You are here

Swimming Into Switzerland

Brothers, Thierry and Tristan Wilbrandt, recently embarked on a unique adventure - swimming across Lake Geneva from France into Switzerland. The swim took place the end of July and took just over 8 hours to complete. Said Tristan, "There is nothing like being in the middle of the lake, looking around, and seeing absolutely no land. It's complete solitude." Of course, his brother was at his side as well. Why did these two brothers undertake this challenge? "Our parents are immigrants from Switzerland and Germany, and we have many cousins that we stay in contact with," began Thierry. "They all live in different towns on the Swiss side of Lake Geneva." When the boys were young, their parents sent them to visit during the summers, so they were around the lake constantly. Years later, Thierry would ask Tristan one fateful question - if he wanted to swim across the lake. "I expected him to say, 'Are you crazy?' But noooo......he said okay," Thierry recalls. "I couldn't back down, so the swim became a reality."

Both brothers clearly enjoy distance swims. Thierry, the older of the two, primarily trains at the Natatorium or Carmel High School. "Wherever the water is the coolest." Thierry's favorite stroke is freestyle and his favorite event is the 5K. Primarily a fitness swimmer, he enjoys the camaraderie of training with others and the "rare" feeling of being in sync with his stroke and his kick. Away from the pool, Thierry works as an ophthalmologist who enjoys photography, traveling, wine tasting, healthy cooking, cycling, Pilates and hiking. His personal motto? Whether you think you can or think you can't, you're right.

As for the younger brother, Tristan primarily trains at Fishers High School. Also a fan of freestyle, Tristan swims for the cardio workout. "It's a great way to start the morning."  The best swimming moments for Tristan have been either in a lake or an ocean when he is swimming endlessly with no walls in sight. "It's a nice feeling when I finish a long distance event or challenge," he muses. Away from the pool, Tristan works in the financial industry and enjoys concerts, tennis, traveling and paleo/primal cooking. His personal motto? "Don't wait until tomorrow to do what you can do today."

Be sure to congratulate these two brothers on their successful swimming adventure when you next see them at the pool. And, if Tristan doesn't respond, it's okay. He wears earplugs in the water. Wave, say hi, and Meet Your Mates!


By Karen Gernert
Program Administrator
Indy Aquatic Masters

For questions or suggestions, email