Kazakhstan’s Vitaliy Khudyakov Completes 56-Kilometer Swim for Tokyo Countdown

Vitaliy Khudyakov Photo Courtesy: Kazakhstan Olympic Committee

Vitaliy Khudyakov has completed a 56-kilometer swim over 13 hours in a lake in Kyrgyzstan, Vitaliy Khudyakov .

The swim took place last week in Issyk-Kul, the second-largest Alpine lake in the world at 1,609 meters above sea level. It’s also one of the deepest lakes in the world.

The swim, which took place Aug. 5, coincided with the postponed Olympic 10-kilometer race in Tokyo, which Khudyakov had qualified for. Khudyakov competed in the 10K swim at the Rio Olympics but was disqualified. He has competed internationally in races up to 25K.

According to the Kazakhstan Olympic Committee, the longest previous crossing of Issyk-Kul was a 36-kilometer swim.

The swim was also to support frontline healthcare workers battling the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I’m very happy that my efforts were paid off and I achieved this,” Khudyakov said. “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 trained by swimming 35k marathons and taking long hikes, starting in April. He estimates that the swim takes him over 300 kilometers swum this year. The swim was originally planned for 54 kilometers, but conditions added two kilometers on the day. Water temperatures for the swim hovered just below 20 degrees Celsius.

“I am glad I achieved this result,” Khudyakov told the Astana Times. “My efforts were not for nothing. I hope I can surprise my supporters with good results at the Tokyo Olympics next year.”