The LGSA Signature, also known as 'The Ultimate Trophy Swim', traverses the length of the giant Lake Geneva / Lac Léman from Château de Chillon in Villeneuve to Bains des Pâquis in Geneva. At approximately 70km it's twice as long as the English Channel and made up entirely of fresh water flowing directly from the stunning alpine scenery that surrounds it.
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When is the best time to swim Lake Geneva (Lac Léman)?
Typically the swim season in Lake Geneva (Lac Léman) runs from late June to early September however it is impossible to specify the best day for a swim attempt due to the unpredictability of the weather and conditions on the lake, including water temperature, which can range anywhere between 17ºC and 25ºC. Note however that these temperatures are more susceptible to abrupt changes than in a larger body of water such as the sea. Earlier on in the season the lake is still warming up however you can expect longer days, whilst towards the end of the season the daylight hours are shorter and the water temperature can vary depending on the recent conditions.
Are there requirements to attempt a Lake Geneva (Lac Léman) swim?
Yes. For a solo attempt the LGSA requires that you have a certified self-assessment swim consisting of a ten hour swim, followed by a seven hour swim the following day, in water that is 17ºC/62ºF or colder. For relay attempts the self-assessment swim consists of two 2 hour swims completed on the same day, in water that is 17ºC/62ºF or colder. The self-assessment swim should not be treated as your sole preparation for your swim, but rather it is to give you a good idea of what you are preparing for, and to make you aware of the dangers.
Do not practice swimming alone.
How do I book?
To book please follow this link to reserve your place. You will be prompted to create an account via which you can manage all of the necessary steps including submitting paperwork and making payments. The swim costs 5,800 €, which is split into a 1,000€ deposit and the remaining balance being due by 30th April in the year of your swim.
Where do I train and how do I acclimatise to the cold water?
Swimmers generally build up their resistance for endurance swimming in swimming pools over the winter, whilst completing regular outdoor swims in order to remain acclimatised to the cold water. The open water training season generally begins in May and continues all throughout the swim season. You can ask swimmers in your local area about open water swimming clubs and ways to train with other swimmers. It is not recommended to swim alone.
If you are planning to swim Lake Geneva (Lac Léman) you will need to do swims much longer than your self-assessment swim. Swims can take anywhere between 24 and 34 hours to complete. The more cold water swimming you do the more likely your body is going to adapt to the conditions.
Remember that swimming in fresh water is not the same as salt water and you should be aware of these differences before you begin your training.
How do I find other aspiring Lake Geneva (Lac Léman) swimmers?
It is a good idea to speak to other aspiring swimmers and you can look in your area open water swimmers. Try to gather local knowledge and searching online for open water swimming clubs or Facebook/other groups on social media.
What should I eat and drink?
A swimmer’s nutrition plan is specific to each individual. You will need to refuel throughout your swim attempt therefore you should experiment with different liquids and solids to see what works for you. Never try something new on the day.
Do you provide support crew?
Support crew is your responsibility and and it is important to have a crew that you can rely on and that knows your swimming habits. It is a long swim and your crew should be prepared for little sleep and fluctuating temperatures. The term ‘support crew’ should not be confused with, and does not refer to the skippers, lifeguard(s) and observer(s) who will be onboard your escort boat. These are essential to your swim therefore make sure you check with the LGSA how many crew you plan on bringing.
Each vessel is equipped with the necessary facilities to accompany this kind of swim, nevertheless it is advisable to double check with your skippers the sleeping cabin, toilet and stove arrangements as each boat may vary.
How early can I register for my swim?
You may register as early as you like. Most swimmers book long in advance try and secure their preferred dates.
Is the water clean? What’s the water temperature?
The water quality has been described as ‘excellent’ and the locals generally take great pride this status, with many public swimming zones along the shores of the lake. The water temperature can range anywhere between 17ºC and 25ºC, however please note that these temperatures are not guaranteed, being more susceptible to abrupt changes than in a larger body of water such as the sea, and will depend entirely on the weather conditions in the weeks and days leading up to the event.
Are there any currents?
As with all large bodies of water movement is inevitable. Previous swimmers have given mixed reports of various currents on the lake, and these will depend largely on the conditions just before and during your swim attempt. Nevertheless you should train appropriately for your swim and not rely on any current to carry you to Geneva.
Where should I stay?
Where swimmers stay is down to preference, with many choosing to stay in Geneva in order to shorten the ride home after their swim. For general information on the area, below are some links.
Where do I meet my escort boat?
This should be specified and agreed beforehand with your skipper. Typically swimmers meet the support boat the morning of their scheduled departure at the dock in Villeneuve. You then sail the short distance to Château de Chillon from where swims normally start. As mentioned above no one can predict accurately the weather conditions more than a few days in advance of your swim window. Occasionally accurate forecasts can only be made a day or two beforehand, and even these may be subject to change.
Do people not make it?
Whilst we hope success to everyone, swimmers may not complete their swim attempt for a variety of reasons. Do not be disheartened, however, as many swimmers do make it. In the words of Winston Churchill - “Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.”