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Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Long Beach Or Seine For 2024 Summer Olympics?

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

The 2014 Olympics will either be held in Los Angeles or Paris. The bidding process and lobbying will culminate in a vote later this year.

The Los Angeles 2024 bid committee released a video of its proposed venues for the 2024 Los Angeles Olympic Games, potentially the third time in history that the IOC has selected Southern California for its quadrennial event (including 1932 and 1984).

The plans in Los Angeles have been praised far and wide while utilizing many existing facilities and sporting venues that have been used for professional, international and collegiate championships over the years.

"But I was very surprised that the dark, still waters within the Long Beach breakwater were selected as the proposed site of the Olympic 10K Marathon Swim," observed Steven Munatones. "With many more scenic and much more iconic locations along the coastline from Laguna Beach to Malibu, the area within the breakwater is a place where relatively few locals go and very few locals swim."

The area was selected because Long Beach is one of the five Olympics zones (Valley, Olympic & Paralympic Village, Downtown, South Bay and Long Beach). With plenty of parking and plenty of room for the other Olympic events, it is certainly a cost-effective area to host the marathon swim.

It is the same location as the open water swimming competition at the 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games, but swimmers can barely see their hands in the ocean water because the water is usually murky. The Queen Mary and the buildings of downtown Long Beach can be seen in the distance, but it is really a non-descript portion of the Southern California shoreline.

The Surfrider Foundation described the area that does not benefit from natural circulation of the Pacific Ocean. "Since the breakwater was created, Long Beach’s waterfront has deteriorated. The natural flow of the ocean current and waves had previously assisted in keeping the beaches and waters in Long Beach free from stagnating pollutants. With the breakwater, urban runoff or stormwater from the Los Angeles River gets trapped within the harbor.

But without a doubt, the selection of the area and the layout of the marathon swim course combined with the other sports of the Long Beach Sports Park make complete logistical, spectator viewing, film production and economic sense.

Fans will be able to roam the wide sandy beach and enjoy not only the marathon swimming and triathlons, but also sailing, handball, BMX, and water polo competitions. So the selection of the oceanfront within the Long Beach breakwater is understandable from a macro perspective
."

So it looks like it will be either Long Beach or the Seine for Olympic marathon swimmers and fans in 2024.

Copyright © 2008-2017 by World Open Water Swimming Association

A Life And A Legacy Around The Island

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

James Toomey is an American open water swimmer who was inducted in the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame in 1971 as an Honour Administrator.

Toomey conceived the idea of the 36 km (22.5-mile) Around the Island Swim in Atlantic City, U.S.A. in 1953 and served as its race director until 1964.

He was elected as the first president of the World Professional Marathon Swimming Federation in 1971.

Toomey is shown with Herman Willemse on his right and Mary Kok on his left.

Copyright © 2008-2017 by World Open Water Swimming Association

UANA Open Water Swimming Champs Return



Courtesy of Denny Ryther, Grand Cayman Island, Cayman Islands.

The Flowers Sea Swims will concurrently serve as the 2017 Unión Americana de Natación Open Water Swimming Championships on June 9th - 12th in the crystal blue waters and white sandy beaches of Grand Cayman.

2017 will see the 25th anniversary of the Flowers One Mile Sea Swim and race visionary Frank Flowers fly in 25 swimming Olympians to attend.

"Last year over 1000 swimmers participated who ranged in ages from 8 to 80 years of age and skill levels ranging from novice swimmers to gold medal Olympians," reports Denny Ryther. "This is one of the largest races in the Americas as well as being one of the safest. Hundreds of volunteers, including a well-trained rescue staff and an experienced medical staff, make the swims extremely safe.

Participants also receive an excellent goodie bag and are entered into a random drawing (1 in 7 swimmers win). Past prizes include Blackberries, iPads, hotel stays and airline tickets to premier destinations. More importantly, all registration proceeds go to the Cayman Islands Cancer Society. Last year’s event help establish a bone marrow registry
."

The UANA Championships were added this year that allows swimmers to swim four events in four days. Each of the events includes Juniors (17 and under), Seniors (18 and over) and Masters events. The lead officials have officiated Pan American Game and World Championship events while other officials may come and gain valuable international experience.

Competitors include national team members from Canada and the United States as well as from around the Caribbean and South America. You have an opportunity to gain international racing experience, swim in some of the most beautiful waters in the world and swim with and against Olympians.

Schedule of Events
June 9th: UANA Senior 5 km mixed relay + UANA Junior 2.5 mixed relay + UANA Masters 2.5 mixed relay
June 10th: 25th Annual Flowers One Mile Swim
June 11th: UANA Senior 5 km + UANA Junior 2.5 km + UANA Masters 2.5 km
June 12th: UANA Senior 10 km + UANA Junior 5 km + UANA Masters 5 km

Swimmers may swim up. For instance, a junior swimmer could swim in the senior mixed relay, swim the mile, swim the junior 2.5 km, and the senior 10 km marathon swim.

Cayman Swimming will offer open water swimming clinics for both swimmers and coaches. There will also be plenty of time available to visit some of Cayman’s world-renowned tourist attractions including Stingray City, 7 Mile beach and the Turtle Center.

Officials planning on attending should contact Denny Ryther at dryther13@hotmail.com. This is the first UANA Open Water Swimming Championships since 2006 and the first time that masters swimmers are included.

Currently, Canada, Cayman Islands, Peru, St. Kitts & Nevis, and the USA will send a full contingent of its elite swimmers with additional UANA member nations expected to participate.

For more information, visit here.

Video shows a local report on the 2009 Flowers Sea Swim when Anthony Nesty, Ryan Lochte, and Ian Crocker participated in the 17th Annual Flowers Sea Swim. Photo shows Frank Flowers and his daughter Dara Flowers-Burke.

Copyright © 2008-2017 by World Open Water Swimming Association

What Does Maarten van der Weijden See? 102 km

Courtesy of Maarten van der Weijden.

2008 Olympic 10K Marathon Swim champion Maarten van der Weijden is preparing for and visualizing his upcoming 24-hour swim on May 23th - 24th in order to benefit cancer research (Swimik ga 24h zwemmen Groot 2).

Follow Maarten on Facebook here.

Copyright © 2008-2017 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Southern Pacific Masters Open Water Swimming

Courtesy of SoCal Cup, Lower Castaic Lake, Southern California.

The Southern Pacific Masters Swimming announced its 2017 summer open water swimming schedule:

* 4th Annual SoCal Cup Open Water Championships* (see here) in Castaic Lake on May 20th-21st
* 48th Annual Seal Beach Rough Water Swim** (see here) in Seal Beach on June 24th
* Newport Beach Pier to Pier 2 Mile Open Ocean Swim (see here) in Newport Beach on July 8th
* Don Burns CDM 1 Mile Ocean Swim*** (see here) in Corona del Mar on August 19th
* Nadadore Mile Swim in Lake Mission Viejo on September 24th

* The Southern California Cup Open Water Championship will offer a unique format along the shores of Lower Castaic Lake. The race will feature an preliminary and final format where swimmers compete in smaller heats to compete on a 500m triangular preliminary course. The top finishers in each heat will advance to the Championship Final 1500m held on a 1000m course. Swimmers who do not advance to the final will compete in the consolation final 1500m race.

** 2016 3-mile Results for Top 3 Men and Women:
1 Abram Marvel 55:25.28
2 Mark Tripp 57:02.35
3 Keith Dickson 57:04.91

1 Samantha Nassif 1:01:06.94
2 Ellin Whitney 1:01:11.86
3 Amy Dantzler 1:01:22.41

*** Don Burns was a high school teacher and coach in the Newport-Mesa Unified School District for 31 years, and he was a Newport Beach lifeguard for 47 years. Burns is a member of Millennium Hall of Fame (inducted 2000) and was well-known for being an easygoing gentleman with great dignity who left a legacy of Nice Guys Finish First.

Copyright © 2008-2017 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

USA Swimming's New Leader Has Open Water Experience

Photo courtesy of Al Bello; text courtesy of USA Swimming, Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Upon the recent passing of long-time USA Swimming CEO Chuck Wielgus, Mike Unger was named as USA Swimming’s Interim Chief Executive Officer.

Unger is unusual at the highest levels of swimming in the U.S. and among the 208 members within FINA because he has done open water swims before including some of the world's largest open water swims in Lake Balaton, Hungary.

Unger will oversee the 400,000+ member organisation headquartered in Colorado Springs including all USA Swimming open water swimming teams, activities, camps and events.

During his 24-year career at USA Swimming, Unger has served as Chief Operating Officer, Assistant Executive Director, National Events Director, Marketing Director and National Team Coordinator will overseeing all major events, including the US Olympic Trials, the Golden Goggle Awards, the Duel in the Pool and Pan Pacific Championships.

Unger has literally shaped the image of USA Swimming and its star athletes by being involved with all of USA Swimming’s television broadcasts since 1996 in addition to assisting with television production at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, 2000 Sydney Olympics, 2004 Athens Olympics, 2008 Beijing Olympics, 2012 London Olympics and 2016 Rio Olympics and winning three Emmy awards as part of the NBC production team.

Unger also has close ties on the global scene, partly based on his service as the Managing Director for the FINA World Cup Swimming series and work as the key liaison between FINA and local organizers, broadcasters and delegations attending the World Cup competitions.

"Mike has always been responsive to the athletes and input from coaches," says Steven Munatones. "Every email to Mike or phone call to him have been answered promptly and with an intense desire to immediately and compassionately address the needs of swimmers or coaches. USA Swimming is well-positioned to carry on under Mike's professional and friendly-type of leadership."

Copyright © 2008-2017 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Can Mealworms Swim?

Courtesy of National Geographic Magazine.

Because such an overabundance of plastic refuse presents such an increasing problem in the world's oceans, it might be an interesting solution to the over-polluted planet if mealworms could swim and exist in water without creating other unforeseen or unanticipated problems.

Young Sitivi Wins Apolima Strait

Courtesy of Seti Afoa, Apolima Strait Swim, Samoa.

Six soloists and three teams completed the 22.3 km swim Apolima Strait Swim from Upolu to Savai'i in Samoa.

The youngest of the pack led the way and has the potential to become the best hope for Samoa open water swimming on the international scene.

Not only was the 16-year-old Sitivi So'oa'emalelagi the youngest person to swim across the Apolima Strait, he also became the first Samoan champion and was the second fastest time in history.

Robin Rasmussen Rose and Tiffany McQueen were the first American women and Christina Harris became the first South Islander from New Zealand to swim to Savaii. Team Jo Armstrong was an interesting mix of three swimmers: Jo Armstrong is 60, Gerry Glover is 50, and Abby Armstrong is 30. Meanwhile, Noelani Day of Team Tonga and Durant Webster of Mexico were the youngest swimmers at the age of 13.

All the soloists were awarded Savai'i citizenship for their solo efforts.

"The most enduring part of this swim is the incredible swim by young Sitivi," reported Seti Afoa of Samoa Events. "His time of 5 hours 37 minutes is a fast one, considerably so. His late coming into the race and qualifying for Apolima Strait on March 18th with only three weeks to race day.

The issue with Sitivi’s Apolima ambitions was, if any, had to do with long distance swimming. Up until his qualifier Sitivi’s longest swim was 4 km in the Samoa Swim Series in August 2015. Sitivi had been competing in Samoa Swim Series races since 2012 as an 11-year-old and regularly podiumed against overseas swimmers.

Going to 10 km for the qualifier might still be relative to his pool sessions with Tanifa o le Vai national squad but 22.3 km in the open sea? That was the unknown factor
."

Afoa was in a kayak beside Sitivi on race day and helped him prepare for the longest swim of his life. "After his qualifier, I got him to do more slow 10 km swims and 3 x 5 km workouts up until April 7th. Then Sitivi did 3 x 10km swims and 3 x 7 km swims, then he rested."

But Afoa remained worried about his young protege. "Sitivi had not done the long lead-in preparations that the other swimmers did. Swimmers for this race prepared well in advance of four months. Getting their shoulders and bodies used to handling that distance is a matter of calculated evolution of movement.

We cannot expect the body to perform at a level it is not used to. Sitivi’s shoulders, no matter how fast he is, have not turned over at speed beyond two hours of swim training at best. That was the unknown factor. To then continue at 14 minutes per km in the open sea for five hours is the most incredible part
."

Afoa acknowledged that Samoa has a special talent in the young swimmer. "He is the best open water swimmer we have. His pool ambitions may have to give way to his true talent. National coach Suzie Schuster is no doubt mulling over Sitivi’s Apolima result and how best to re-direct her swimmer."

The 2018 Apolima Strait Swim will be held on April 7th.

Solo Results
1. Sitivi So'oa'emalelagi (16 from Samoa) 5:37:27
2. Paul Feltoe (43 from New Zealand) 6:48:10
3. Christina Harris (53 from New Zealand) 6:53:11
4. Tony McLean (47 from New Zealand) 7:18:38
5. Robin Rasmussen Rose (56 from USA) 8:31:55
6. Tiffany McQueen (44 from USA) 9:35:00

Team Results
1. Team Tonga (Peni Finau, Andrew Emberson, Noelani Day, Finau Ohuafi) 6:35:00
2. Team Jo Armstrong (Jo Armstrong, Gerry Glover, Abby Armstrong) 7:39:01
3. Team Paid for by Mexico (Alex Montoro, Eric Howard, Stuart Brown, Durant Webster) 7:45:00

Photo above show Apolima Strait solo swimmers, Paul Feltoe , Tiffany McQueen, Christina Harris, Sitivi So'oa'emalelagi, Robin Rasmussen Rose, and Tony McLean.

Copyright © 2008-2017 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Monday, April 24, 2017

Swim To The Limit For The Longest Swim

Courtesy of Léa Hagemeier, Paul Lecomte, Pacific Ocean.

Ben Lecomte will keep on swimming for 36 hours non-stop in San Diego Bay starting on April 24th until his Kickstarter campaign for The Longest Swim is fully completed.

Lecomte, who swam across the Atlantic Ocean in 1998, and his team are currently preparing in San Diego for another transoceanic attempt. At the beginning of next year he will swim across the Pacific Ocean from Tokyo to San Francisco. "More than just a swim, The Longest Swim will be a platform to raise awareness of the state of the oceans," explains project manager Paul Lecomte. "Working with 13 scientific organisations, it will be the first citizen science expedition of its kind."

"We recently launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise necessary funds for food and airtime during their expedition. That campaign is finishing next weekend," said Lecomte in his appeal. "In an attempt to raise the remaining funds, we are prepared to push themselves to the limit. Beginning on Friday April 28th at 8 am in San Diego Bay, I will start the Swim To The Limit challenge, swimming non-stop in San Diego Bay until either the crowdfunding goal is met or the end of the campaign is reached - potentially a 37-hour swim."



Live streaming of the Swim To The Limit event will be on Facebook. Live tweets from the event will be on Twitter (#swimtothelimit). Pictures and videos are posted on Instagram. To donate or participate, visit here.



The schedule is as follows:

Thursday April 27th: Warm-up, ocean swimming trials and preparation, and interviews between 2 - 8 pm
Friday April 28th: 8 am start of Swim To The Limit
Saturday April 29th: 9 pm end of the campaign on Kickstarter

The event will be held along Harbor Island Park located at 1875 Harbor Island Dr, San Diego, California 92101. For more information, contact Paul Lecomte via paul@thelongestswim.com or telephone at +1 (512) 502-4270.

Lecomte's Kickstarter campaign for his unprecedented solo stage swim across the Pacific Ocan is currently underway here.

Copyright © 2008-2017 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Ricardo Valdivia Wins USMS Championship Around Lido Key

Courtesy of Paradise Adventures Sarasota, Sarasota, California.

The year after the 7-mile (11.2 km) Swim Around Lido Key was cancelled due to weather, race directors David Miner and Steve Butler were hoping for the best.

As the weather cooperated this time, Miner and Butler put on an outstanding comeback swim that concurrently served as the 2017 U.S. Masters Swimming Marathon Distance Open Water National Championship.

Like the sun rising, local Ricardo Valdivia did not disappoint. After winning the inaugural race in 2 hours 27 minutes two years ago, the 52-year-old nearly equaled his time in this year's circumnavigation, winning in 2 hours 28 minutes and 19.7 seconds, toughing it out over 31-year-old Craig Frederiksen and 30-year-old Michel Heijnen.

Men's Results:
1 Ricardo Valdivia (52) 2:28:19.7 (21:11 per mile pace)
2 Craig Frederiksen (31) 2:33:29.6 (21:56 per mile pace)
3 Michel Heijnen (30) 2:33:55.0 (21:59 per mile pace)
4 Scott Wells (55) 2:39:43.4 (22:49 per mile pace)
5 Mark Loftis (56) 2:43:24.3 (23:21 per mile pace)
6 Bob Garcia (40) 2:45:31.7 (23:39 per mile pace)
7 John Batchelder (36) 2:46:26.0 (23:47 per mile pace)
8 James Biles (56) 2:46:49.2 (23:50 per mile pace)
9 Thomas Schwartz (57) 2:47:38.3 (23:57 per mile pace)
10 Diego Lopez (35) 2:48:31.2 (24:04 per mile pace)
11 Alan Bell (66) 2:48:35.9 (24:05 per mile pace)
12 Serbo Simeoni (51) 2:49:43.1 (24:15 per mile pace)
13 Magoo Smitherman (59) 2:49:45.6 (24:15 per mile pace)
14 Rick Walker (66) 2:50:25.0 (24:21 per mile pace)
15 Rob Perkins (50) 2:50:33.3 (24:22 per mile pace)
16 Seth Huston (52) 2:50:46.0 (24:24 per mile pace)
17 Randy Dash (42) 2:51:32.8 (24:30 per mile pace)
18 David Brancamp (55) 2:52:12.5 (24:36 per mile pace)
19 Kyle Poland (36) 2:55:27.2 (25:04 per mile pace)
20 Rob Copeland (60) 2:56:09.9 (25:10 per mile pace)
21 Eric Smith (45) 2:56:39.4 (25:14 per mile pace)
22 Michael Guirl (46) 2:57:25.4 (25:21 per mile pace)
23 Nathaniel Waring (53) 2:58:34.0 (25:31 per mile pace)
24 James Hochstrasser (32) 2:59:41.5 (25:40 per mile pace)
25 Robert Burks (46) 2:59:55.0 (25:42 per mile pace)
26 John Fox (48) 3:00:27.4 (25:47 per mile pace)
27 Edward Riley (58) 3:00:52.6 (25:50 per mile pace)
28 Max Adams (47) 3:02:19.0 (26:03 per mile pace)
29 John Hughes (54) 3:03:57.8 (26:17 per mile pace)
30 Alexander Chororos (43) 3:04:14.0 (26:19 per mile pace)
31 Carl Selles (70) 3:05:25.0 (26:29 per mile pace)
32 Fred Arnold (55) 3:09:58.2 (27:08 per mile pace)
33 Steve Math (54) 3:12:26.3 (27:29 per mile pace)
34 Joe Kurek (47) 3:14:39.9 (27:48 per mile pace)
35 Ian Tarrant (48) 3:16:10.3 (28:01 per mile pace)
36 Michael O'Connor (52) 3:16:47.9 (28:07 per mile pace)
37 Craig Dunbar (54) 3:17:17.7 (28:11 per mile pace)
38 Cyle Sage (51) 3:19:30.0 (28:30 per mile pace)
39 Rich Wills (47) 3:20:30.5 (28:39 per mile pace)
40 Carlos Lloreda (62) 3:20:45.4 (28:41 per mile pace)
41 Michael Treman (60) 3:21:58.9 (28:51 per mile pace)
42 James Loreto (44) 3:22:04.4 (28:52 per mile pace)
43 Laurence Cohen (61) 3:24:00.6 (29:09 per mile pace)
44 Barton Cobb (62) 3:24:14.1 (29:11 per mile pace)
45 Ken Stickevers (55) 3:24:46.5 (29:15 per mile pace)
46 Rob Wilson (53) 3:25:04.8 (29:18 per mile pace)
47 Dane Griffin (68) 3:28:01.7 (29:43 per mile pace)
48 Tim Harmount (42) 3:28:12.4 (29:45 per mile pace)
49 Andrew Westbrook (51) 3:30:01.2 (30:00 per mile pace)
50 Bryan Hiller (50) 3:33:28.0 (30:30 per mile pace)
51 Christopher Lisanti (59) 3:35:06.1 (30:44 per mile pace)
52 Pat Marzulli (68) 3:37:27.0 (31:04 per mile pace)
53 Ellis Merschoff (66) 3:40:55.9 (31:34 per mile pace)
54 Matt Sabo (47) 3:42:23.6 (31:46 per mile pace)
55 Herve Hamon (54) 3:48:11.4 (32:36 per mile pace)
56 Peter Boers (53) 3:48:23.9 (32:38 per mile pace)
57 Allen Hillman (50) 3:49:29.0 (32:47 per mile pace)
58 Louis Krupnick (69) 3:53:17.2 (33:20 per mile pace)
59 Grant Lempriere (50) 3:53:49.6 (33:24 per mile pace)
60 Chet Morton (64) 3:57:03.1 (33:52 per mile pace)
61 Bayard Gilbert (47) 3:57:57.2 (34:00 per mile pace)
62 Michael Marcum (38) 3:58:14.4 (34:02 per mile pace)
63 Michael Friedman (51) 4:03:37.5 (34:48 per mile pace)
64 Martin Healy (73) 4:04:56.6 (34:59 per mile pace)
65 Daniel Cahill (50) 4:06:51.4 (35:16 per mile pace)
66 Hunter Hawver (46) 4:11:14.4 (35:53 per mile pace)
67 Stanley Trapp (59) 4:20:03.9 (37:09 per mile pace)
68 Paul Epstein (70) 4:22:03.6 (37:26 per mile pace)
69 Jay Madigan (57) 4:27:28.7 (38:13 per mile pace)
70 John Stibrany (57) 4:29:35.1 (38:31 per mile pace)
71 Tom Krasner (54) 4:34:59.5 (39:17 per mile pace)

Video produced by Paradise Adventures Sarasota, the kayak sponsor of the event. Owner Orlando Cano said, "We love being part of such an awesome experience. The swimmers are absolutely amazing for even trying something this crazy. On the day of the race, we close up shop and bring all our kayaks to Lido Key beach. We also brought the drone that we usually use to capture footage of our kayak tours and captured some really great footage of the race. We want to give a special shout out to David Miner and Steve Butler who organize this event every year."

The women's results are posted here.

Copyright © 2008-2017 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Chelsea Colwill Wins USMS Championship Around Lido Key

Courtesy of Paradise Adventures Sarasota, Sarasota, California.

Chelsea Colwill won the U.S. Masters Swimming Marathon Distance Open Water National Championship at the Swim Around Lido Key event this weekend.

The 28-year-old Floridian was the fastest overall swimmer - male or female - completing the 7-mile (11.2 km) circumnavigation of Lido Key in Sarasota, Florida in 2 hours 26 minutes and 43.3 seconds, setting a new course record breaking the standard set by Ricardo Valdivia in 2015.

"The race went great," said race director David Miner of Swim Without Limits. "There was some very fast swimming, good conditions, and fun was had by all."

Paradise Adventures Sarasota served as the kayak sponsor of the event. Orlando Cano said, "We love being part of such an awesome experience. The swimmers are absolutely amazing for even trying something this crazy. On the day of the race, we close up shop and bring all our kayaks to Lido Key beach. We also brought the drone that we usually use to capture footage of our kayak tours and captured some really great footage of the race. We want to give a special shout out to David Miner and Steve Butler who organize this event every year."

Female Solo Results
1 Chelsea Colwill (28) 2:26:43.3 (20:58 per mile pace)
2 Christina Hitchcock (34) 2:41:22.2 (23:03 per mile pace)
3 Melissa Varlas (43) 2:41:46.0 (23:07 per mile pace)
4 Sonja Koppenwallner (40) 2:42:50.9 (23:16 per mile pace)
5 Kimberly Elsbach (54) 2:45:42.4 (23:40 per mile pace)
6 Marianne Countryman (52) 2:47:34.0 (23:56 per mile pace)
7 Karen Einsidler (60) 2:52:33.6 (24:39 per mile pace)
8 Emily Watts (49) 2:55:04.7 (25:01 per mile pace)
9 Kathleen Pelczynski (31) 2:55:34.1 (25:05 per mile pace)
10 Julie Madison (29) 2:55:36.2 (25:05 per mile pace)
11 Alison Hayden (45) 2:55:36.5 (25:05 per mile pace)
12 Cynthia Hertzer (47) 2:56:44.4 (25:15 per mile pace)
13 Shirley Loftus-Charley (65) 2:58:22.5 (25:29 per mile pace)
14 Kirsten Holz (35) 2:58:51.8 (25:33 per mile pace)
15 Helena Baker (36) 3:01:08.6 (25:53 per mile pace)
16 Catherine Rust (63) 3:01:58.4 (26:00 per mile pace)
17 Susan Ingraham (57) 3:02:44.9 (26:06 per mile pace)
18 Leigh Rey (39) 3:05:08.3 (26:27 per mile pace)
19 Malena Hankins (43) 3:05:26.9 (26:29 per mile pace)
20 Sarah Kwon (27) 3:09:12.0 (27:02 per mile pace)
21 Zena Courtney (57) 3:09:36.8 (27:05 per mile pace)
22 Amy King (47) 3:10:28.8 (27:13 per mile pace)
23 Susan Tokayer (57) 3:15:20.5 (27:54 per mile pace)
24 Suzanne Cuda (56) 3:16:09.3 (28:01 per mile pace)
25 Maren Lynch (39) 3:16:20.3 (28:03 per mile pace)
26 Lisa Stickevers (53) 3:19:46.2 (28:32 per mile pace)
27 Julie Salvetti (55) 3:19:56.7 (28:34 per mile pace)
28 Rosemary Merkel (33) 3:20:26.6 (28:38 per mile pace)
29 Robin Batchelor (59) 3:22:39.9 (28:57 per mile pace)
30 Kimberly Plewa (34) 3:23:08.2 (29:01 per mile pace)
31 Maureen Montgomery (56) 3:24:14.8 (29:11 per mile pace)
32 Kathy Farrell Guizar (44) 3:26:26.2 (29:29 per mile pace)
33 Jessica Kennedy (40) 3:27:32.5 (29:39 per mile pace)
34 Bridgette Hobart (54) 3:27:39.7 (29:40 per mile pace)
35 Anna Stantz (34) 3:28:17.4 (29:45 per mile pace)
36 Brianne Slover (37) 3:29:13.5 (29:53 per mile pace)
37 Paula Miller (44) 3:32:04.4 (30:18 per mile pace)
38 Susan Kirk (56) 3:40:04.2 (31:26 per mile pace)
39 Jennifer Bew (41) 3:41:35.8 (31:39 per mile pace)
40 Gayla Chalmers (51) 3:45:10.2 (32:10 per mile pace)
41 Bonnie Brown (49) 3:51:51.4 (33:07 per mile pace)
42 Julia Leissing (31) 3:52:14.4 (33:11 per mile pace)
43 Pia Lord (52) 3:55:43.9 (33:40 per mile pace)
44 Michelle Hawes (41) 3:56:56.4 (33:51 per mile pace)
45 Janine Serell (55) 4:06:58.3 (35:17 per mile pace)
46 Susan Malandra (47) 4:12:18.5 (36:03 per mile pace)
47 Lyngo Goldsmith (64) 4:15:18.5 (36:28 per mile pace)
48 Jia Jung (35) 4:18:25.0 (36:55 per mile pace)
49 Niki Wilson (49) 4:19:20.7 (37:03 per mile pace)
50 Nadezda Dhadiala (37) 4:34:29.0 (39:13 per mile pace)
51 Venessa Herring (50) 4:36:31.3 (39:30 per mile pace)

The men's results are posted here.

Copyright © 2008-2017 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Wise Words, Future Vision From The Hall Of Fame

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

The opening address of the 2017 Congress of the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame was given by Christopher Guesdon with the support of the Executive Committee of Ned Denison, Beth Yudovin, Melissa Cunningham, and Dale Petranech.

"In today’s congress I will shortly go through the agenda and before we make any suggestions or provide any answers this room should firstly bear in mind why the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame exists and our charter.

The International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Mission Statement: Its Mission is to promote the benefits and importance of traditional and competitive marathon swimming as a key to fitness, good health, quality of life, and water safety.

We do this by maintaining a dynamic shrine dedicated to the history and recognition of marathon (open water) swimmers, including persons involved in life-saving activities of administration, general support, education and environmental awareness throughout the world, whose lives and accomplishments serve to inspire, educate, and to be role models for all.

o We do not give awards.
o We do not conduct events.
o We do not endorse events.
o We do not set rules.
o We do not document swims.

The world of open water swimming reaches all corners of the globe.

It should never be considered by us that our own continent or hemisphere is the centre of the sport of marathon swimming. Our own backyard and our own community of swimmers are not the centre of the marathon swimming universe. There are different generations of marathoners who have gone before ours and will follow long after this generation has retired.

Time does not stand still and progress happens. We now have

o GPS for guidance
o technology for forecasting conditions
o kayaks alongside the swimmer
o sleeker swimsuits
o sports science has us taking pre-prepared performance balanced fuel and hydration

We cannot hold back sports science and the progress that evolves from it. One example is to compare the large rubber goggles that I first wore in the 1960s to today’s sleek models or compare Captain Matthew Webb’s swimsuit to your briefs.

FINA decided to change their swimsuit rules for swimmer safety and we now accept the regulations of FINA or lose generations of superb marathoners from Induction.

We accept the rules and regulations of other organisations under whose jurisdiction someone participates.

There are around the world many remarkable marathoners from the 1950s through to the 1980s. These swimmers and administrators, coaches and pilots cover 40 years of marathons. Some share their memories and communicate with each other. Others move on from their past endeavours altogether. Most are NOT connected with the current generation.

These are the countries, communities, groups and individuals who we the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame are interested in embracing and honouring. We frequently hear reports and receive nominations about lifetime career achievements and events in Europe - North America and Australia and New Zealand, but we need to embrace the rest of the world.

Oceania is an example: Oceania through Australia and New Zealand is well known for our history of swimming in the ocean. Oceania is, of course, made up of many island nations and swimming is always featured as part of the national identity. However, we should be reminded that the Asian open water scene has a multitude of elite racing competitors and individual distance swimmers over a long history of competing and swimming.

I have had the privilege of being involved in contemporary development in all quarters of the world.

As a prime example my knowledge of Indonesia shows that over a decade they have developed professional and competitive marathon swimming.

Of course, other nations such as Hong Kong, China, Japan and India have historically well-established marathon events and courses in oceans, lakes and rivers and over centuries people have done remarkable things in lesser-known venues. The same applies to South America, the Middle East and Africa.

The point I would like to make is that the world of marathon swimming is vast.

We are in the moment right now, but so are those many others who are not a part of what we conceive as OUR open water swimming community. The International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame charter is to honour our inspirational marathoners from the whole wide world from the past, present and in the future.

Welcome one and all to this congress and we look forward to your input
."

Photo above shows Christopher Guesdon, one of the architects of the Olympic 10K Marathon Swim which has brought at swimmers from 30 countries in 2008, 35 countries in 2012, and 29 countries in 2016. He gave the following toast at the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame induction ceremonies on April 22nd in Windsor, UK:

To the Class of 2017, Marathoners, Everybody

As Chairman of the Hall of Fame and on behalf of our Executive – Dale, Beth, Melissa and Ned I wish you one and all a warm welcome. We are delighted to have you here.

That many of you have traveled long distances serves to remind us all just how important our inductions are to the marathon swimming world. This year, we are pleased to be back to where it all began therefore tonight. I pay tribute to Captain Matthew Webb.

In the Class of 2017, we have 9 people join the 252 previous inductees.* During the evening you will hear their stories of distinction. The nine inductees embody the spirit and legacy of our Hall of Fame. Their names will be engraved on our iconic Sea Goddess to be revered forever.

Our Hall Of Fame is truly a worldwide organisation. Tonight’s inductees hail from Oceania, Europe, North America and South America and these elite people before you tonight have been elected by our voting panel of 29 marathon swimming experts drawn from 14 countries.

So, this evening I welcome you here to enjoy the night as we share our love of marathon swimming.

Ladies and Gentlemen, please charge your glasses and be upstanding. For the toast to the Class of 2017.


* Stephen Redmond (Ireland), Asociación Cruce A Nado Del Estrecho De Gibraltar (Spain), Ricardo Ratto (Brazil), David O'Brien (Australia), Mickey Pittman (USA) and John Pittman (USA), Richard Broer (Netherlands), Tamara Bruce (Australia), David Barra (USA), and Colin Hill (Great Britain) comprise of the Class of 2017. Their backgrounds are posted here.

Copyright © 2008-2017 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Ode To My Yacker All Month

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach.

"Ginny Peck of New Hampshire hijacked Yacker Week and turned all of April into Be Kind to Your Yacker Month," explains Phil White.

"Justly hungry for thanks, she calls for a full month of tribute to those yackers who guide us, feed us, and keep us safe.

Without them and the motor boat pilots behind them, the sport of open water swimming would not be possible. So, the week of tribute justifiably grows to a month, and we have a week left to wake up and make up for our wintertime sleepiness
."

Ode to My Yacker

Yacker, My Yacker, wherever we roam
You water and feed me and guide my way home
Without you I'm nothing, a lost feckless soul
Locked in the lanes of my short little pool.

But with paddle flashing and you by my side
The waters are open, the world is so wide
There's nothing we can't do, no challenge too great
One stroke at a time, my aquarian mate.


Copyright © 2008-2017 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Jay Eckert Suits Up To Lead Fast Field Across Tampa Bay

Courtesy of Ron Collins, Tampa Bay Marathon Swim, Florida.

30-year-old Jay Eckert of Sarasota and U.S. Masters Swimming, knows the Floridian waters well.

He used that local marine knowledge and experience, and a whole lot of hard work at the Sarasota Sharks Masters to fuel his victory at the Tampa Bay Marathon Swim on Earth Day.

His time was the sixth fastest crossing in the race's 20-year history.

"After opening an early lead, Jay was able to maintain his advantage all day and eventually made it to the finish line one hour before the rest of the field of competitors," described race director Ron Collins about the Manager of Business Development for U.S. Masters Swimming.

31-year-old Heather Roka from Ft. Myers finished first among women to complete the Floridian sweep. "She overcame early adversity and cruised to the finish line and finishing in 11 hours 16 minutes. A brisk headwind challenged the competitors early in the race, as Roka's coach, Alexis Price, navigated and cheered from her escort powerboat after being forced from the water due to kayak malfunctions.

Four of the five relay teams jockeyed all day for position atop the leaderboard, ending in a virtual dead heat within minutes of one another. The Mad Milers relay team finished in 9 hours 26 minutes, followed closely by Parcells Paddlers, Swim Guzzlers, and Bizzaro World.

Water temperature was 77°F/24°C and the strong incoming tide assisted the swimmers as they traveled from the south end to the north end of Tampa Bay. There was a slight to moderate chop on the water at the 7 am start time, as swimmers and crew went directly into a headwind of 8 mph. The winds calmed by mid-day, but the waters became choppy again after 3 pm when the westerly sea breeze kicked in as the top competitors neared the finish line
."

Solo Swimmer Results
1. Jay Eckert 8 hours 26 minutes
2. Heather Roka 11 hours 16 minutes
3. Dan Fritz 14 hours 26 minutes
Patty Hermann DNF

Relay Team Results
1. Mad Milers Relay (Elizabeth Fry, Margaret Gaskill, James Clifford, Henry Eckstein, James Bayles) 9 hours, 26 minutes
2. Parcells Paddlers Relay (Marcia Cleveland, Scott Lautman, Dennis Dressel, John Wilbur, John Waanders) 9 hours 32 minutes
3. SwimGuzzlers Relay (Kevin Curley, Glenn Baker, David Heffernan, Craig Bartlett, Peter Gold (45), Tom Welch) 9 hours, 41 minutes
4. Bizarro World Relay (Marcy MacDonald, Scott Coleman, Gene Sardzinski, Thomas Casey, Dan Robinson) 9 hours 42 minutes
5. Squid Marks Relay (Dinah Mistilis, Anita Hyde) 11 hours 43 minutes

Top 10 Performances in History
1. Chris Derks 7 hours 41 minutes in 2002
2. Penny Palfrey 7 hours 51 minutes in 2008
3. Tom Fristoe 8 hours 0 minutes in 2002
4. Jose Serra 8 hours 9 minutes in 2008
5. Chris Derks 8 hours 23 minutes in 1999
6. Jay Eckert 8 hours 26 minutes in 2017
7. Chris Derks 8 hours 30 minutes in 2000
8. Chris Palfrey 8 hours 49 minutes in 2008
9. Evan Morrison 8 hours 59 minutes in 2011
10. Samantha Simon 8 hours 59 minutes in 2008

Collins said, "Competitors from Since the 24 Mile Tampa Bay Marathon Swim was first staged in 1998, it has drawn competitors from across the United States, Great Britain, Guatemala, Italy, Mexico, Australia, Ireland, Japan, Switzerland, Baliwick of Jersey, Argentina, Dominican Republic, Germany, India, Canada, and the Cayman Islands has competed in the race since 1998, held annually in April in celebration of Earth Day."

For more information, email Collins at tampataiko12@gmail.com or visit www.DistanceMatters.com.

Copyright © 2008-2017 by World Open Water Swimming Association

MySwimPro Does An OPO

Courtesy of Fares Ksebati, MySwimPro.

"MySwimPro filed a Form C with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and announced its Open Public Offering (OPO)," explains founder & CEO Fares Ksebati.

"For the first time, we are offering future stock to the public and for as little as US$100 as a minimum investment, you can invest in our company. We are offering the following investment levels: Backer (US$100), Advocate (US$250), Ambassador (US$500), Evangelist (US$1,000), Partner (US$10,000), Major Investor (US$25,000), Financier (US$100,000). Invest in MySwimPro and join millions of swimmers.

Ksebati explained why he became an aquapreneur. "Since my early childhood, I developed a great passion for the water. The freedom and enjoyment we experience as swimmers is often hard to describe. The feeling of weightlessness in the water is something we often take for granted, but it’s one of the many joys the sport of swimming offers humanity.

I’ve recruited a world-class team and we’ve combined our experience as competitive athletes, coaches, and all around swim nerds to create MySwimPro so we can help others achieve their goals and enhance their aquatic journey. Our team is dedicated to creating a digital community that empowers aquatic prowess across the globe.

We’d love for you to join us in our journey of helping millions of people live happier and healthier lives through swimming. For as little as US$100 dollars, you can become a future shareholder in MySwimPro and help us accelerate our vision of empowering aquatic prowess across the globe
."

For more information, visit here.

Copyright © 2008-2017 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Lynne Cox Featured In FISHPEOPLE

Courtesy of Keith Malloy.

Lynne Cox is featured in the documentary film FISHPEOPLE by Keith Malloy along with surfer and youth worker Eddie Donnellan, surfer and fisherman Matahi Drollet, photographer Ray Collins, spearfisher Kimi Werner, and surfer Dave Rastovich.

FISHPEOPLE tells the stories of a unique cast of characters who have dedicated their lives to the sea and can be viewed in the following locations for free:

* April 25th in Patagonia Vancouver [see here]
* April 26th in Patagonia Portland [see here]
* April 27th in Patagonia Denver [see here]
* May 2nd in Patagonia Austin [see here]
* May 3rd in Patagonia Boston [see here]
* May 4th in Patagonia Bowery in New York City [see here]

Copyright © 2008-2017 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Swimming With Sharks In Samoa

Samoana Sharks Fautasi by Paul Chetirkin.

The Samoana High School Sharks offer a rowing team for its student in Samoa.

At 1:15 into the video above, a Pacific blacktip shark is shown. "It was not part of the boat photo shoot and was caught inadvertently. The blacktip is rarely a threat to humans and is usually skittish. The shark was actually following the videographer and I as we swam around Fagatelle Bay. We turned around and caught him on video…had probably been following us since we got in the water," recalled Bruckner Chase.

Copyright © 2008-2017 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Busy Bruckner Chases His Mission

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

365 days a year, Bruckner Chase is either training, coaching, organizing or traveling to ocean competitions, clinics, presentations, seminars or teaching opportunities.

There are few as engaged and involved year-round or lifelong as is Chase in the marine environment whether it involves the media, sponsors, foundations or corporations.

Paul Craig, President and Founder of XX2i Optics, describes the 51-year-old whose mission is to positively impact how we feel, think and act towards our oceans. “You couldn’t find a better mix of activist, athlete, and environmentalist if you tried.

What Bruckner is doing for athletes and ocean conservation is amazing and motivating, Bruckner represents the values and DNA of the XX2i Optics brand as we strive to provide the best 8k polarized and eyewear solutions to the endurance sports community
.”

Craig's praise comes on the heels of the XX2i Optics multi-year partnership with New Jersey-based ocean advocate who has garnered additional partnerships with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and Red Bull.

Chase is currently working with NOAA to create practical connections between the assets and potential of the bureaucratic, government-run National Weather Service and the open water swimming and lifesaving community. He is helping to establish an outreach model to help protect coastal communities and oceans through innovative economic business models. He also has partnerships with Force Blue, Plastic Pollution Coalition, Forever Oceans and Wildlife Conservation Society New York Aquarium to create innovative, evidence initiatives that connect people to the oceans and the actions to protect them.

His new role as the Ocean and Aquatic Sports Editor for the Movement Sports Magazine enables his platform to expand and reach even more triathletes, open water swimmers, runners, and other endurance sports athletes. Sponsors like XX2i Optics also appreciate his Global Ambassador position for the Lifesaving World Championships, creation of Legion of Ocean Heroes, a lifesaving festival for athletes with spinal cord injuries, and his work for the Wings for Life Foundation.

Copyright © 2008-2017 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Winners In The Water Honored In Windsor

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Ned Denison, Beth Yudovin and Christopher Guesdon hosted the Class of 2017 induction ceremonies of the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame in Windsor, UK last night.

Stephen Redmond, Asociación Cruce A Nado Del Estrecho De Gibraltar, Ricardo Ratto, David O'Brien, Mickey Pittman and John Pittman, Richard Broer, Tamara Bruce, David Barra, and Colin Hill were all honored by their peers and fans.

Who were these luminaries of the sport? Read below.

Stephen Redmond, Ireland

"I have never seen anyone pray so fervently and ask God for guidance and help as did Stephen Redmond before his Tsugaru Channel swim in 2010," recalls Steven Munatones.

"He got down on his knees and prayed with every fiber in his body."

Stephen Redmond desperately needed help.

"After three previous attempts at the Tsugaru Channel in northern Japan - none of which came remotely close to finishing - Stephen was at his wit's end. With a growing number of doubters and his die-hard group of supporters wondering how his last and final attempt would end, Redmond asked for divine assistance. His road to the Oceans Seven had not been easy, and the end was torturously even more difficult."

On all his previous attempts, the currents, eddies and tides in Japan had pushed him everywhere - left, right and backwards - but not straight towards his finish on Hokkaido. Round and round Redmond swam, but he had not yet even reached the halfway point across the 19.5 km turbulent channel in three tries.

"Psychologically, as he stood on the shores of Honshu before his attempts staring across the channel to his goal in Hokkaido, he looked like a beaten man with his shoulders slumped and his wide smile wiped from his face. But there was always a glimmer in his eye and a hint of hope in his voice. Stephen embodied the old saying, 'Never say never.'"

While his mindset remained positive, he was not at his physiological peak. Redmond was most definitely not a fan of fish, seaweed and other marine edibles that were ubiquitous in Japanese meals. Instead of feasting on sushi and seaweed, Redmond existed solely on white bread and butter in the week leading up to his crossing.

The Tsugaru Channel was the last leg of his unprecedented completion of the Oceans Seven - and he was not about to quit so close to his goal.

Over the course of three long years, Redmond has already completed the English Channel (20 hours 1 minute in 2009 between England and France), North Channel (17 hours 17 minutes in 2010 between Scotland and Northern Ireland), Strait of Gibraltar (5 hours in 2011 between Spain and Morocco), Catalina Channel (12 hours 39 minutes in 2011 in Southern California), Cook Strait (12 hours 30 minutes in 2012 between New Zealand's South and North Islands), Molokai Channel (22 hours 29 minutes in 2012 between Molokai and Oahu in Hawaii), but the three strikes against him in the Tsugaru Channel weighed heavily on his mind and his dwindling finances in the summer of 2012.

Finally, on his last day in Japan with his spirit nearly dashed and time literally running out, Redmond received a call from Captain Mizushima, his local escort pilot. While the two men could not speak each other's language, they both understood the genuine passion they held in their hearts. "We can try one more time," Captain Mizushima suggested to Redmond.

Redmond was already packed to head home to Ireland, but true to his nature, he was ready to give it one last shot.

12 hours 45 minutes later across a channel that seemed calmed by fortuitous divine intervention, Redmond swam from Honshu to Hokkaido and became the first person in history to achieve the Oceans Seven. He rightly so became a celebrity and inspiration to many overnight.*

 The former rugby player and triathlete simply explained his stubbornness and achievement. "It's not until you leave Ireland that you realise how important it is to be Irish. You tell an Irish person that they can't do something and they'll do everything they can to prove you wrong."

The Cork (Ireland) resident also attempted to swim 50 miles from Ireland to Wales in 2013 in a charity swim on behalf of the RNLI, and became the first person to swim around treacherous Fastnet Rock, a small island in the Atlantic Ocean and the most southerly point of Ireland, in 12 hours 28 minutes in 2012.

Redmond uses mantras of his children while tackling the channels around the world. "I use anything that gives me a mental edge. Marathon swimming is about as close as you can get to death while you are alive here on Earth. You lose all sense of perception while you are swimming in such difficult conditions," said the Irish swimmer who typically traverses channels at a 48-52 strokes per minute pace.

"What you are trying to achieve is something very, very out there, but you know you can do it. It is a real test of the head and the body."

Redmond was the subject of the film Defeating Oceans Seven about his quest of the Oceans Seven, produced by Red Bull Media House.

"We will be forever touched by the courage and the depth of character that Stephen showed. He is almost mythical in a way, but he is a real-world hero. Stephen boiled down the essence of humanity and demonstrated how powerful dreams can be," recalls Munatones about the documentary film. "His story of Defeating Oceans Seven is so compelling. His adventures around the world were riddled with defeats, saddled with pain. Nothing was never a given. But his ultimate triumph was beautifully captured by the crew of Red Bull Media House who produced this film. Their artistry with the cameras was nearly as magical to observe as was Stephen's swim. Their studio was a rocking boat in the middle of a turbulent channel, constantly buffeted by winds and waves. As long as Stephen kept swimming, Wolfgang Merkel and his film crew kept rolling. They could not plan for conditions that always presented the unexpected."





Asociación Cruce A Nado Del Estrecho De Gibraltar, Spain


Imagine taking calls and emails from swimmers of all ages and abilities around the world - all throughout the year.

They all want to swim across the Strait of Gibraltar - one of the world's most iconic waterways - and they want to do it roughly at the same time, at least during June through October.

"Rafael Gutiérrez Mesa and his colleagues of the Asociación Cruce A Nado Del Estrecho De Gibraltar - including Antonio Gil Bravo, Antonio Montiel Martin, Fernando Diaz Piñero, Sebastian Sanchéz Rios, and pilots Antonio Montiel and Sebastian Sánchez - deal with them and their goal to swim between Spain and Morocco at the entrance of the Mediterrean Sea," says Munatones.

"Collectively, the Asociación Cruce A Nado Del Estrecho De Gibraltar deftly manages tides, government authorities, marine traffic, personalities, schedules and expectations will professionalism, passion and care with requests coming from Spain, South Africa, England, America, Peru, Morocco, Mexico, Argentina, Poland, Denmark, Rumania, Italy, France, Germany, Chile, Puerto Rico, Luxembourg, Hungary, Dominican Republic, Australia, Gibraltar, Panama, Israel, Slovakia, Belgium, the Philippines, Cuba, Portugal, Brazil, Venezuela, Taiwan, India, Czech Republic, Finland, Norway, New Zealand, Greece, Iran, Serbia, Austria, Croatia, Canada, Malaysia, the Netherlands, Guatemala, Switzerland, Uruguay, Japan, Sweden, Turkey and elsewhere around the world."

The swimmers from various cultures and walks of life ultimately leave with a warm smile and a deep sense of satisfaction and gratitude due to the hospitality, safety precautions, and expertise of this hardy group of passionate channelistas.

"They help deliver smiles and achieve dreams by safely escorting swimmers from one continent to another in one of the Oceans Seven channels. The Strait of Gibraltar Swimming Association provides the opportunity for many individuals from all walks of life to achieve their greatest career athletic achievement or one of their life's most memorable challenges. They plan, guide, and certify solo and relay crossings – both neoprene and bioprene – of the Strait of Gibraltar year in and year out. They manage everything from the bureaucracy of the Spanish and Moroccan governments to providing beautiful commemorative charts of swimmer’s crossings."

Ned Denison explains the well-deserved honor of being inducted in the Hall of Fame. "The magic between two continents is further enhanced by the Rock and the Atlas mountains as well as the strategic importance of the opening to the Mediterranean. The shortest distance is from Punta Oliveros in Spain to Punta Cires in Morocco, a total distance of 14.4 km. More than 80 years of swimming have shown that the strong currents best support 16.5 km attempts from Tarifa to Punta Cires and depending on speed and conditions – landing along the coast to the south east for swims up to 22 km."



Vito Bialla of California is shown in the ACNEG video above by Rafael Gutiérrez Mesa.

Ricardo Ratto, Brazil

 "Ricardo Ratto lives and breathes open water," says Munatones.

"He studies currents and tides. He knows how to set courses and anchor turn buoys in horrific conditions. He knows the implications of split times and stroke rates. He knows well how to identify and officiate impeding of one swimmer by another.

He can talk all day and night about the sport - and he can do it intelligently so everyone can pick up another nugget of information or history.

Without question, Ricardo's passion, experience and knowledge were among the reasons why he was selected to officiate at the Olympic 10K Marathon Swim in London.

Whether he is in an escort boat, safety craft, on the shore, on dryland, in classrooms, or in technical meetings, Ricardo is a well-known, very well respected, extraordinarily knowledge presence among his peers and in the global swimming community
."

Ratto has been a certified FINA open water swimming official for 17 years (since 1999) and served as an International Technical Official in the XXX Olympic Games – London 2012 as well annually as a course and technical official at the FINA World Swimming Championships in Fukuoka (2001), Montreal (2005), Melbourne (2007) and Rome (2009), at the FINA World Open Water Swimming Championships in Seville (2008), Roberval (2010) and Setúbal (2012), at the FINA 10K Marathon Swimming World Cup events in Rio de Janeiro (1998), Brasília (2001, 2002, 2003), Belém do Pará (2006) and Santos (2008, 2009, 2010), and as a FINA Safety Delegate at the FINA 10K Marathon Swimming World Cup races in Roberval (2012).

In addition to his ubiquitous presence at international competitions, Ratto has served closer to his Brazilian homeland as the Official Director and Referee of the open water races at the Rio 2007 Pan American Games, as a referee in the South American Open Water Swimming Championships in João Pessoa (1998), Belém do Pará (2003), and São Paulo (2008).

For the Brazilian team that has been consistently ranked high among its global competition, Ratto has served as a coach and manager since 1996 at FINA Open Water Swimming Grand Prix races in the Maratón Internacional Hernandarias – Paraná (2011), Maratona del Golfo Capri-Napoli (2011 and 2012), International Jarak-Šabac Marathon Swim (2011), and Ohrid Lake Swimming Marathon (2011).

He was selected to be the Team Manager of the Rio de Janeiro delegation in the Olimpíadas Escolares, staged annually by COB (Brazilian Olympic Committee), the Open Water Swimming Coordinator for the Brazilian Swimming Federation from 1995 to 2006, and the Brazilian National Open Water Swimming Championships Coordinator.

In addition to his own participation in the 15 km Travessia Mar Grande Salvador and numerous oceans swim in Brazil, Ratto is a surfer and a lecturer with 3 masters degrees in the Biodynamics of Human Movement (his dissertation was a Comparative Analysis Between Front Crawl Stroke and Surf Paddling Stroke), a Science of Human Motricity, and Masters of Business Administration in Sports Management and Public Management.

Ratto joins only two other Brazilians in the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame: Abilio Couto (Class of 2001) and Igor De Souza (Class of 2004).



David O'Brien, Australia

In an emergency in Sydney, David O'Brien is a fire fighter people surely want to see on the front lines.

The Senior Emergency Services Officer is not only a Fire Safety Specialist, but is also a Helicopter Rescue Crewman and an Offshore Marine Rescue Crewman with 20 years of dedicated community service.

With first responder experience in fires, rescues, hazardous incidents, marine ship-to-shore emergencies, and aerial operations, O'Brien is courageous and literally a lifesaver.

That is not surprising given his 26-year athletic career where O'Brien was the first Australian athlete to represent his country internationally in 3 separate disciplines: pool swimming, surf lifesaving, and marathon swimming.

Among his many achievements in domestic and international surf lifesaving events and in the pool, O'Brien also was honored by the Rottnest Channel Swim Honour Board and was awarded the Australian Sports Medal in 2000 for his contributions.

He was introduced to swimming at a young age and progressed from a successful junior pool swimming career into surf lifesaving, open water swimming and marathon swimming.

Chris Guesdon, chairman of the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame, describes his fellow Australian.

"David O’Brien is a much heralded elite Australian marathon swimmer with a remarkable career at the top level of world racing. David was for years Australia’s top and fastest marathon swimmer. Because of his successes and leadership qualities, he was named as Captain of the gold medal winning Australian national open water swimming team at the FINA World Open Water Swimming Championships."

O'Brien's career had numerous highlights:

• NSW State Open 400/800/1500m freestyle pool swimming champion 1985 - 1986
• Australian Open Surf Belt National champion 1988 – SLSA Australia Wanda Beach NSW
• Australian National Surf Lifesaving Team Captain - Trans Tasman Test to New Zealand 1989
• Australian Open Water 15 km national open water swimming champion 1989
• Australian National marathon swim champion 25 km 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, and 1994
• Australian National Open Water swimming champion 10 km 1992, 1993, and 1994
• FINA World Ranking in Top 10 in 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994,and 1995
• USA National 15 km champion 1991 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida
• 1991 Maratona del Golfo Capri-Napoli champion in 6 hours 48 minutes in Italy
• 1991 FINA World Open Water Swimming Championships 25 km bronze medalist in Perth
• 1994 FINA World Open Water Swimming Championships 25 km gold medalist in Rome
• 1995 Pan Pacific Swimming Championships 25 km gold medalist in Atlanta USA
• 19.7 km Rottnest Channel Swim 4-time winner in 1992, 1993, 1994, and 1995 in Western Australia
• 2011 World Police & Fire Games 9 medals won in pool and open water swimming in New York

O'Brien is shown above both with coach Roger Bruce and fellow Rottnest Channel Swim winner Tamara Bruce.

Mickey and John Pittman, USA

Captain John Pittman on the Outrider is shown above.

The Pittmans (father Mickey and son John) of California are escort pilots that have guided dozens of solo swimmers and relays with the Catalina Channel Swimming Federation.

Their longest channel escort was done between July 10th-13th in 2013 when the captains escorted Team FTD, including Forrest Nelson, Becky Jackman-Beeler, Mike Mitchell, Kent Nicholas, Emily Evans, and Tina Neill on an unprecedented 6-way crossing of the Catalina Channel.

While their schedule has been packed in the 21st century, it was not always the case.

Back in the 1970’s, the idea of swimming across the 20.2-mile Catalina Channel re-emerged.

Between 1959 and 1971, the Catalina Channel had only been crossed once (Isaac Papke in 1963). Catalina's decade of the 1970's were similar to the decade of the 1950's and were a precursor to the popularity of contemporary times.

Starting in the 1970’s and over the next three decades, Mickey was always willing to take on escort of numerous swimmers from around the world. Mickey piloted Lynne Cox, Penny Dean, John York, Cindy Cleveland, Dan Slosberg, and David Yudovin, among many others. In those years, he used only a compass, and a radar at night for guidance.

In the 1990’s John started crewing for him at the age of 14. By the end of the century, John was also sufficiently experienced to pilot swims.

Similar to the passion demonstrated by their swimmers, it was clear the depth of involvement that Mickey showed over 27 years of piloting and John has shown over 42 years with over 250 crossings.



Captain John Pittman with swimmer Kent Nicholas.

Richard Broer, Netherlands

"Few people have positively influenced the world of open water swimming over a course of the last few decades like Richard Broer," reflected Munatones.

"The number of people who he has mentored, guided and inspired - either directly on channel relays or indirectly through his online properties - is mind-boggling.

The Dutch swimmer, promoter, event organizer, administrator and coach has literally touched every aspect of the sport, from charity relay swims to the promotion of thousands of open water events throughout Europe. Day in and day out, month after month, year after year, decade after decade, Richard relentlessly and tirelessly does his part to help others."

His list of accomplishments is impressively long and is an embodiment of the passion and knowledge that he offers the sport.

He works from pool decks to escort boat decks. He spends countless hours behind a computer screen and completing paperwork. He motivates and he inspires swimmers from all walks of life and all abilities.

Online Presence
* Broer manages the Netherlands Open Water Web, a comprehensive and authoritative source of open water swimming information in Dutch that he started in 1998 (www.noww.nl) that continues to thrive with information about nationally-sanctioned swims and non-sanctioned swim and includes pre-race information, registration entries, results, and visual and descriptive reports of the races.
* Broer is the co-webmaster of Openwaterswimming.eu, a comprehensive and authoritative source of open water swimming information and swimming holidays throughout Europe.

Athletic Accomplishments
* Broer started his open water swimming career in 1974 and remains active in 2016.
* Broer swam across the Strait of Gibraltar in 2008 in 5 hours 4 minutes at the age of 49.
* Broer set a record at the Netherlands national open water competition in 1978 that remains untouched.
* Broer was the second Dutchman under 16 minutes in the 1500m freestyle, performed in 1979.
* Broer was a top 20 swimmer at Dutch national open water swimming competitions between 1992 and 2011.
* Broer was the first Dutchman and remains the national record holder for a solo crossing of the Strait of Gibraltar, set in 2008.
* Broer swam with team IJsselmeerbikkels that set the Dutch national 6-man record for an English Channel relay crossing in 2010.
* Broer coached and swam with the Channel Team Wassenaar to a national English Channel record for men on a EFE crossing and a FE crossing in 2014.
* Broer completed 3 solo crossings, more than 10 relay crossings and more than 20 crossings as a coach in the IJsselmeer event in the Netherlands.

Administrative Work
* Broer is a member of the Technical Open Water Swimming Committee in the Netherlands.
* Broer is responsible for an annual Dutch open water swimming publication that lists all the national association events.

Coaching Achievements
* Broer is a coach and trainer for channel swimmers and marathon swimmers, specializing in team-building. He currently enjoys a 100% success rate with teams and swimmers across the English Channel and Strait of Gibraltar that includes 2 world and 7 national (speed) records.
* Broer coached the Dutch Ladies First, a 6-women relay team who set the two-way all-female English Channel records (EFE and FE) in 18 hours 22 minutes under the escort of Captain Lance Oram on the Sea Satin. The Dutch Ladies First were nominated for the 2012 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year award.
* Broer has served as a member of the Technical Open Water Committee of Royal Netherlands Swimming Association from 1995 to the present.
* Broer has served as the Chairperson of the Technical Open Water Committee of Royal Netherlands Swimming Association from 2011 to the present.
* Broer has served as a member of the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame board of directors and is a member of the International Voting Panel representing Europe since 2007.
* Broer coached Channel Team Wassenaar, a team that raised €37,000 in its 2011 English Channel crossing.
* Broer coached and swam with the first mixed gay, non-gay Dutch swim team with HHZV Plons across the English Channel in 2013.
* Broer coached a breaststroke swimming team for a double IJsselmeer (M-S-M) in 2015.
* Broer coached female winner Délenn van Oostom at the Open Dutch Championships in 2015 in IJsselmeer S-M.
* Broer coached the duo IJsselmeer S-M charity relay called Extreem tegen Kanker in 2015.
*Broer coached ECSC-one80fit at IJsselmeer S-M in 2015 and observed their qualification to swim the English Channel in 2015.



Tamara Bruce, Australia

Precocious. Fast. Fearless.

Those are apropo adjectives to describe Tamara Bruce of Australia who retired prematurely at the age of 23.

"I threw a tantrum at my dad because I wanted to swim the pre-FINA World Championships 25 km swim in the Swan River in Perth, but the only way my dad could stop me from going on and on was to say he'd enter me in the first marathon swim when I was old enough to compete," recalled Bruce about her stat in the sport.

While the Sydney Harbour 30 km race and was her first taste of marathon swimming, Bruce established her legacy in the 19.7 km Rottnest Channel Swim.

Bruce was the overall winner at the 1992 Rottnest Channel Swim at the age of 14. Not only did the precocious swimmer beat hundreds of more experience swimmers in the Western Australian classic, she also established a new overall course record.

Bruce re-established the female record at the 1993 Rottnest Channel Swim in a blazing time of 4 hours 10 minutes, a record that remarkably still stands today.

A year later in 1994 as a 17-year-old, Bruce swam the English Channel in 7 hours 53 minutes which remains tied for the 14th fastest crossing in history (out of 2,256 solo swims).

Over the course of her career, she went on to complete a total of 10 solo crossings in the Rottnest Channel Swim, one duo crossing, and two team crossings:

*1992 - 4 hours 13 minutes
*1993 - 4 hours 10 minutes
*1994 - 4 hours 50 minutes
*1995 - 4 hours 50 minutes
*1996 - 4 hours 33 minutes
*1997 - 4 hours 42 minutes
*2001 - 5 hours 40 minutes
*2002 - 6 hours 7 minutes
*2003 - 8 hours 17 minutes
*2004 - 5 hours 44 minutes

Bruce describes her accomplishments and achievements in the open water:

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: What attracted you to the water (open and pool)?

Tamara Bruce: I was a water baby, the youngest child of eight siblings. I was in the water as soon as possible with my father being a swim coach and having his learn-to-swim and coaching business; I never had a choice to be involved in swimming. I loved every minute of being involved in the pool swimming, surf lifesaving as a nipper at 4, some water polo and swim thru's, swimming in the river and ocean, but my love of anything was all started when I was very young.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: What drove you to your first marathon swim? What was your time and place?

Tamara Bruce: My drive to swim my first marathon came two years earlier when I had a argument with my father-coach because I wanted to swim the 25 km pre-World Championship race in 1989-90 because my sister and some fellow training mates were entered. My dad had to stop me going on and on so he informed me that as soon as I was age eligible to compete in a marathon he would enter one for me to compete. Sydney Harbour International Invitational Marathon was the first race I could enter. However, it was an invitation-only race and my dad didn't believe I would be selected as the best open water swimmers around the world were competing and I had no experience, but race organisers took a chance and I loved that it was such a great race for my first marathon.

The Sydney Harbour race was from Manly to Darling Harbour and then back - and had every open water condition, calm at the halfway point around Darling Harbour before heading back to Manly which was the rough element as you swam past the Sydney Heads, the 2 km wide entrance to the Harbour from the ocean which made for a hard start and finish." Daily News of Open Water Swimming: What was your most difficult swim?

Tamara Bruce: The 1995 Pan Pacific Swimming Championships 25 km marathon swim in s Atlanta, Georgia where I swam with a very high temperature and felt like I was swallowing razors blades. However, I never told my dad or the team manager. They did suspect [something] I'm sure, but I knew we needed to have all members swimming to be eligible to win the team event. My support boat with my dad-coach kept breaking down also that day. Nothing was going right for me; however, Australia still won the team gold, but it was a very hard day.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: What was your most satisfying swim?

Tamara Bruce: The Sydney Harbour International Invitational Marathon. This may surprise some people, but the saying of "never meet your hero" plays a big role as I had a very, very prominent and famous Australian swimmer say to me at a dinner presentation the night before the 30 km swim that she didn't know why I was there and I wouldn't possibly make the distance because I had no experience and I shouldn't turn up to the start. I was 14 years old and devastated. I had never met this person and I had admired and looked up to this person since I was little. However, my dad though extremely angry, knew how to motivate me and bring out my tenacious spirit to swim strong, stay on task, and to accomplish what we set out to achieve.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: What were your scariest moments during your open water swims?

Tamara Bruce: My fellow swimmer David O'Brien would know this, but we had an Australian navy submarine pop up in a Rottnest Channel crossing. It caused us to be pulled under. I was not as close as David, but it certainly was a scary moment.

At the Rottnest Channel Swim in 2003, over half the field didn't start due to weather and conditions and over half of the field that did start didn't finish. Yes, the race should have been cancelled, but wasn't. I have never been scared in open water of sharks ever; however, because of the weather, my boat could not get anywhere near me except to pass my feeds to me and had to move away quickly. Also, a paddler just was not possible due to the conditions so that swim was the first time I felt unsafe. I did finish, but it was long day mentally and physically
.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: Was your father always on your escort boats?

Tamara Bruce: My father-coach was always on my support boat even when home funds were low. He always found the money to accompany me on my swims. There were only two swims when I had already 'retired' that I said he should go on the support boat with one of our new open water swimmers and solely because I was just swimming for the fun of it; not as a full-on competitor and his experience would help guide her swim more than supporting me in my fun crossing.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: When and why did you retire?

Tamara Bruce: I retired when I was 22-23 years old after a car accident. I had hurt my shoulder and lower back and it was just too difficult to train at the time. I had been coaching and teaching swimming with our family business since I was 17 and had been making that transition for many years. Teaching and coaching juniors was becoming my priority more every summer season.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: What is your involvement in open water swimming now (besides your work on the IMSHOF committees)?

Tamara Bruce: I've been coaching since I was 17 alongside my dad. I really started looking after our club open water swimmers and national age swimmers when my dad's involvement on Australian pool teams grew with some of his swimmers which had him away a lot more. I was also a coach-handler at the 2000 World Open Water Swimming Championships in Honolulu, Hawaii and a manager at the 2001 FINA World Swimming Championships in Fukuoka, Japan. My passion for open water has never waned and I would dearly love to see Australia get back to podium finishes at elite level and to also see the continuation of the growth of open water swimming across the world.

And the third generation of Bruce's have entered the open water world. "My son Bay is eight and swam his first open water race of 500 meters in Rottnest."

Bruce is shown above both with her father-coach Roger Bruce and with fellow Rottnest Channel Swim winner David O'Brien.

David Barra, USA


A vacuum was created in the open water swimming community when the long-running Manhattan Island Marathon Swim and NYC Swim events were not continued.

Based on interest that came pouring in from coast to coast and from around the world, David Barra, Rondi Davies, and Alex Arévalo of New York Open Water stepped into the void.

"Organizing a safe competition around Manhattan Island is not an insignificant undertaking. It requires a lot of hard work, planning and commitment. But, of course, this was not an unusual act of community service by David," said Munatones. "In fact, given his track record in the sport, his passion to pick up the world's most popular marathon swimming race and carry on the tradition is frankly par for his course."

After a long history of helping others and competing as a marathon swimming ambassador, the American participated in the inaugural S.C.A.R. Swim Challenge in Arizona in 2012 and worked as a guide and coach with SwimVacation in addition to serving as one of the principals of New York Open Water that organizes the 20 Bridges Circumnavigation Swim of Manhattan, the 28.5-mile (46.5 km) replacement swim for the Manhattan Island Marathon Swim.

Barra also created the 120-mile (193 km) 8 Bridges | Hudson River Swim in 2011 that has turned into the world's longest competitive marathon swim series and a destination swimming event for ultra-marathoners.

Based on his customary greeting, "Anything worth doing is worth overdoing," Barra takes long distance swimming very, very seriously.

In 2010, the then 45-year-old Barra had one of the most remarkably prolific years of amateur open water swimming in the 21st century. He started off in March with a 9.6-mile Maui Channel between the islands of Lanai and Maui in Hawaii. Then he completed the the 24-mile (38.6 km) Tampa Bay Marathon Swim in Florida in April in 10 hours 49 minutes. Then he went on to complete the 28.5-mile (45.8 km) Manhattan Island Marathon Swim in June in 8 hours 30 minutes.

On his second leg of his Triple Crown of Open Water Swimming, he crossed the 21-mile (33.7 km) Catalina Channel in July with a 15 hour 37 minute swim in tough conditions. Then he did the 8-mile (12.8 km) Boston Light Swim in Massachusetts in August in 3 hours. He completed an English Channel in September with a 14 hour 27 minute crossing and followed it up with a 17.5-mile (28.1 km) Ederle Swim in October in 5 hours 37 minutes. He capped off that 2010 season with a 5 km swim in Coney Island November in New York. His explanation of his exploits are below.



After the 2012 S.C.A.R. Swim Challenge, Barra completed the 20-mile Provincetown to Plymouth swim (P2P Swim) in Massachusetts, the 25-mile In Search of Memphre, a cross-border swim from Vermont (USA) to Quebec (Canada), and organized the 2nd 8 Bridges Hudson River Swim. He also participated in the 15.1-mile Cape Circumnavigation Challenge marathon swim around Cape May, New Jersey and won the inaugural 2.6-mile Cold Water Challenge in Fairfield, Connecticut.

In 2013, Barra completed a 22-mile marathon swim in Eleuthera, Bahamas from Lighthouse Beach to Sunrise Beach in 13 hours 41 minutes. In 2015, Barra completed a lengthwise 38-mile (61.1 km) crossing of Cayuga Lake in New York in 23 hours 26 minutes.

So prolific has Barra been, he is now the namesake for the Barra Award of the Marathon Swimmers Federation. The Barra Award is an award given to an individual for most impressive overall year of marathon swimming.

Barra served as an observer for Chloë McCardel's 126 km marathon swim from Lighthouse Beach on the southern tip of Eleuthera Island in the Bahamas to Nassau in 42 hours 30 minutes in 2014.

Humble, passionate and committed, Barra represents everything good and positive about the sport.

Colin Hill, Great Britain

Innovative, creative, passionate, organized and articulate.

These are only a few well-deserved adjectives for Colin Hill.

Hill has literally done everything in the sport, from race organization to ice swimming.

He is the visionary behind the British Gas Great Swim Series and developed the concept to make open water appealing to the general public. The British Gas Great North Swim is now one of the biggest mass participation swims in the world.

He was also the Marathon Swimming Technical Operations Manager for the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games at the 2012 London Olympic Games. The Olympic 10K Marathon Swim that Hill produced showcased the sport of open water swimming like never before.

He also appears frequently on British television programs and is frequently named as one of the 101 Movers And Shakers In The Open Water Swimming World.

After his Olympic success, Hill set up Chillswim and organizes the Big Chill Swim in Windermere in the Lake District of England. He also completed an ice swim in Windermere in 2013 and organizes the Chillswim Coniston - 5.25 miles End to End, the Big Chill Swim Salford, the Chillswim Boxing Day Dip, and the historic Windermere Cross Lake Swim in Windermere, England.

Hill received the Open Water Ambassador of the Year award at the 2012 H2Open Awards and was nominated for the 2012, 2014 and 2016 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year awards.

He was the first person to swim from shore to shore across Kielder Water in northeast England in 2014 and was a speaker at the 2014 FINA World Aquatics Conference on The Future of Aquatics.

He crossed the English Channel in 10 hours 30 minutes and completed one of the fastest ice mile swims in history in 2013 in Windermere in 4.7°C water and 4.4°C air in 24:22. He has completed a two-way crossing of Windermere, was the age group 450m champion at the 2012 Winter Swimming World Championships in Latvia, won the 5 km Hellespont Race (200th anniversary swim of Lord Byron's Crossing) in Turkey, completed a crossing of the Strait of Messina in Italy, did a Strait of Gibraltar crossing in 2011, and did swims including the Distance Swim Challenge in California, Setubal Bay in Portugal, and did a 48-mile 6-person relay in Loch Earne, Ireland.

"Colin is a wonderful, tireless ambassador of the sport and has an eye for detail to make swims memorable, unique, competitive and safe for swimmers of all ages and abilities," says Munatones. "He can talk strategy with Olympians, he can discuss basic swimming strokes with newcomers, he can advise people how to create ideal safety nets in mass participation events. He works with FINA and he works with newbies; he works with sponsors and with local government authorities. His versatility is impressive."

He has done it all...and he has decades longer to do even more in the sport.

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The Open Water Swimming Magazine is the monthly magazine entirely focused on open water swimming heroes and heroines of every age, ability, and background. Published by the World Open Water Swimming Association, the Open Water Swimming Magazine is a free benefit to WOWSA members.

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