For 62 years, the Sea of Galilee has been the site of a mass participation open water swim called the Sea of Galilee Swim.
It attracts over 10,000 participants annually in September. The 63rd annual Sea of Galilee Swim will be held September 16th this year and remains the largest amateur sports event in Israel.
Commemorating the Jewish New Year (Rosh Hashanah), the swim is one of the World’s Top 100 Open Water Swims with 3 distances of 1.5 km, 3.5 km and 6 km.
Of all the countries in the world, Israel is only known country where the country’s largest sporting event is an open water event. The course starts at Ein Gev and finishes in Tiberias.
Ilan Ben Dror is one of the organizers. He explains why the event so large in a country of 8.4 million people.
“Because Israel is very small country with one lake and one big open water swimming event a year that has been going on for the last 62 years. It is a tradition and we have benefitted from the great marketing efforts of Speedo Israel.“
In a nod to safety for the thousands of athletes who participate in the event, insurance and an ergonometric test are required. Additionally, boats and rafts are stationed every a few hundred meters along the route. If swimmers get tired, they can climb onto the watercraft for a brief rest and continue when they are ready.
Copyright © 2015 by World Open Water Swimming Association