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Saturday, January 31, 2015

Helping The Next Generation

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

To help the next generation of swimmers learn to enjoy open water swimming is a wonderful thing.

People jump in with newbies and swim together - or just talk through fears that some people have of the open water.

So many people around the world are passionate about open water swimming. It is clearly evident to see the joy they bring when they help other people of all ages gain the necessary skills and experience in the open water.

After people learn to be safe and enjoy the open water, a number of short- and long-term effects occur.

The newbies tend to do the following:

1. Never look at an open body of water the same way again. What previously seems off limits, now seems potentially doable whether it is a nearby lake or a distant sea.
2. Expand their view of the Planet Earth. What previously seems unknowable, now seems potentially a part of the world (lakes, rivers, bays, oceans) where they can now explore.
3. Improve their pool swimming. What previously seems far (1500m freestyle or a set of 10 x 200 freestyle), now seems like short distances.
4. Ask about solo swims and relays across lakes and channels - with a profound sense of first-hand appreciation. What previously was something of no interest, now is something they search online and inquire among their newly found friends.
5. Research potential places and events to participate in. What previously seems impossible, now seems all too possible with preparation, whether it is a 1-mile swim or a 20-mile channel crossing.
6. Understand how challenging the different niches are in the open water world from ice swimming to channel crossing. The definition of cold gradually drops from 15ºC to 10ºC to 5ºC. The concept of distances gradually increases from 1 km to 5 km to 25 km.
7. Gain friends and colleagues from around the world, all with the common passion of the open water.

Photo above shows two different generations enjoying the ocean at the upcoming Murray Rose Malabar Magic Ocean Swim in Sydney, Australia.

Copyright © 2015 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Lisa Hertz Completes 23-Mile Shadow Swim

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Lisa Hertz completed an unprecedented 23-mile Shadow Swim from Clearwater Beach to St. Pete Beach in Florida on December 6th 2014.

She swam to raise money for cluster headache research and awareness. "Cluster Headaches are a rare pain disorder that affects the trigeminal nerve on one side of your head," Hertz explains. "I was diagnosed with chronic cluster headaches eight years ago and, after trail and error, have been able to keep the attacks under control and live my life. Many people are not so lucky.

I spoke at the 9th Annual Clusterbusters Cluster Headache Conference in Nashville, Tennessee about the importance of having a positive mindset and managing chronic health conditions while being an endurance athlete

Copyright © 2014 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Get Out There And Enjoy It

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Deirdre Whalen is the Permit Coordinator & Government and Community Relations Coordinator at the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. She was co-host of the 2014 Monterey Beach SportsFest in Monterey Bay and talked about the marine sanctuaries and why and how people can enjoy these protected areas.

Copyright © 2014 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Friday, January 30, 2015

CBS Daytime On Stephen Redmond's Oceans Seven

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Stephen Redmond's historic completion of the Oceans Seven was showcased on America's CBS Daytime television.

Copyright © 2015 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Able-Bodied In The Open Water

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Years ago, we debated with decision-makers in the sport that disabled athletes could compete in and enjoy open water swimming.

"The risk is too high."

"They will panic in the water."

"They cannot navigate in the ocean."

"Their parents and caregivers will never give permission for them to swim in the open water."

All kinds of excuses were given. But in Long Beach, California, the second Special Olympics World Summer Games will host an official 1.5 km open water swimming competition for the world's most accomplished open water swimming Special Olympics athletes. But their abilities are often on display throughout the world including at the upcoming Murray Rose Malabar Magic Ocean Swim in Sydney, known as Australia's friendliest open water swim.

Held on Malabar Beach on February 15th, the event is now in its seventh year, attracting close to 1000 swimmers. ‘The Magic’ was initiated by Rainbow Club Patron and Australian Olympian Murray Rose as a way to raise funds for the children’s charity and its important work across communities around the country.

The swim is the main annual fund-raising event for the Rainbow Club that provides swimming and recreational activities for children with disabilities. The Magic was the first ocean swim in New South Wales to include a Swimmer with a Disability award and category in both the 1 km and 2.4 km courses.

Copyright © 2015 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Chase Your Dreams At The Endurance Sports Expo

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

The Endurance Sports Expo is the largest cycling, running and triathlon Expo in the United States. Held in the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center in Oaks, Pennsylvania on February 21st - 22nd, the expo is focused on land-based athletes, but it also offers a bit of splash into the open water swimming world.

Tripler Crowner Anthony McCarley, Bruckner Chase and Dr. Michelle Evans-Chase will represent the sports among the land-based endurance athletes.

Dr. Evans-Chase will present Meet Your Endurance Mind: Mindfulness Meditation & Endurance Sports along with her husband Bruckner. Dr. Evans-Chase, an Assistant Professor at Rowan University, will present her research on mindfulness mediation as a means to increase emotional regulation.

Bruckner will present The Open Water Big Three: Balance, Power, Serenity where he presents the concept that there is no perfect stroke for all open water situations and conditions, but every athlete can work in and on the water to develop an Open Water Core that will enable them to adapt and thrive in any open water environment.

For more information, visit here.

Copyright © 2015 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Happy Happy Happy, From Young To Older

Courtesy of the annual Murray Rose Malabar Magic Ocean Swim, touted as Sydney, Australia's friendliest open water swim.

Patron Pittar

Photo courtesy of the Murray Rose Malabar Magic Ocean Swim in Sydney, Australia, supported by International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Honour Swimmer James Pittar.

Copyright © 2015 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Running And Swimming Here And There

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

The most exciting parts of an open water swim for most spectators include:

1. The run-in at an onshore start
2. The finish of a close race
3. Bodysurfing into the finish
4. The scramble around the turn buoys, especially at the start when the packs are large in number
5. The feeding frenzy at the feeding pontoon

Swimmers are shown running in at the Murray Rose Malabar Magic Ocean Swim is touted as Sydney, Australia's friendliest open water swim.

Held on Malabar Beach on February 15th, the event is now in its seventh year, attracting close to 1000 swimmers. ‘The Magic’ was initiated by Rainbow Club Patron and Australian Olympian Murray Rose as a way to raise funds for the children’s charity and its important work across communities around the country.

The swim is the main annual fund-raising event for the Rainbow Club that provides swimming and recreational activities for children with disabilities. The Magic was the first ocean swim in New South Wales to include a Swimmer with a Disability award and category in both its 1 km and 2.4 km courses.

Copyright © 2015 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Marvelous Marathon Memories Of A Mountain Of A Man

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Towering open waterist Ned Denison was inducted in the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame in 2013. He recalls some of his most vivid memories over the course of his career:

Catalina Channel, 20.3 miles from Catalina Island to California mainland:

"I had the perfect day…not a ripple. The best moment was coming on board afterwards, holding up 3 fingers for the Triple Crown of Open Water Swimming and learning that my time was faster than Barbara Held and Forrest Nelson, then smiling for the next 60 hours thru the IMSHOF induction ceremony."

False Bay, 35 km across South Africa:

"I had a short-time window so I could not wait for a great day. I went on one that would start nice and freshen up later. Everything about that place is the focus on shark attacks so the mental pressure could have been overpowering. It turned out to be my best mental performance swim ever and physically I attacked the oncoming waves in the afternoon.

The best moment was having breakfast with Hugh Tucker, marathoner, observer and maker of a swimming shark cage for False Bay attempts, his wife Fran and Andy Pfaff when he declared that Andy’s English Channel crossing and my False Bay swim were the greatest he had witnessed in several hundred observations

Ice Mile, Ireland:

"I had no interest. I only did it because local English Channel soloer Finbarr Hedderman kept saying, 'Ned doesn’t do cold,' which I could live with until he, one day added, 'Because he can’t.' I beat him to it and was the first in Cork. The best moments were coming out and singing zippy do dah' to Jackie Cobbell and Kevin Murphy, the witnesses and a few days later seeing Finbarr."

Guildford, Surrey, England

"It was a special kind of bone-tired. It wasn’t so much the mile every hour. The night temperature went to 0ºC, the ground was covered in frost, and I had arrived with no support and a bag of odd food from the grocery store. The best moment was of my swimming friend and nemesis Rory Fitzgerald who did an extra 100 at the every finish with me."

S.C.A.R. Swim Challenge, 41.7 miles (66.9 km) in the State of Arizona

"Canyon Lake is one of the top 10 prettiest places I have ever been. It was a last-minute decision based on good friends Barbara Held and Roger Finch swimming. As an extra bonus, I spent 4+ days with swimming hero Gracie and great swimmers/organisers Dave Barra, Liz Fry and Greg O’Connor plus all the other swimmers and volunteers. The best moments were surviving the cliff climb down to Saguro, saving the day and simultaneously pleasing 27 women in Canyon when Greg O’Conner discovered he had no swimsuit and was going to swim naked and I had the only spare, in Apache where I stayed 100 meters ahead of Liz for the last 5 miles of 14 miles. She was the Terminator and never stopped coming. In Roosevelt, the nightmare continues to haunt me: Having gone up 3-0 on Dave Barra he announced that I was going down in the Roosevelt night swim. I finished and yelled in the dark, 'Tell me Barra is still swimming' and he softly replied, 'I’m here'. AAAGGGHHHH.

The funniest moment of the year was when the oldest swimmer had come in last in the first 2 swims and made a move to pass a swimmer near the finish, but was discovered. He remarked, 'The damn buzzards circling me, waiting for me to die, gave away my position.'"

Strait of Gibraltar, 14 km from Spain to Morocco

"It was the most fun. I swam in a group for 4, including 3 good mates escorted by my partner Catherine. Trevor was a marathon virgin and broke the Irish record and he is still smiling and we partied well."

Round Jersey, 41-mile (65.9 km) circumnavigation of the Island of Jersey in the English Channel

"I had waited 3 years for this swim. It was the worst of the year. The day before was perfect and the record broken and I dreamed. My day was lumpy and I was puking from the first hour. The best thing was Charlie Gravett’s health had improved enough to pilot my swim."

Cork to Cobh, 16 km swim held in the Port of Cork, Ireland

"It was my third time on that course and sixth time across the ferry path and the conditions were fantastic. The best moment was thinking about 16-year-old Owen O’Keefe in 2009 when we were swimming at 4 am in the dark in the same waters: rough, rainy and windy. And he went on to swim 25 km to Myrtleville, then the English Channel solo and at age 20 is one of the best open water swimmers in Ireland and a leader of the sport. I was thinking how proud I am of how he turned out."

The best moment of the year was when Fionnuala Walsh, having been denied by the fog 100m from France in July, went back once in September and got weathered out, and then returned in mid-October to complete a rough ugly swim to join the English Channel solo club.

The worst moment of the year was the summer solstice swim to celebrate the life of our Paraic Casey who died in the channel in 2012. One lap of Sandycove Island bawling into my googles. The other 50+ swimmers went in and I did a second lap and found a bit of peace with good memories.

Copyright © 2015 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Peter Charter Fights To The End And Beyond

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Talk about a passion for the sport. There may be none with more passion than Peter Charter who will participate in the 2015 aQuellé Midmar Mile in South Africa next month.

Charter will be at the start despite having heart bypass surgery shortly after last year's Midmar Mile.

"If the Midmar Mile had been the Midmar Mile-and-a-half, you might not be here," his cardiologist, Doctor Dirk Pretorius, told Charter after he saw him the day after the event.

Despite having swum the race many times before, Charter had struggled to prepare for the 2014 Midmar Mile. He had often found himself short of breath and tired during his training. The warning signs were there, he admitted, but he chose to ignore them. In hindsight, "I think I was a damned idiot."

During his swim, he had hit a wall at 400 meters, but it seemed that it was always like that. "This was no different," he recalled, "But it was just harder to get through. I found a bit of a rhythm by 800 and 1,200 meters, but by the time I made it to the anchored yachts near the finish, I was badly out of breath."

Charter was less than 100 meters from the finish when he recalls, "The world went strange. I lost my sense of balance and orientation and struggled for breath. I had this strange sensation of both hot and cold patches of water against my skin. There was no pain at all, and to this day I have never had pains in my chest other than caused by the surgeon's scalpels and saws."

A lifesaver, who was only meters away, had asked him whether he was feeling okay. Charter told him that he was alright. But he most definitely was not. Somehow, unbelievably and fortunately, he managed to complete the mile in 37 minutes, but a friend at the finish told him, "You look like bloody cement,"

Charter went to see a doctor the next day and learned some surprising news. "I didn't have a heart attack. Because I was reasonably fit, my systems shut down and protected me from damage. The symptoms I had in the water were my body saying 'if you go on any further you are going to kill yourself."

After his cardiologist conducted tests, Charter was admitted to the hospital. As it turned out, he had a number of blockages and underwent a heart bypass operation. His father suffered a near-fatal heart attack at the age of 51, so Charter said he should have known he was at risk, but he chose to ignore the warning signs.

Recovering from the surgery was tough. Charter spent 15 days in hospital, five weeks at home, and then returned to work in a part-time capacity for a couple of weeks. But he never forgot his passion: he started to walk in the aquarobics pool and began to swim again after three months. "After about three months, I was swimming freestyle again. It took so long because of what they do with your chest to get to the heart. They cut your sternum in half and open your chest up by dislocating your collarbones, and it is not fun. They cut you right down the middle of your chest. By eight months, I had worked up to a kilometer in the pool. At the moment I am swimming about 1,200 meters a day, not very fast because I no longer have an artery going to my left pectoral. They took it and rerouted it down to the heart."

Charter said his story should serve as a warning to participants that they need to prepare properly for the Midmar Mile. "When it comes to my own cardio-intelligence for the last four or five Midmar Miles, I would rate myself somewhere between zero and three on the dof-o-meter." He recommends a number of things swimmers should consider when training:

1. If your training doesn't go well, find out why. Don't blame getting older.
2. If you are at risk, get things checked out.
3. If you get them checked out and you need something like a bypass, go for it because you can still come back. It is not the end.

"It is not the Midmar Mile's fault if you have a problem," he concluded. "A lifesaver was right there in my case. He offered assistance to me as soon as I had a problem."

Photo courtesy of Andrew Grote of Gameplan Media.

Copyright © 2015 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Swimming Around Manhattan Over The Past 100 Years

History courtesy of navigator and Captain Tim Johnson, author of the History of Open-Water Marathon Swimming.

The 100th anniversary of the first circumnavigation swim around Manhattan Island will be on September 5th this year.

At the age of 18, Robert Dowling jumped into the rivers around Manhattan Island (Hudson River + East River + Harlem River) and completed the first swim around the heart of New York City in 13 hours 45 minutes, 100 years ago.

While Dowling pioneered the first circumnavigation swim, it was until 1927 until swimmers started to swim counterclockwise around the island in synchronization with the tides. The planning of the swim received a boost in 1983 when Empire State College student Tim Johnson of Port Washington, New York started to compute the tides for every attempt using an algorithm with his computers he had available to him at the time. The algorithm has been continuously improved upon ever since. The current tidal planning is now in the hands of NYC Swim founder Morty Berger.

After graduation, Johnson kept on swimming, documenting history of the sport of marathon swimming and was later inducted in the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame. He provides some highlights of the 28.5-mile (48.5 km) swim now called the Manhattan Island Marathon Swim:

The first record of 13 hours and 45 minutes was established by Robert Dowling in 1915. The first woman to swim around Manhattan was Amelia Gade, age 22, on September 26th 1921 in a time of 15 hours 57 minutes.

In 1927, the record was dropped to 8 hours 56 minutes by Bryon Summers. At the age 25, he also held the Catalina Channel record at the time [in 13 hours 35 minutes]. Summers and his navigator established the modern course for the swim starting at Hell Gate and swimming counterclockwise around the island in synchronization with the tides.

On October 6th 1975, Diana Nyad, age 25, lowered the record to 7 hours 57 minutes.

This was followed by Drury Gallagher, age 43, who lowered the record to 7 hours 12 minutes on July 19th 1982. Gallagher also established the Manhattan Island Marathon Swimming organization that year and the annual competitive swims around Manhattan began.

By 1983, the algorithm developed by Captain Tim Johnson predicted an ultimate fastest transit time of 5 hours 30 minutes. The algorithm was developed using a 16 kilobyte computer program in BASIC. At the time, Gallagher’s circumnavigation record was about how long it took his Hewlett-Packard computer to calculate the swim simulation.

When Paul Asmuth of California, the reigning World Professional Marathon Swimming Federation champion, used the algorithm on August 7th 1983, he became the first person to swim around Manhattan is under 7 hours. His swim of 6 hours 48 minutes ushered in the age of computer-assisted swimming.

One important less was revealed by the computer analysis: any given swimmer’s finishing time was dictated by when and where they began their swim in the tide cycle. Later in 1983, Diddo Clark dropped the women's record to 6 hours 52 minutes while Gallagher lowered it further to 6 hours 43 minutes.

Overa period of a few years, the record was lowered until it stood at 6 hours 12 minutes by Shelley Taylor-Smith of Perth, Australia in 1985. Then the rivers took over. For six years, despite several attempts, no swimmer could break the record, although one swimmer, Karen Farnsworth, did essentially tie the record.

Swimmers learned the lesson that the river flows around Manhattan were eventually revealed purely by accident. In 1991, Kris Rutford of Nebraska made an attempt on the record with Johnson’s assistance. True to form, Rutford matched Johnson’s computer projections through two-thirds of the swim – the Harlem River followed by the Hudson River. But it was in the East River where the swimmers always fell behind the computer predictions that were now converted to Excel using a portable computer.

The tide on the day of Rutford’s attempt was rated at 2.7 knots for the ebb tide in the Hudson River. This tide is so fast that it does not occur every year. The tides led Johnson to launch a series of corrections to the program aboard Rutford’s escort boat as Rutford started to drift wide under the Williamsburg Bridge. When Johnson checked the prediction for passing under the Williamsburg Bridge with Rutford’s actual time the swimmer had gained time back. When he reached the tip of Roosevelt Island, even more time was gained back. Ultimately, Rutford became the first person to swim around Manhattan Island in under 6 hours, completing the swim in 5 hours 54 minutes that broke Taylor-Smith’s record by 18 minutes.

The competitive Australian was on the telephone within 24 hours asking Johnson for an opportunity to respond to Rutford’s record-breaking swim. The next date that put the reigning World Professional Marathon Swimming Federation champion in the same fast current that Rutford benefitted from occurred four years later. She put it to good use as she dropped the record on July 15th 1995.

Under the direction of Captain Johnson, she started her swim at Hell Gate at 2:40 am and headed up the Harlem River on the fastest tide of the year. Taylor-Smith swam the entire Harlem River in the dark as she reached the Battery ahead of Rutford’s time, but was held up at the Battery for 2 minutes by the Staten Island ferry that was docking at 7 am. While she was treading water consuming liquids, Captain Johnson told her that she was in the same place in the same time as Rutford was when he set the existing record. That was all that she had to hear to motivate her as she picked up her stroke down the East River. She swam the 7 miles of the East River up to Hell Gate in 1 hour 29 minutes to break Rutford’s record by 9 minutes and her previous personal record by 27 minutes.

In 1993, Morty Berger took over the Manhattan Island swimming organization from Gallagher and later started its current entity of NYC Swim. NYC Swim has since seen thousands of swimmers take to the waters of Manhattan in a renaissance of open water swimming that has made Manhattan the epicenter of American open water swimming.

Marcia Cleveland dropped the American women’s record of 5 hours 57 minutes in 1996 while Taylor-Smith's record of 5:45 continued to stand well in the test of time.

Berger predicted in September 10th 2010 that the same 2.7 knot ebb current in the Hudson River could help world marathon swimming champion Petar Stoychev, Olympian Mark Warkentin, Rondi Davies of New York City, and Tobey-Anne Saracino of Rye, New York set new records. The entire record-setting attempt was broadcast over the Internet live, but a late start precluded any record swims on that day.

But Berger continued to plan and recruit top-level swimmers well.

In 2011, 36-year-old Australian Oliver Wilkinson and Rondi Davies were ready to set new standards. The pair pushed each other and Wilkinson set the current record of 5 hours 44 minutes 2 seconds. In the Manhattan Match Race and Record Attempt, 41-year-old Rondi Davies also broke Taylor-Smith's 1995 record of 5:45:25, finishing in 5 hours 44 minutes 47 seconds. Interestingly, their record swims were just a shade over the record prediction of 5:30 made in 1983. At that pace, swimmers would average 11.5 miles per hour (or an incredible 18.4 km per hour).

Who knows how far the record will ultimately fall in the 21st century?

Copyright © 2015 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Ole To Ola

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Matías Ola was interviewed this week in a fascinating exchange of information and insight together with Jose Diaz and Alessi Pérez on the weekly Nadandolibre Radio Show - Radio Marca in Spain.

Copyright © 2015 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Crowded Conditions In The Catalina Channel

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

An increasing number of huge tankers are anchored in the Catalina Channel, waiting to get into the Long Beach port.

The horizon off the Southern California coast is dotted with dozens of cargo ships sitting in the channel waiting for dockworkers of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union at the Long Beach Port to come to an agreement with management of America’s west coast ports.

The Long Beach port is America’s busiest with a massive amount of products coming in from Asia, the Pacific Rim and the Middle East.

Quite visible by shoreline swimmers, especially in the Orange County beaches, the line-up of huge tankers is an unusual sight.

Copyright © 2015 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Touch The Wall, Head Towards The Shore

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

We see a lot of similarities between aquatic athletes in various disciplines.

Whether the athletes is an open water swimmer walking triumphantly onto shore, a pool swimmer hitting the wall with a best time, a diver nailing a dive of high technical difficulty, a water polo player scoring a goal, or a synchronized swimmer scoring well in a competition, they all have a certain innate drive and joyful passion for the water.

Missy Franklin and Kara Lynn Joyce star in Touch The Wall, a look at the camaraderie and competitive aspects of aquatic sports.

Touch the Wall Theatrical Trailer from Touch the Wall on Vimeo.

Copyright © 2015 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Building Blocks Of Winter Swimming

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Ice swimmer, channel swimmer, marathon swimmer, coach and adventurer Charlotte Brynn was seen helping building the winter swimming venue at the site of the upcoming United States Winter Swimming Championships on February 21st and 22nd in Lake Memphremagog, Vermont.

For more information on the Winter Championships and the Kingdom Games, visit www.kingdomgames.co.

Copyright © 2015 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Some Skin Shark Scene

Tattoos are all the rage with all kinds of marine scenes and creatures dotting the skinscape of athletes and non-athletes alike.

But some tattoos are particularly eye-catching to open water swimmers, especially those of sharks, mermaids and crashing surf.

On left is certainly one startling example.

Artificially Creating A Comeback

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Sharks are being killed to the tune of over 100 million a year.

At this rate, it is feared that sharks will be eliminated by mankind.

But the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, California is trying to do something about this destruction. Its animal husbandry team has artificially inseminated its zebra sharks at the aquarium and its newborn will soon be unveiled to the public.

Zebra sharks are considered vulnerable to extinction. Its biologists are working on their side, pushing the envelope of knowledge on impregnating female sharks held in captivity, to help stave off possible extinction.

Copyright © 2015 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Churning Up In Hong Kong

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

James Penrose from the UK was one of the marathon swimmers who competed in this past weekend's Naturally Buoyant category in the 14 km Cold Half marathon swim in Hong Kong, slogging through the choppy Stanley Bay that was churned up by 15-20 knot winds.

Despite the 17ºC warm water (for Penrose), the winds and turbulence got the better of 5 of the 7 solo starters. According to race director Doug Woodring, Penrose said that the Cold Half this year was tougher than his English Channel swim.

16 teams of 2 swimmers joined the 7 soloists in the midst of strong winds and a choppy start across Tai Tam Bay. Once they rounded the satellites off of Stanley, the pod of Cold Halfers were hit with strong winds which challenged their resolve.

The winner of the solo wetsuit event was Rob Hart from Singapore who completed the course in 4 hours 46 minutes. The winning relay team was won by Jemima Ridley and Aneekah Styles, a pair of local 14 year olds who beat all of the men’s teams and broke the course women’s relay record with a time of 3 hours 37 minutes. The men’s team record for no-wetsuits was also broken by Shane Davis and Jeff Faiola with a time of 4 hours 28 minutes.

Harry Wright and Katrin Buchta both attempted the Cold Standard race this year, which involves running the 42 km Standard Chartered Marathon day after the 14 km swim. Wright successfully completed his goal of swimming 10 km under 3 hours with a time of 2:49:20 and followed that with a marathon run time of 3:20. Wright said, “This was another amazing weekend with the Cold Standard races. The tougher conditions in the water made the race epically different and much harder than last year. I was happy with the swim result, but the run was slower than I had expected. I am happy knowing that I could not have pushed myself any harder though.”

Katrin Buchta, a German citizen living in Guangzhou, who was told at a young age that she could never do sports, completed 6 km of the swim and had to pull out due to the cold. This did not stop her from completing the marathon run with a time of 4 hours 20 minutes - her lifetime best by 5 minutes. Buchta said, “The Cold Half swim was the toughest ever. Since I did not finish, I now have unfinished business and will return to do it again. I am very excited about my personal best time for the marathon, and what a weekend of racing that was."

James Riley and Andrew Au also raised over HK$500,000 for the HK Cancer Fund for their efforts in battling the elements in the Cold Half on Saturday.

Stretching from Stanley to Deep Water Bay, the relay course runs along Hong Kong’s most stunning views. The race is open to solo swimmers, or relays of two people. Woodring explained, "Like the Clean Half race every October, the race is both a celebration of the amazing water and geographic assets we have in Hong Kong, combined with extreme sports, and an appreciation of the environment. The elements really kicked in today, and though the tide was in everyone’s favor, the winds after The Wall, just after the halfway point, were a force to be reckoned with, particularly if you were breathing on the right side and into the white caps. Many swimmers were pushed off-course and swam wider than usual. The water was great though, and for those who like to prepare for channel swims, this is a great place to do it.

This year the event was visible live on the internet with the use of tracking devices for each swimmer and team. The tracking lines for the swimmers is still visible on Facebook or at Open Water Asia www.openwaterasia.com and www.facebook.com/openwaternrg.


Solo Men's Wetsuited
1. Rob Hart 4:46.19

Relay Women Wetsuited
1. Jemima Ridley and Aneekah Styles 3:37:30
2. Samantha Morton and Samantha Gove 3:39:49
3. Lynda Coggins and Christena Pazos 4:17:50

Relay Men's Wesuited (30 min/30 min)
1. Scott Day and Doug Woo 3:53:02
2. Scott Burton and Ethan McGrath 3:56:20
3. Olivier Ricaille and York Schiling 4:07:47

Relay Men's - Naturally Ocean (no wetsuit)
1. Shane Davis and Jeff Faiola 4:28;49

Relay Men's Wetsuited (50%/50%)
1. Tony Sabine and Colin Hannah 4:48:48

Relay Mixed - Wetsuit (30 min/30 min)
1. Sally Rubery and Barry Day 5:07:32

Cold Standard (Swim and Marathon Run)
1. Harry Wright (10 km swim time) 2:49:00 + 3:20 (42 km run time)

Copyright © 2015 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Monday, January 26, 2015

Negative Splitting Life In The Open Water

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Lots of athletes experience peaks in their athletic careers in high school. Others peak in their university years and a select few continue on to peak at World Championships, the Olympics or as professional athletes.

The life of a competitive athlete can be fleeting and is largely confined to those in their teenage years and their young adulthood.

But open water swimming is vastly different.

Swimmers like Thomas Lurz, Petar Stoychev, Poliana Okimoto, Angela Maurer and others peak start peaking in the late 20s and continue to be world-class into their 30s.

And then there are marathon swimmers and channel swimmers who start to peak even later on in life...in their 40s like Tomi Stefanovski, in their 50s like Elizabeth Fry, in their 60s like David Yudovin, in their 70s like Dr. Otto Thaning, in their 80s like Mally Richards, and in their 90s like Lorna Cochran.

Even when the 250 inductees in the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame are considered, there are still many who are active and doing open water swims in their post-Hall of Fame retirement.

Athletes including Nick Adams (Great Britain), Antonio Argüelles Díaz-González (Mexico), Julie Bradshaw (Great Britain), Nora Toledano Cadena (Mexico), Anne Cleveland (USA), Lynne Cox (USA), Ned Denison (Ireland), Marcos Diaz (Dominican Republic), Elizabeth Fry (USA), Peter Jurzynski (USA), Jane Katz (USA), Vicki Keith Munro (Canada), Yuko Matsuzaki (Japan), Angela Maurer (Germany), Sally Anne Minty-Gravett (Great Britain), Michael Oram (Great Britain), Penny Palfrey (Australia), James Pittar (Australia), Lewis Pugh (South Africa), Carol Sing (USA), Martin Strel (Slovenia), Irene van der Laan (Netherlands), Christof Wandratsch (Germany) and David Yudovin (USA) still have some swims left to do.

In the open water world, the second half can be the better half.

Copyright © 2015 by World Open Water Swimming Association

A Thank You Gift from WOWSA

WOWSA is celebrating the
1-Year Anniversary of the monthly Open Water Swimming Magazine
by giving you a free copy of the anniversary issue.

Open Water Swimming Magazine Anniversary Issue
File Size: 13MB


Download the file to your computer, and then right-click to extract the magazine which is inside the zip folder. The magazine is in PDF format.

CLICK HERE to download your free copy now.

Open Water Swimming Magazine

Open Water Swimming Magazine

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.

WOWSA Member Benefits include 12 issues of the Open Water Swimming Magazine, the annual 276-page Open Water Swimming Almanac, a free listing in Sponsor My Swim, outstanding product discounts from FINIS, an entry in Openwaterpedia and more...

The Other Shore

The Other Shore follows world record holder and legendary swimmer Diana Nyad as she comes out of a thirty-year retirement to re-attempt an elusive dream: swimming 103 miles non-stop from Cuba to Florida without the use of a shark cage. Her past and present collide in her obsession with a feat that nobody has ever accomplished. At the edge of The Devil’s Triangle, tropical storms, sharks, venomous jellyfish, and one of the strongest ocean currents in the world, all prove to be life-threatening realities. Timothy Wheeler’s documentary brings Diana Nyad’s extraordinary adventure to life as Diana sets out to prove that will and determination are all you need to make the unimaginable possible.

2014 Open Water Swimming Almanac

An Almanac for Open Water Swimming

An almanac is essentially a body of knowledge which is so complete that it enables people in different fields to make predictions about the future of their respective industries.

This, for example, was the purpose of the traditional farmers almanacs. It enabled farmers to determine as accurately as possible which crops to plant for the greatest harvests in a given year.

But the farmers almanac was just one example among many.
There are, of course, many different kinds of almanacs.

In fact, there is even one for open water swimming...

Preview the Open Water Swimming Almanac:

The trends are very clear.
The tide is rising for open water swimming.


Open Water Swimming Event Sanctioning

World Professional Marathon Swimming Federation

Open Water Race Calendar

Coaches Education Program