edited May 2012 in Locations & Networking
I have the idea to do a long swim in a Swedish lake in Dalarna province in the next couple of years. Lake Siljan is the name of the lake, and I am trying to learn more information about it. To that end I've done some googling and poking around, but alas, have not learned much. Also in Dalarna is the quite-well-known VansbroSimningen, a series of swims in a couple of rivers held over 3-4 days. I have emailed various contacts at the VansbroSimningen website, to see if they could point me towards some Swedish swimming luminary that could help me learn about marathon lake swimming in Sweden, but no one responded to my emails.

I bet that someone has swum Lake Siljan before, and I want to learn about their experiences, as I plot and plan for my own possible future adventure. Does anyone have some solid contacts in Sweden that I can reach out to, in the hopes of learning more about a Lake Siljan swim?


  • IronMikeIronMike Northern VirginiaCharter Member
    Isn't Rykno (from the USMS forums) from Sweden?

    We're all just carbon, water, starlight, oxygen and dreams

  • loneswimmerloneswimmer IrelandCharter Member
    edited March 2012
    English Channel Soloist @Sylle is currently living and training in Sweden. His blog is at

  • SylleSylle SwedenMember
    Hej @VanMou, as @loneswimmer mentioned I'm living in Sweden at the moment ... not too close to the Dalarna province, but hoping to move a bit closer to it in the near future.

    I have also been enquiring about long-distance swims in Sweden and didn't get many replies either. I did a swim two years ago in Norrland, I tried contacting all the local kayaking/canoeing clubs, hoping to find one or more support kayaks or boats, but no luck. I ended up renting a canoe for a day and let my girlfriend paddle for nearly five hours.

    Are you looking to do something like this, i.e. getting someone to do the paddling or boat-driving? Or looking for more organized swims? Or a long-distance swimming federation in the country? (I just realized that I've actually never checked if there was one ...)

    I'll be trying again to find a support crew for a few long swims over the spring and summer this year, possibly around Göteborg and Stockholm, possibly inland too.

    Are you planning on travelling to Sweden during the summer?
  • VanMouVanMou San Luis Obispo, CASenior Member
    edited April 2012
    Hej do, Sylle!
    Last summer I swam Lake Tahoe in the south to north direction, and in preparation for that, I learned what I could to be prepared. There was no active organization promoting Tahoe swims (although as of approx. two months ago there is), and so I cast a wide net and managed to find a few swimmers and a historian who where very involved with Lake Tahoe swimming and swimming history. These people became instrumental in my approach to Lake Tahoe. They were people like...Ken Harmon, Karen Rogers, Patti Bauernfeind, Dean Moser. Just talking with someone who had done the swim was valuable as I prepared mentally and logistically for the swim.

    It is my hope to find a Swedish "Jon Jonson" who is to Lake Siljan what Ken Harmon ( is to Lake Tahoe. I am approaching my search with the assumption that that person is out there--the guy or gal that has swim the length of Siljan in the last 10 years. So I just have to locate him/her.

    Ken Harmon was instrumental in guiding me to the route that I selected for Tahoe (as well as providing countless other tidbits of logistical substance). And that route is really the de facto standard now for a length-of-Tahoe swim. So...if one other person has swum Lake Siljan, and I learn that they swam it from, say, Rattvik to Mora (rather than from Leksand to Mora), then I'd be highly motivated to repeat their route.

    I have the good fortune of having some very good friends who live in Vansbro, which is about 50 miles from Siljan, so I will have plenty of logistical support as well as positive and personal Swedish vibes. These folks are boaters, canoers, fishermen, and they are game to provide support for my swim, so that big chunk of the logistics will be amply handled.

    So, Sylle, my search is on for the solitary Swede that has done this swim already, for a Swedish marathon swimming organization, and for people like yourself that I can join forces with to learn more about lake swimming in Sweden.

    I am thinking that Lake Siljan may be a goal for 2013, and I guess it'd be an August timeframe, when the lake is warmed up.

  • david_barradavid_barra NYCharter Member
    I am planning to be in Sweden at the end of July-early August. Plans are to swim a couple of lakes that are around 20k with my good friend Lennart who has been scoping things out. There is an organized 21k swim on August 4th, but it is wetsuit mandatory, and we have not been able to secure permission from the organizer to go naked, so.... looking for alternatives, and I understand there are plenty!

    ...anything worth doing is worth overdoing.

  • WaterGirlWaterGirl Scottsdale, AZCharter Member
    Wetsuit required in Sweden? In August? I thought I sensed a rend in the fabric of the universe...
  • SylleSylle SwedenMember
    @VanMou : it sounds like an exciting quest, a sort of non-completely-defined swim-pilgrimage perhaps? If during my own research I were to stumble upon some information I'll be sure to pass it on to you!

    @david_barra: I'm still half-considering doing this swim (depending on where I'll be living then) ... but if it's neoprene-only then it's a big nej.

    @WaterGirl: I did Vansbrosimningen in July two years ago, 3km in 20°C, it was particularly warm that year and yet 90% were wearing wetsuits and there was only one category for both naked and non-naked swimmers...
  • david_barradavid_barra NYCharter Member
    Niek wrote:
    There are 18 openwater swims planned in 2012 in Sweden that we found.
    Check for the dates and places.
    The website is a bit difficult to navigate, but it is a good list.

    ...anything worth doing is worth overdoing.

  • VanMouVanMou San Luis Obispo, CASenior Member
    edited April 2012
    Thanks, all, for your input. I am in touch with Adam Svensson, who is the organizer of the swim that david_barra mentioned--the Vidosternsimmet on August 4. As I learn more information about Swedish swimming, I will post to this discussion thread.

    Sylle--Yes, if you stumble upon info, please pass on to me. And if possible, can you continue the search for a swedish marathon swimming group? My web searches are impeded by my poor Swedish. Also, I'm interested in knowing more about historic lake water temperatures throughout August and September--again, hampered web searches due to lack 'o Swedish.
  • Maybe I could bring some information to you that are interested in lake swimming in Sweden. First the wetsuits: OW racing in Sweden is growing in popularity, but we have no real tradition here. When discussing the issue of wetsuits or not, very few seem to understand. To my knowledge there is not competition what so ever where suits are abandoned and there are no separate groups, meaning that everybody is racing in wetsuits even if the water is really warm because you swim faster. So I am not racing in Sweden anymore because of that. For me, swimming in the lakes is just a matter of enjoyment without the pressure from a race. I might join a race or two, but it is only for my own swimming. I cannot compete in a fair way with neoprene swimmers.

    Regarding Siljan: From Rattvik to Mora should be something like 20 K or there about. I have never heard of anyone having swam that route, mainly because you just don't do things like that. But in summer, that should be possible to make. And if you say, you can arrange crew and boat, why not? If you want company, I can swim with you if the timing works for me. Just let me know when you want to swim in that case.

    Vidostern is a social swim over 21 K with stops for rest and feed at 5 stops. Wetsuit is mandatory. I swam last year, a very windy and pretty tough experience. But as of this year, I am not swimming in neoprene anymore. Adam says he will not allow naked swimmers for safety reasons, which true bullshit to me.

    David Bara and I will swim over the lake of Hjalmaren in August. That is a 17 K swim. If someone wants to join, let me know. Most probably Anna-Carin Nordin, Sweden's first EC swimmer in something like 50 years, will join us.

    There are thousands of lakes in Sweden so there is no limit to what you can do. Most of the lakes, at least the larger ones, have not been swam before, so there is plenty to do. Welcome all to a great country, at least when it comes to beautiful nature.

    I have some vague plans to invite swimmers to swim "THE THREE LAKE SWIM", which will be close to where I live. We will swim the lake Usken, about 6 K, walk to lake Fasjon and swim that one, about 9 K and finish with Norasjon, about 7 K, all in all 22-23 K in three fantastic lakes. I can't tell yet if it is going to be this year or next.

    That's all for now!
  • david_barradavid_barra NYCharter Member
    Vidostern is a social swim over 21 K with stops for rest and feed at 5 stops. Wetsuit is mandatory. I swam last year, a very windy and pretty tough experience. But as of this year, I am not swimming in neoprene anymore. Adam says he will not allow naked swimmers for safety reasons, which true bullshit to me.

    I have exchanged a couple of emails with Adam... here is his position:
    I know that you and others can do the swim without wetsuit. I just have to convince my partners and make sure that it don´t effekt the security and our responsibility. We have to make sure that nothing goes wrong and take all possible precations. One way to do it is that you will have to have a boat following you the whole race. If there where to be others that woluld like to go without wetsuit could you swim together with them? . In that way we could have a crew following the "nude swimmers....". This swim is more of a "get together have fun swim" than a race. We stop 4 times an walk up on to land and meet the crowd. When you go without suit you get coold when you stop. But if it is ok for you, me and the crowd wolld like you to just get out of the water and run throw the stops back to the water maximun 50 meters. I will talk to my friends about this, don´t think it will be a problem if you accept the terms abowe, and Iwill get back too you.

    ...anything worth doing is worth overdoing.

  • So, that is a nice change. How do you feel about that David? I am slower than you, so you are the one that will "suffer" - and Anna-Carin as well. But on the other hand, the swim across Hjalmaren that I have planned as an alternative, will cause the same problem since we have to swim together there as well.
  • david_barradavid_barra NYCharter Member
    Either way, it will be my pleasure!

    ...anything worth doing is worth overdoing.

  • WaterGirlWaterGirl Scottsdale, AZCharter Member
    I think you would be doing the sport a service by participating in the organized event. You'd be exposing people to the idea that wetsuits aren't necessary for open water swimming.
  • @ WaterGirl

    You are right and we are now signed up for the event.
  • VanMouVanMou San Luis Obispo, CASenior Member
    Thanks for your information about swimming in Sweden. I will be in touch as 2013 approaches. Can you help me get historic lake temperatures for Lake Siljan? Or point me in some directions where I might learn this information? Maybe there is a university natural resources department that I can contact, and they will have research data on that lake, or other Swedish lakes? Maybe the Rattvik chamber of commerce has this type of information? I want to know what I'm getting myself into, and want to be sure the water will be reasonable (e.g. 61 degrees F or warmer).
  • david_barradavid_barra NYCharter Member

    i like the end of this... i almost felt like i was rick-rolled..... almost

    ...anything worth doing is worth overdoing.

  • david_barradavid_barra NYCharter Member

    ...anything worth doing is worth overdoing.

  • molly1205molly1205 Lincoln, NebraskaSenior Member

    Hi all- I will be in Stockholm for World Water Week, August 23-28, and would love to get in a long lake swim on Saturday, Aug. 29, before flying back on the 30th. I didn't find any organized swims in the area that weekend, so looks like it will have to be a DIY swim. I'd welcome any advice for recommended lakes and contacts for kayak support. Thank you!

    Molly Nance, Lincoln, Nebraska

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