Courtesy of Rich Roberts for Los Angeles Times, Huntington Beach, California.

In a Los Angeles Times article on August 9th 1987, Rich Roberts quoted Joseph Coplan after the Lynne Cox’s unprecedented 2 hour 5 minute crossing of the Bering Strait from Little Diomede Island in the USA to Big Diomede Island in Russia [read here].

Nobody else will ever do this [crossing],” said project director Coplan in 1987. “Not in a hundred years. She’s the only one.”

While Coplan’s prediction was not eventually proven true, the impact of Cox’s swim was like a 100-year occurrence. At the time, replicating her crossing was unthinkable. Her feat just could not be replicated – or so it seemed for most of humanity.

For most…but not all.

Swimmers like 17-year-old Russia Elena Guseva (in 1998) and fellow Russians Alexander Brylin and Grigorii Prokopchuk (in 2 hours 7 minutes in 2014) were inspired by the 30-year-old American and strove to replicate by her swim.

Cox inspired more than just three Russians; the impact of her swim helped kick-start the entire ice swimming community and others who do extreme swims and people from all walks of life thinking about, attempting and completing their own dreams on dryland,” said Steven Munatones. “Her achievement gave many the impetus for them to expand their own horizons and try extremely cold water swimming.

Her 1987 crossing also – eventually – planted the seed for the Bering Strait Swim, a six-day relay from Chukotka, Russia to Alaska.

The swimmers of the Bering Strait Swim included Vladimir Chegorin, Maria Chizhova, Elena Guseva, Ram Barkai, Jack Bright, Oksana Veklich, Aleksandr Jakovlevs, Matías Ola, Henri Kaarma, Toomas Haggi, Nuala Moore, Anne Marie Ward, Toks Viviers, Melissa O’Reilly, Ryan Stramrood, Cristian Vergara, Craig Lenning, Rafał Ziobro, Andrew Chin, Jackie Cobell, James Pittar, Paolo Chiarino, Mariia Yrjö-Koskinen, Ivan Papulshenko, Zdenek Tlamicha, Zhou Hanming, Oleg Adamov, Andrei Agarkov, Alekseev Semen, Tatiana Alexandrova, Roman Belan, Elena Semenova, Alexander Brylin, Afanasii Diackovskii, Vladimir Nefatov, Evgenii Dokuchaev, Oleg Docuckaev, Roman Efimov, Dmitrii Filitovich, Olga Filitovich, Victor Godlevskiy, Olga Golubeva, Alexei Golubkin, Alexander Golubkin, Alexsandr Iurkov, Oleg Ivanov, Pavel Kabakov, Eduard Khodakovskiy, Aleksandr Komarov, Aleksandr Kuliapin, Andrey Kuzmin, Irina Lamkina, Vladimir Litvinov, Andrey Mikhalev, Victor Moskvin, Nikolay Petshak, Sergey Popov, Vladimir Poshivailov, Grigorii Prokopchuk, Dmitrii Zalka, Natalia Seraya, Viacheslav Shaposhnikov, Olga Sokolova, Andrei Sychev, Alexei Tabakov, and Nataliia Usachaeva.

Copyright © 2008-2017 by World Open Water Swimming Association