1. Abdel-Latiff Abo-Heif of Egypt, voted the greatest marathon swimmer of the 20th century, completed a 60-mile professional solo lake race across Lake Michigan on August 23-24, 1963 during the Jim Moran’s Lake Michigan Swim Challenge from Chicago, Illinois to Benton Harbor-St. Joseph, Michigan. Abo-Heif finished in 34 hours and 38 minutes.
2. Ted Erikson, an inductee in the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame, finished the same 60-mile swim in 37 hours and 31 minutes.
3. Yuko Matsuzaki , a former professional marathon swimmer from Japan, completed a 51.5- mile (83K) solo swim in 33 hours and 25 minutes in Lake Cane in Orlando, Florida on September 13th, 2008.
4. Greta Andersen finished a 31-hour, 50-mile professional solo lake race from Chicago, Illinois to Kenosha,Wisconsin, the 1962 version of the Jim Moran’s Lake Michigan Swim Challenge.
5. Ted Erikson also finished that 1962 50-mile Lake Michigan race in 35 hours and 45 minutes.
The longest solo continuous marathon swims performed in the ocean were completed by Susie Maroney and Diana Nyad.
Susie Maroney swam 111.8 miles (180K) from Cuba to Florida in May, 1997 (done in a shark cage), 58 miles (93.6K) from Mexico to Cuba in June, 1998 in 38 hours and 33 minutes (a recognized Guinness world record) and 99.4 miles (160K) from Jamaica to Cuba in September, 1999. Because her longer swims were done in a shark cage and wetsuit, they are not recognized by the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame for record purposes, although no one can argue the incredible physical and mental endurance that was demonstrated.
Diana Nyad swam 50 miles along the Great Barrier Reef in Australia and swam 102.5 miles (165K) from North Bimini, Bahamas to Juno Beach, Florida in 1972, but withdrew after 42 hours in a 1978 attempt from Cuba to Florida after swimming 99.7 miles (160K).