Taking on the challenge of swimming Bear Lake has become increasingly popular over the past couple of years. The lake has attracted marathon swimmers with its clear blue water and beautiful mountain surroundings and has challenged them with 19+ miles of cold water. With James Jonsson's recent inclusion in the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame, talk of forming a Bear Lake Swimming Federation and several attempts already planned in the next few years, the swim is expected to continue to increase in popularity.
Following is an unofficial list of successful crossings of both the width and length of Bear Lake. I do not claim that this is a complete list and I am positive that there have been other crossings. The swims listed below have all been well documented.
Length ~ 19+ miles
Current Record: James Jonsson - July 22, 2010 - 8:43:26
Neal Phelps- July 18, 2009 - 13 hours
As far as anyone knows, Neal was the first person to successfully swim the length of Bear Lake.
John Quackenbush - August 10, 2009? - 15 hours
John was the second person to swim the length of Bear Lake and the first to swim it following Channel swimming rules.
James Jonsson - July 22, 2010 - time 8:43:26
James was included in the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame for his record breaking swim.
Width ~ 7 miles
Current Record: Gordon Gridley - July 3, 2010 - 4:34:44
Chris Bowcutt - July 15, 2009 - 7 miles - 4:45
Gordon Gridley - July 3, 2010 - 7.1 miles - 4:34:44
Scott and Rachele Kunz (relay) - ? 2010 - 8 miles - 3:40
As was mentioned above, this is not a complete list. If you or someone you know has completed a swim across Bear Lake (length or width), please send me an email with the details at email@example.com or leave a comment below. Any documentation of these swims would be greatly appreciated. Likewise, if there are any errors in any of the information listed above, please let me know so that I can correct them.