Background

Sarah Jane Hails, encouraged by Lewis Gordon Pugh, became the first woman to successfully swim across the Sognefjord in 2004.

On 15 August 2004, British lawyer Lewis Gordon Pugh swam into the harbour of the coastal village of Eivindvik in Norway. He had swum the entire length of the 204 km long Sognefjord, plus an extra 7 kilometres in a total time of 74 hours and 47 minutes.

He had set the record for the longest cold water swim in the world.

Lewis Gordon Pugh's determination and physical strength attracted national and international attention. Throughout his swim, he was encouraged and supported by local people; his journey along the fjord revived their interest in using this beautiful and diverse fjord as an arena for cultural and sporting activities.

"In the final stages of his fjord swim in 2004, Lewis Gordon Pugh asked a group of swimmers from Leikanger to do something which had never been done before - to swim across the Sognefjord from Borlaug to Leikanger, a distance of 3.7 km. .A swim of this distance is a great challenge," said Lewis. On 17 August 2004, five swimmers successfully crossed the fjord. They were the founders of 'The Sognefjord Challenge'. A record book documenting completed fjord swims is kept at the Sognefjord Hotel, Leikanger.

Following this success, Lewis suggested to a larger group of locals from Leikanger and Balestrand that an annual swimming event be arranged, one that would bring the people of the fjord together and promote swimming and water activities. Enthusiastically, locals took up the challenge and worked hard to bring this idea to fruition, and in 2005 the first ever fjord swimming festival was held. In 2006, the cooperation expanded to also include the people of Feios in Vik, and the festival became an award winning success.

In February 2007, Sogn Fjord Swimming Club was founded, the world.s first ever fjord swimming club. Sogn Fjord Swimming Club is open to all swimmers, kayakers and fjord enthusiasts who wish to work together to ensure that the dream that has now become reality continues.