Kazakhstan’s Vitaliy Khudyakov has become the first person to complete a 56 km swim in lake Issyk-Kul in Kyrgyzstan.
On August 7, Khudyakov began his swim in order to show support for healthcare workers on the frontlines during the COVID-19 pandemic, and to mark 1 year until the 10 km open water race at the Tokyo 2021 Olympics.
Khudyakov’s 56 km swim broke the previous distance record set on the lake, which was 36 km.
According to the Kazakhstan Olympic Team, he completed the swim in 13 hours.
56 kilometers in 13 hours: Kazakhstan Olympic swimmer Vitaliy Khudyakov set a record on an alpine lake to mark #1YearToGo to open-water marathon in #Tokyo2020, as well as in support of all health workers who are on the frontline against COVID-19 🔥🔥🔥 pic.twitter.com/yCQ50CLKVy
— Kazakhstan Olympic Team (@olympic_kz) August 7, 2020
After Khudyakov completed the swim, his coach and father Evgeniy Khudyakov told the media, “You can count on the fingers of one hand those who swim across more than 50km in the world. And given the fact that Issyk-Kul is a mountain lake at 1,609 meters above sea level – such a swim across has never happened before in the world.”
Khudyakov himself said, “I’m very happy that my efforts were paid off and I achieved this. With this achievement, I would like to support all those who remain on the frontlines of the fight against coronavirus.”
“On behalf of myself and the entire team, we would like to thank all people who are working to save lives and keep communities safe during this pandemic. We sincerely hope that in a year from now at the Olympic Games we will again be able to surprise our fans.”
Khudyakov represented Kazakhstan at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, but he was disqualified in his only event: the 10km open water race. He missed qualifying for the Olympics during his first opportunity at last summer’s World Championships, where he placed 31st in the 5km swim and 16th in the 25km swim, but didn’t race the Olympic 10km event. His last opportunity to qualify will come next year from May 29-30 in Tokyo as part of the Tokyo Olympic Qualifier event.