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Sumo wrestler swims across Bear Lake twice

Sumo wrestler swims bear lake

BEAR LAKE, Idaho - U.S. sumo wrestling champion and Rigby native Kelly Gneiting decided he was going to do what most would consider would be an unthinkable challenge - and he did it.

Weighing-in at over 400 pounds, the world-famous wrestler swam the width of Bear Lake twice, making it a 14-mile swim against the windy and stormy conditions.

"I just hope that people everywhere don't let their weakness or their perceived weakness stop them from fulfilling their dreams and reaching their goals," Gneiting said. "That's what this was all about."

Gneiting started at 1 Monday morning and finished by 5 that evening. He swam the entire way, without a break, next to two flankers from the Bear Lake Swimming Association - one in a kayak and another two men in a boat.

One of the men decided he did not want to be named in this story because he said the conditions were so dangerous, he did not want people to know he agreed to partake in this challenge.

He said this sort of challenge should never be tried by anyone on their own.

One dispatcher from the Utah Marine Patrol Office said they already know of two people who drowned in Bear Lake this year alone, and does not encourage anyone to take on this physical task.

Gneiting agreed it was dangerous, saying he felt at times as if he bit off more than he could chew.

But, he said what kept him going was the fact that he wasn't doing this for himself. He felt compelled to finish this challenge for everyone else who feels as if they aren't able to accomplish what they deem to be impossible.

"I feel like I represent fat people everywhere and when I can come out here and succeed at swimming something like this, through a miracle, then hopefully it changes the way people think about big people," he added.

Gneiting also beat the world record in 2008 to be the heaviest man to have completed a marathon.

He says his next goal is to swim the 21-mile wide English Channel, but he'll be taking a break from the water for awhile.

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