Sergey Novikov is the energetic and visionary founder and President of the Russian American Community Association and President of Meeting of the Sun North America.
Meeting of the Sun
5°C water, 30 swimmers, 12 countries, 53 miles, 120 relay legs, 40+ hours.
The Meeting of the Sun will mark the 25th anniversary of Lynne Cox's swim between the Diomede islands. Her 2.4-mile swim from American to Russian soil in 1987 became a catalyst that helped to speed the end of the Cold War.
Inspired by her vision, a new group of international ice swimmers have taken up the banner and are determined to carry it the full 53-mile distance along the Bering Strait. Led by Alexander Brylin, acclaimed cold water swimmer from Russia, and Jack Bright, British open water swimmer and filmmaker, a team of 30 swimmers from more than 12 different countries, including China, Britain, and the United States, have chosen late July of 2012 to make the historic attempt.
Departing from Cape Dezhnev in Russia, the swimmers will each take four legs in the 120-leg relay, swimming an average of 20 minutes and 0.5 miles per leg. Each swimmer will have a 10-hour rest period in between. By sharing the challenge, the athletes will make the 40+ hour journey to the U.S. side, landing at Cape Prince of Wales in Alaska.
The main ship, the Akademik Shokalskiy, and support boats (including a medical frigate) will monitor the health and welfare of the swimmers. Scientists will also be on board conducting experiments related to hypothermia and its effects on the human body, experienced by each swimmer as they make their way through chilling 5°C waves.
The physical demands on the athletes is not the only challenge to overcome. Accomplishing this mission will require the support of governments, both international and state. The Russian Navy, the U.S. Coast Guard, and U.S. Homeland Security, not to mention the state government of Alaska, are among the many that will need to be on alert and in full support of the flotilla. On board will be sailors, athletes, coaches, volunteers, scientists, doctors, government officials and media representatives from all over the world, crossing over from Russian waters into U.S. territory.