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Cross the Bosphorus: how to make a dream come true?

The 31st annual swim through the Bosphorus showed once again that the competitions became MEGA-popular. 2400 slots for participation spread around the world in just 28 minutes. How to grab your “happy ticket” and swim across the Bosphorus? Today I will tell about my experience.

What does it mean to cross the Bosphorus?

The Bosphorus Cross-Continental Swimming Race is a cross-continental swim from Asia to Europe. The goal is to swim “manually” the Bosphorus Strait, connecting the Black and Marmara Seas, which is almost 7 kilometres. Depth is about 40 meters. A swim without wetsuits, flippers and other auxiliaries – only a swimsuit, hat and glasses. 2 hours are given to overcome the route. The swim is held annually by the Turkish Olympic Committee. During the competition on the strait, shipping is blocked. In total, 2500 participants from different countries participate.

How to prepare and go for a swim


It is held on the website of the Turkish Olympic Committee and it is highly advisable to go ahead of time. Not on the day of purchase of the slot and not the day before, but in a couple of weeks – a month. This will save you from the stress that you risk experiencing in the event of a system error or freeze. If you start registering on the eve of the day of the sale of slots, there is a risk that you will not be allowed to even try to reserve a seat.

Slot purchase

The most difficult thing in conquering the Bosphorus is not the preparation or even emotional disturbances before and during the swim. It is much more difficult to buy a slot – a member’s ticket. I began the advance on the site of the Olympic Committee at 11 pm on January 2 and at half-past three in the night of January 3, I received a treasured message with congratulations on registration. And many of my friends who applied simultaneously with me did not get the coveted slot. It’s a pity.

Physical training

There are many organizations involved in preparing for this kind of competition. I chose LIVE.LOVE. Even though the last time I swam back in 1978, and in January I could not swim 100 meters without stopping, in March my record was already 1 kilometre. Then there was 3.8 km. in its category (where I took 1st place), then crossed the Dnieper (in Zaporizhzhia). Next was the Bosphorus.

Moral training

To conquer the Bosphorus, physical training alone is not enough. It is also necessary to cope with excitement (and this is quite difficult when you have bilateral pneumonia behind your shoulders), put your thoughts in order. I was very supported by loved ones and inspired by the stories of last year’s swimmers. All this helped not to get confused and to mobilize strength in unexpected situations that occurred in the water.

Examine recommendations of experienced

There are a lot of articles on the Internet with a detailed description of the route and landmarks. They should be studied before the swim, it is very useful. But you need to be prepared for surprises, for example, the reverse flow, which every participant risks falling into.

But the main thing, of course, is to believe in your success: that you are lucky to buy a slot, that you have enough strength to swim, that the flow will help, and not push you back. There is such a term in psychology – “the ability to be in the stream.” I think this is the main skill on the Bosphorus.


Marina Ublinskykh

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