Sea of Galilee
The Sea of Galilee, also Kinneret, Lake of Gennesaret or Lake Tiberias (Hebrew: ים כנרת, Judeo-Aramaic: יַמּא דטבריא, Arabic: بحيرة طبرية), is the largest freshwater lake in Israel, and it is approximately 53 km (33 miles) in circumference, about 21 km (13 miles) long, and 13 km (8.1 miles) wide.
At 214 meters (702 feet) below sea level, it is the lowest freshwater lake on Earth and the second-lowest lake in the world (after the Dead Sea, a saltwater lake). The lake is fed partly by underground springs although its main source is the Jordan River which flows through it from north to south.
The Sea of Galilee (Kinneret) is situated in northeast Israel, near the Golan Heights, in the Jordan Rift Valley.
The modern name, Kinneret, comes from the Old Testament or Hebrew Tanakh "sea of Chinnereth" in Numbers 34:11 and Joshua 13:27, and spelled "Chinneroth" in Joshua 11:2.
In the New Testament the term "sea of Galilee" is used in the gospel of Matthew 4:18; 15:29, the gospel of Mark 1:16; 7:31, and in the gospel of John 6:1 as "the sea of Galilee, which is the sea of Tiberias", the late first century name. Sea of Tiberias is also the name mentioned in Roman texts and in the Jerusalem Talmud, and was adopted into Arabic as About this sound Buhairet Tabariyya (help·info) (بحيرة طبريا).
All Bible writers use the term "sea" (Hebrew yam or Greek thalassa) except the gospel of Luke, written to Theophilus of Macedonia, where it is called "the lake of Genneseret" in Luke 5:1, from the Greek λίμνην Γεννησαρέτ, (limnen Genneseret), the "Grecized form of Chinnereth" according to Easton, who says Genneseret means "a garden of riches".
There have been several lengthwise crossings of the Sea of Galilee:
- Yitzhak Yehezkel pioneered the 22 km lengthwise crossing of the Sea of Galilee from Zemah to Tabgha in 9 hours 39 minutes 44 seconds on 28 October 1944.
- Yitzhak Yehezkel swam 20.5 km across the Sea of Galilee from Capernaum to Zemach in the north-to-south direction in 10 hours 18 minutes 20 seconds on 23 August 1953.
- Yitzhak Yehezkel swam 20.5 km across the Sea of Galilee from Zemach to Capernaum in the south-to-north direction in 8 hours 33 minutes 25 seconds on 9 October 1955.
- Bill Welzien, an American open water swimmer and race director of the 12.5-mile Swim Around Key West, completed a 10 hour 25 minute solo crossing of the 21 km Sea of Galilee on 2 September 2009.
- Hadar Aviram, a professor at University of California Hastings School of Law, completed a 9 hour 30 minute solo crossing of the 21 km Sea of Galilee on 21 December 2013.
- Salvatore Cimmino, a disabled Italian swimmer and amputee swam 17 km the Sea of Galilee on 7 May 2010 on his tour Swimming in the Seas of the Globe (A Nuoto nei Mari del Globo) to promote disability awareness.
- Theodore Yach, a businessman from Cape Town, South Africa, completed an 8 hour 2 minute 22 km solo crossing on 4 September 2014 in a tandem swim together with Avishug Turek.
- Avishug Turek, an Israeli marathon swimmer, completed an 8 hours 22 minute 22 km solo crossing on 4 September 2014 in a tandem swim together with Theodore Yach.
- Avishug Turek and Guy Cohen completed a 6 hour 15 minute tandem crossing of the Sea of Galilee on 29 June 2017.
- Avishag Turek completed the first 41 km two-way crossing of the Sea of Galilee in October 2019, swimming in the north-to-south-to-north direction in 14 hours 54 minutes.
- John Zemaitis and Joe Zemaitis completed a two-way crossing of the Sea of Galilee swimming in the south-north-south direction in 14 hours 52 minutes, the fastest two-way crossing in history with observer Guy Cohen and escort boat captain Lior Eliyahu on 15 November 2019.
- Guy Cohen established the Galilee Sea Marathon Swimming Association in 2020 to foster official crossings of the Sea of Galilee.
- On 5 May 2020, Avishag Turek completed her 10th crossing of the Sea of Galilee in Israel in 6 hours 19 minutes 15 seconds.
Sea of Galilee Perimeter Swim
Udi Erell, Oded Rahav, Luc Chetboun, Doron Amosi, Ben Enosh, Ori Sela, Shani Moskuna, Adina Faur, Amnon Salai, Ami Ginsburg, Dror Belkin, Or Kind, Tal Fridman, Tal Snunit, Avishag Turek, Oded Gross, Erez Tzuk, and Tzvika guided by the support team of Avi Ruso, Ido Kessler, Avi Ben David, Daniel Kobrinski, Adam Wadell, Ariel Elisar, Shimon Rainish, Moti Ermlin, and Yahly Shafrir completed a Perimeter Swim, a 3-day stage swim in the Sea of Galilee in Israel.
- Day 1 stage swim of 18.15 km in 5 hours 42 minutes 18 seconds from the north Hukuk Beach through Tiberias to Beit Yerach
- Day 2 stage swim of 15.7 km in 5 hours 15 minutes 53 seconds from Beit Yerach to Ha’On beach and from there to Lavnun Beach
- Day 3 stage swim of 13.4 km in 4 hours 16 minutes 42 seconds from Lavnun beach ack to Hukuk
The Galilee Marathon Swimming Association by Guy Cohen and Eyal Schachner of Israel was nominated for the 2020 WOWSA Awards in the World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year category with the following nomination: The Galilee Marathon Swimming Association was on a roll. Co-founders Guy Cohen and Eyal Schachner researched and compiled several decades of historical data about widthwise and lengthwise crossings of the Sea of Galilee since 1944. They planned, prepared and promoted the longest and most difficult solo swimming course in Israel in order to meet a growing domestic and international interest. But then the COVID-19 pandemic hit and everything came grinding to a hall. But the Association got busy again after lockdowns and travel restrictions were lifted and were able to safely organize and officially ratify the marathon swims and relays for 34 swimmers. For their energy, wisdom, seriousness that Guy Cohen and Eyal Schachner bring to the sport of marathon swimming, for their meticulous planning and organization of swims in a safe manner during a pandemic in the Sea of Galilee and the Mediterranean Sea, for their data-filled website and authoritative resources that they make available to the international community, the Galilee Marathon Swimming Association is a worthy nominee for the 2020 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year.
2019 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year Nomination
The 21 km lengthwise crossing of Sea of Galilee is rapidly gaining in popularity with the increased participation of marathon swimmers, administrators, officials, volunteers and pilots in Israel. Avishag Turek has emerged as the most prolific marathon swimmer and became the first person to complete a 41 km two-way crossing of the Sea of Galilee in 14 hours 54 minutes. The 43-year-old’s pioneering efforts are inspiring others – domestically in Israel and international swimmers from around the globe - to follow her large wake of accomplishments. For being the first Israeli to complete the Triple Crown of Open Water Swimming and achieving many other firsts for Israeli marathon swimmers, for helping promote marathon swimming in the Sea of Galilee, and for serving as a role model and Israeli icon with her unprecedented feats, the Sea of Galilee two-way crossing by Avishag Turek is a worthy nominee for the 2019 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year.
Open Water Swimming
The Sea of Galilee is also site of the mass participation open water swimming event called the Sea of Galilee Swim that attracts over 10,000 participants annually in September. The Sea of Galilee Swim is the largest amateur sports event in Israel and has been held 61 years commemorating the Jewish New Year (Rosh Hashanah). The event course goes from Ein Gev to the finish in Tiberias. It is one of the World's Top 100 Open Water Swims and includes 3 distances: 1.5 km, 3.5 km and 6 km.
Sea Defenders' Swim for a Clean Mediterranean
The Sea of Galilee was one site of the Sea Defenders' Swim for a Clean Mediterranean, a 6 km swim in the Red Sea, a 6 km swim in the Dead Sea, a 6 km swim in the Sea of Galilee and a 6 km swim in the Mediterranean Sea over a 24-hour period in May 2018 with Udi Erell, Oded Rahav, Doron Amosi, Luc Chetboun, Ben Enosh, Ori Sela, Avishag Turek, Adina Paur, Yair Palti and Erez Amir.
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- 2019 World Open Water Swimming Offering Of The Year Nominees
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