Marko Pejchinovski - Lake Ohrid

Ohrid to St. Naum

22.4 km (13.9 miles)

7 hours, 14 minutes on 3 July 2021

Observed and documented by Martina Baleska



  • Name: Marko Pejchinovski
  • Gender: Male
  • Age on swim date: 15
  • Nationality: North Macedonia
  • Resides: Ohrid

Support Personnel

Escort Vessels

  • Lake Legend (OH-971), Ohrid
  • unnamed (OH-943), Ohrid

Swim Parameters

  • Category: Solo, nonstop, unassisted.
  • Rules: MSF Rules of Marathon Swimming, without exception or modification.
  • Equipment used: Textile swimsuit, goggles, earplugs, grease.

Route Definition

Ohrid to St. Naum

  • Body of Water: Lake Ohrid
  • Route Type: one-way
  • Start Location: Ohrid Harbor (41.111914, 20.799159)
  • Finish Location: St. Naum (beach to (right) of Black Drim river) (40.914966, 20.743107)
  • Minimum Route Distance: 22.4 km (13.9 miles) (map)


There is a longstanding professional race in this same body of water: Ohrid Swim Marathon.

Swim Data

  • Start: 3 July 2021, 07:01:45 (Europe/Skopje, Central European Summer Time, UTC2).
  • Finish: 3 July 2021, 14:16:42
  • Elapsed: 7 hours, 14 minutes, 57 seconds.

Summary of Conditions

Feature Min Max
Water Temp (C) 22 22
Air Temp (C) 16 24
Wind (kph) 5 12

GPS Track

Trackpoint frequency: 15 minutes. Download raw data (CSV).

Click to expand map.

Speed Plot

Nutrition: Maltodextrin carbohydrates from My Protein mixed with water and NUUN tablets with different taste. Feeding every half an hour.

Observer Log

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Observer Narrative Report

by Martina Baleska


From the very first beginning, Marko has had a great coach to learn from – his dad, who has completed a swim from Saint Naum to Ohrid in 1984. The combination of having an experienced swimmer as a coach, together with Marko’s determination and willpower were the perfect starting point of his swimming career. At the age of 12, Marko managed to complete almost 23-km swim in Lake Ohrid and he is the youngest swimmer to ever swim this section. Marko has been widely lauded for his success, which has been an additional motivation for him to keep on with his swimming career.

The Swim

This time, he decided to swim from Ohrid to Saint Naum – a route that has never been swum by anyone before. Saturday morning, 03.07.2021, Marko is ready to swim! He started swimming around 7am, as planned. The weather conditions were good, quite cloudy at the start, with some sunshine and a few rainfalls later on. When it comes to the water, it was rather calm in the beginning, with some rattles on the water and some small waves during the swim. Nonetheless, the current was strong, running in the opposite direction of the swim. However, Marko was swimming with a smile on his face and focus. Although he is mostly using his upper body when swimming (due to his imparities in the lower extremities), he kept the stroke pace very steady throughout the whole duration of the swim. He didn’t need anything else than his mindset, his body and his passion to complete the swim.

When coming closer to the goal, we could see many people at the beach who were cheering for Marko. He did it! He received a warm welcome with confetti and a big applause. I felt so much energy here. I was so amazed by his condition – after swimming for more than 7 hours, his breathing was normal and rather calm. His determination, commitment and willpower are inspiration for all of us!

Milestones of The Swim

And finally, I would like to address a few important milestones of this swim:

  • Marko is the first swimmer to swim this route, making him one of the legends of the swimming marathon.
  • Although he is mostly using his upper body when swimming (due to his imparities in the lower extremities), he kept the stroke pace very steady throughout the whole duration of the swim and completed these route within 7 hrs and 14 minutes.
  • This would be the first solo marathon swim in Lake Ohrid done using the MSF documented swim process.

Swimmer Narrative

by Marko Pejchinovski

I started swimming intensively when I was 11 years old, after I was diagnosed with a rare disease called ‘Perthes’. I fell in love with the sport back then and I’m still in love with it now. That’s why I set my goals so high. My first big open water swim was at the age of 12, when I swam from Saint Naum to Ohrid and I became the youngest person to ever do it. I knew I could do more, so that’s why I tried swimming 64k at the age of 13. However, after 12k of swimming, I was forced to stop the swim because of the everlasting pain I felt in my leg. After that, I had 2 surgeries and I was recovering for more than a year. After months off, I was ready to swim again. I had plenty of time to think about what my comeback swim was going to be. I had to think of something unique, something no one has ever done and I thought of the perfect route, why I don’t swim the same route that everyone is swimming but start from the other side and that was perfect. It was the best route for the comeback swim. I started training October the 15th. I trained for 8 months 5 to 6 times a week, and the majority of the training was done in a small swimming pool. My biggest inspiration going into the swim was the thought of how big the comeback was going to be.

And the day came, my first significant swim after almost two years. The swim went perfect from start to finish. There were no problems. Everything went according to plan. I became the first person to ever swim from Ohrid to Saint Naum. –(22.4k) and I did it in less than 7 hours and 15 minutes.


Click to enlarge.



Appendix A: Weather