There is no other event in the country’s sporting history to have survived throughout years and been still in existence, and to have evolved into such a widely celebrated tradition. Hardly had any of the three men from Varna ever suggested what this undertaking would turn into over the years when they swam for the first time the distance from Galata to Varna in 1914. The marathon swims date back to 1939 and they have been held each year since then, except for 1944 when the marathon did not take place due to the turbulent political situation at that time.

Much can be told about the Galata-Varna swims by the older natives of Varna. There are veteran swimmers who have completed the challenge 20, 30 and more times over the course of several years in a row. This is truly unique for Bulgaria because it is not a competitive sporting event, but rather a grassroots sport. Yes, the best swimmers get the prize, but this is not what matters. The most important thing about this swimming event is the challenge to try your strengths, your persistence and your skills and to fight against the sea. Because the distance in open water covered by these marathon swims is not less than 5 km.

This swimming event would most certainly not have been possible without the good organization involving many institutions and organizations now, when the number of competitors at the start line is already more than 300. The event is hosted by Cherno more Swimming Club which takes on the role of an event planner and coordinator mostly of the efforts of the Naval Forces, the Municipality of Varna, and institutions such as the Maritime Administration, Varna Port, Border Police, the Ministry of Interior, the Bulgarian Red Cross, and over the last few years – with the exclusive support of Agropolychim.

And last but not least, those brave adventurers who complete the challenge swim within the time allowed are given a special certificate which is a unique moral award for their fight against the sea.