Martyn Webster - Lake Lucerne

Lucerne to Seedorf

34 km (21.1 miles)

11 hours, 29 minutes on 13 September 2020

Observed and documented by Tom Rutter




  • Name: Martyn Webster
  • Gender: male
  • Age on swim date: 53
  • Nationality: Great Britain
  • Resides: Rapperswil, Switzerland

Support Personnel

  • Hanspeter Lehnhard - pilot
  • Tom Rutter - observer
  • Cat French - crew / feeds
  • Sally Bantock - comms & feeds

Observer marathon swimming experience: Dart 10K (2015, 2016), Lake Zurich 26km (2017), English Channel (2019).

Escort Vessel

Name Type Port
Larson SE 1 powerboat Lucerne

Swim Parameters

  • Category: Solo, nonstop, unassisted.
  • Rules: MSF Rules of Marathon Swimming, without exception or modification.
  • Equipment used: textile swimsuit (Budgie Smuggler), silicone cap, goggles, GPS watch

Route Definition

  • Body of Water: Lake Lucerne
  • Route Type: one-way
  • Start Location: Kongress Zentrum Jetty, Lucerne (47.050275, 8.313855)
  • Finish Location: Seedorf SeePanorama Beach (46.888979, 8.603000)
  • Minimum Route Distance: 34 km (21.1 miles) (map)


No known previous swims of this route.

Swim Data

  • Start: 13 September 2020, 7:20:45 (Europe/Zurich, UTC2).
  • Finish: 13 September 2020, 18:50:11
  • Elapsed: 11 hours, 29 minutes, 26 seconds.

Summary of Conditions

Feature Min Max
Water Temp (C) 17 21
Air Temp (C) 15 26
Wind (knots) 0 4

GPS Track

Trackpoint frequency: 30 minutes. Download raw data (CSV).

Click to expand map.

Speed Plot

Nutrition: Every 30 minutes. Sponsor Long Energy, Iso Star Endurance+, banana, ibuprofen.

Observer Log

Download PDF


by Martyn Webster

How the swim came about

In 2019 I visited a friend in Vitznau on Lake Lucerne. I had never been there before but was amazed at the blueness of the water and the amazing mountainous backdrops. Jaw droppingly beautiful!

All around you have mountains towering above you – Rigi (1798m), Burgenstock (1898m), Klingenstock(1935m), Stanserhorn (1898m) and Brisen (2404m) to name a few…..and then lake snaking between. This makes it a truly special lake.

Later in 2019 we hiked the Klingenstock and saw the views from above – even more stunning. I vowed to come back and swim in 2020.

Following this I started to investigate hiring a boat. I generally use the ‘Click and Boat’ app – there you can find all sorts of boats for rent and got in touch with Immanuel von Aesch at Lake Villa Lotus, a villa and boat rental company just outside Lucerne. One of their boats was perfect and I agreed to get back in touch in 2020 when I had an idea of date.

2020 for most people has been a disaster swim wise. For most marathon swimmers anyway. I had planned to swim SCAR in May, Antibes in June, Loch Ness in August and finish in Molokai. Squeezing in a local swim…maybe in July. Well most of the this was not possible due to COVID and travel/quarantine restrictions.

However, I am lucky enough to live on a lake and to have been able to continue training….. pretty much as I have trained in previous years. Granted the pools closed and I needed to swim much longer distance in the lake much earlier than planned….but all was possible!

As each planned swim disappeared, I was determined not to waste the training and decided to look closer to home. The revised plan for this year was to start with the Obersee (11km) a local swim, then Lake Annecy (14km) in France, then Lake Zurich (26km), then Lake Lucerne (35km)….with one more planned in October…..maybe Lac Neuchatel…weather and body permitting.

Back to Lake Lucerne or the Vierwaldstättersee. Translates as the ‘four forest cantons’. It’s an interesting lake – there are so many start and end points you can do. There are at least 2 35km routes and a 38km routes that would be of interest.

Picture from Pilatus – source Wikipedia – The Photo doesn’t do the lake justice!


Our first idea was to start in Alpnachstadt…..and swim to Seedorf…but from a logistics point of view starting in Lucerne was much more convenient. So, we planned for starting in Lucerne early and finishing in Seedorf….in order to avoid major boat traffic in the Lucerne area.

All the team briefed before swim – MSF rules, swim plan, logistics and feed plan – via WhatsApp meeting video call.

The Swim

It was a 4.30 start from Lake Zurich where we all live. Tom greased me up and we set of from the jetty outside the Kongess Zentrum at 7.20. It was the first time we had met the pilot. Although I had taken him through everything and my feed plant over the phone, I don’t think he realized I was swimming without a wet suit. A few of the people were around, took photos and asked me what I was doing – proclaiming I was crazy…to which I replied…probably and set off into the sun rise.

The first 4-5km you are heading out of the Lucerne area ….and then into the main body of the lake. The day was as planned…..sun….little wind and great swimming. I just crack on and swim to the next feed! Water temp was around 18-20 deg C all the way. Air temperature 18-25 deg C. Perfect!

No major issues in the swim…..the only hazards really are boats and in particular ferries…but the team alerted me to any around.

Around 14km you encounter the narrowest point in the lake and a lot of chop as you swim from one side to the next and again as you round the Seeliberg at 24km.

I wish I had something amazing or remarkable happen during, but it didn’t. The last 12 km were great ….as I knew it was a straight swim in. Turning the corner at Brunnen I got a real psychological boost and really enjoyed the swim in.

The only annoying part was the actual finish. I had not visited it. On google maps it looked like a beach. It was of sorts. Only you had to scramble over rocks to get to it and it was quite shallow from some way out. So a little time lost working to reach the finish. Then job done and back to the boat for some real food and enjoy the boat trip back

I was happy with the swim and the time it took. Bang on my estimation.

Each year I think…can I do this again? Mentally I think I was not as prepared as previous years. But have a strategy to get through, which works for me. I missed the SwimTrek training camp in Mallorca for the first time in 5 years. I lost 20kg in weight since Nov, so feel the cold a little more…not that this was cold….but these thing plays on your mind. So nice to know I can do this. But then again I’m not swimming at 12 degC for 11hrs this year….a few more beers and pizza needed for that!


Click to enlarge.