The idea to Swimrun got a whole different dimension in 2002 when the brothers Jesper Andersson and Matts entered into a bet with Anders Malm, owner of the Vardshus hotel on the island Utö, to race as quickly as possible from Utö to Sandhamn by swimming and running on the islands. Two teams of two began the race to the Sandhamn hotel, the last team would pay for hotel, food and drink, and should eat and drink what the first team had ordered for them. They needed more than 24 hours the first time but it did not stop them to try again the following year. Ötillö was born (ö till ö, literally “from island to island”).
When Mats Andersson and Michael Lemmel were involved in these Swimruns some time later, there were soon several teams at the start (but not necessarily the finish). The race direction was reversed with the start at the hotel Sandhamn and the finish at the Utö’s Vardshus. Now there are 120 teams in three categories at the start (men, women and mixed) of what has become the world Swimrun championship (120 teams with athletes from 26 countries).
In Sweden the sport gained enormous popularity in a very short time and similar competitions are now organised all over the country. The sport is developing fast in terms of material and training level. Ötillö remains the reference and in order to participate in the race qualifiers have been introduced. The first qualifier to be organised outside Sweden was held in 2014 in Engadin, Switzerland.
After Jan Syryn and Dirk Beersmans had participated in both Utö Swimrun and ÖtillÖ ,organising a Swimrun in Belgium had become inevitable. Amphiman was born.
We went looking for a site in Belgium with swimming and running possibilities, providing both challenging nature and the necessary vertical meters.
In the end, only one site qualified : the lakes of the Eau d’Heure.
This lake area is 4 times larger than the second one in Belgium, and consists of 3 water levels (2 dams). Vertical meters guaranteed. The surrounding presence of dense forests provides the opportunity to develop a beautiful track.
In 2015 the first edition took place. It was one of the first races outside Scandinavia (1 in Switserland, 1 in Belgium, 3 in France and 1 in Scotland). In 2016 there were 180 races in 19 countries and 4 continents. There was even a race in Australia.
The sport has grews ever since with races in South-Africa, Uruguay, Brasil, USA, Canada,…