Lake Baikal (Russian: о́зеро Байка́л, tr. Ozero Baykal, IPA: [ˈozʲɪrə bəjˈkɑl]; Buryat: Байгал нуур, Mongolian: Байгал нуур, Baygal nuur, meaning "nature lake") is the world's oldest lake at 30 million years old and deepest lake with an average depth of 744.4 meters. It is called the "Pearl of Siberia" and is part of the Still Water Eight, located in the southern Russian region of Siberia, between Irkutsk Oblast to the northwest and the Buryat Republic to the southeast.
Lynne Cox did a marathon swim for the first time in the lake that drew global attention to the most voluminous freshwater lake in the world, containing roughly 20% of the world's unfrozen surface fresh water.
At 1,642 meters (5,387 ft), Lake Baikal is the deepest and among the clearest of all lakes in the world. Similarly to Lake Tanganyika, Lake Baikal was formed as an ancient rift valley, having the typical long crescent shape with a surface area of 31,722 km2/12,248 sq mi, less than that of Lake Superior or Lake Victoria. Baikal is home to more than 1,700 species of plants and animals, two thirds of which can be found nowhere else in the world and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996. It is also home to Buryat tribes who reside on the eastern side of Lake Baikal, rearing goats, camels, cattle and sheep, where the regional temperatures vary from a minimum of −19°C (−2°F) in winter to maximum of 14°C (57°F) in summer. Lake Baikal is nicknamed "Older sister of Sister Lakes (Lake Khövsgöl and Lake Baikal)".
Still Water Eight
The Still Water Eight is a group of 8 marathon swims in lakes that is a goal of seriously-minded marathon swimmers who are focused on still-water marathon swims. Successful completion of these 8 marathon swims has never been recorded by a single individual. It was first publicly announced by Michelle Macy in October 2011.
Completion of the Still Water Eight can be recorded in three categories:
2. non-wetsuit (i.e., FINA approved swim suits)
3. channel-standard swimwear (i.e., traditional swimming briefs for men and no arm or leg coverage for women)
If the swimmer chooses to swim one of the Still Water Eight swims in a wetsuit, they would fall into the wetsuit category. Likewise if they swim in a FINA-approved swimsuit, they fall in that category. If they swim across all the lakes in channel-standard swimwear, then they fall into the channel-standard category.
Every swim attempt must start and finish on dry land.
1. Loch Ness (Scotland): 23 miles/37K, water temperature averages 50°F/10°C in season. Known for its deep black and chilling waters.
2. Windemere (England): 10.5 miles/16.9K, water temperature can be as low as 55°F/13°C in season. The largest natural lake in England.
3. Lake Zürich (Switzerland): 16.4 miles/26.4K, water temperature 66.2–75.2°F/19-24°C. This lake has an annual international competition.
4. Lake Tahoe (USA): 21 miles/35.4K, water temperature is 50–58°F/10–14.4°F. Difficult due to cool water and air temperatures and high altitude.
5. Lake Baikal (Russia): 7-10 miles/11-16K or blaze a course of equal or greater distance,water temperature can be as low as 50°F/10°C. The world’s oldest and deepest lake is also a UNISECO World Heritage Site.
6. Lake Taupo (New Zealand): 21 miles/34K, water temperature 51–73°F/11–23°C. The largest lake in New Zealand is located on the North Island.
7. Lake Ontario (Canada): 31.5 miles/51K, water temperatures are variable in a matter of hours due to wind (50–72°F/10-22°C. Difficult swim due to unpredictable wind and currents.
8. Lake Titicaca (Bolivia–Peru): Temperature is 56-58°F/13-14.5°F and is highest lake in the Americas.