Varna is a seaside resort city on the west coast of the Black Sea in Bulgaria. It is considered to be the 'Sea Capital of Bulgaria'.
For 67 years, Varna has hosted the Galata-Varna 4.4K Swimming Marathon. Petar Stoychev, the current English Channel record holder, has won this event numerous times.
In addition to hosting the Galata-Varna 4.4K Swimming Marathon on August 8th, 2009, Varna will host a pro Petar Stoychev, FINA 10K Marathon Swim World Cup event in 2009 on August 9th with the support of the local and national governments when Bulgaria annually celebrates its Black Sea Navy Day.
The start and finish of both races will be held in front of Varna's main beach where thousands are expected to cheer on the world's best marathon swimmers. With an average water temperature of 23°C (74°F) and air temperature of 28°C (82°F), the conditions are expected to be nearly ideal for amateurs and on the warm side for the pros who will be competing for US$20,000 in prize money.
The competition will give country hero Stoychev the chance to perform in front of a partisan home crowd. As Stoychev said, "Open water swimming has given me a great opportunity to travel the world. As a young child in school studying geography and looking at maps of the world, I never dreamed I could one day go to Canada, Asia and South America to swim. It is a great experience."
Photo of start preparations at the Varna Swimming Marathon from xpucmo.
Copyright © 2008 by World Open Water Swimming Association