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Thursday, March 23, 2017

Conor Dwyer On A Roll

Courtesy of Rich Roll covering surfing swimmer Conor Dwyer who grew into his status and mindset as an Olympic gold medalist.

Rich Roll talks with Conor Dwyer on his podcast here in a 88-minute wide-ranging interview that he calls "From Bench Warmer to Olympic Champion".

Besides surfing, living on the waterfront in Manhattan Beach, California, and competing in the Cayman Islands Flowers Sea Swim, Dwyer won 2 Olympic gold medals and an Olympic bronze medal in his signature 200m freestyle.

Using The Eiffel Tower As An Olympic Landmark

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

After years of planning and politicking, the selection of the location of the 2024 Summer Olympics is turning out to be between two large global cities.

Several candidate cities expressed interest in hosting the 2024 Olympics including Rome (Italy), Nairobi (Kenya), Casablanca (Morocco), Durban (South Africa), Johannesburg (South Africa), Doha (Qatar), Brisbane (Australia), Paris (France), Berlin (Germany), Hamburg (Germany), Copenhagen (Denmark), Saint Petersburg (Russia), Kiev (Ukraine), Budapest (Hungary), Istanbul (Turkey), Baku (Azerbaijan), and Los Angeles (USA).

As the bids were announced, city by city fell by the wayside, leaving the lead pack of Rome, Paris, Budapest, and Los Angeles.

But Rome and Budapest pulled out, leaving only Paris and Los Angeles as the two possibilities to host the world's Olympic athletes and the 2024 Olympic 10K Marathon Swim.

Throughout the history of the Olympic Games, swimming events have been held in the following open bodies of water:

* 1896 Athens Olympics (Games of the I Olympiad): Bay of Zea off the Piraeus coast in the Aegean Sea of Greece
* 1900 Paris Olympics (Games of the III Olympiad): River Seine in Paris, France
* 1904 St. Louis Olympics (Games of the III Olympiad): Man-made pond near Skinker and Wydown Boulevards in St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.A.
* 1906 Athens Intercalated Games: Neo Phaliron Bay off the coast of Athens, Greece
* 2008 Beijing Olympics (Games of the XXIX Olympiad): Shunyi Olympic Rowing-Canoeing Park (顺义奥林匹克水上公园 or 順義奧林匹克水上公園 in Chinese), outside Beijing, China
* 2012 London Olympics (Games of the XXX Olympiad): Serpentine in London, UK * 2016 Rio Olympics (Games of the XXXI Olympiad): Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
* 2020 Tokyo Olympics (Games of the XXXII Olympiad): Odaiba Marine Park in Tokyo Bay, Japan

If Paris wins the 2024 Olympic Games bid, the site of the Olympic 10K Marathon Swim will be dramatic in the River Seine with the Eiffel Tower as a dramatic backdrop.

France or America, the River Seine or Long Beach...where will the 2024 Summer Olympic Games be held? Stay tuned to find out from the IOC this September.

Copyright © 2008-2017 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Long Beach Wins LA Olympic Marathon Swimming Bid

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

After years of planning and politicking, the selection of the location of the 2024 Summer Olympics is turning out to be between two large global cities.

Several candidate cities expressed interest in hosting the 2024 Olympics including Rome (Italy), Nairobi (Kenya), Casablanca (Morocco), Durban (South Africa), Johannesburg (South Africa), Doha (Qatar), Brisbane (Australia), Paris (France), Berlin (Germany), Hamburg (Germany), Copenhagen (Denmark), Saint Petersburg (Russia), Kiev (Ukraine), Budapest (Hungary), Istanbul (Turkey), Baku (Azerbaijan), and Los Angeles (USA).

As the bids were announced, city by city fell by the wayside, leaving the lead pack of Rome, Paris, Budapest, and Los Angeles.

But Rome and Budapest pulled out, leaving only Paris and Los Angeles as the two possibilities to host the world's Olympic athletes and the 2024 Olympic 10K Marathon Swim.

Throughout the history of the Olympic Games, swimming events have been held in the following open bodies of water:

* 1896 Athens Olympics (Games of the I Olympiad): Bay of Zea off the Piraeus coast in the Aegean Sea of Greece
* 1900 Paris Olympics (Games of the III Olympiad): Seine River in Paris, France
* 1904 St. Louis Olympics (Games of the III Olympiad): Man-made pond near Skinker and Wydown Boulevards in St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.A.
* 1906 Athens Intercalated Games: Neo Phaliron Bay off the coast of Athens, Greece
* 2008 Beijing Olympics (Games of the XXIX Olympiad): Shunyi Olympic Rowing-Canoeing Park (顺义奥林匹克水上公园 or 順義奧林匹克水上公園 in Chinese), outside Beijing, China
* 2012 London Olympics (Games of the XXX Olympiad): Serpentine in London, UK * 2016 Rio Olympics (Games of the XXXI Olympiad): Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
* 2020 Tokyo Olympics (Games of the XXXII Olympiad): Odaiba Marine Park in Tokyo Bay, Japan

If Los Angeles wins the 2024 Olympic Games bid, we had imagined the site of the Olympic 10K Marathon Swim would have been selected among the following possibilities along the Southern California coast:

* Manhattan Beach
* Santa Monica Beach
* Huntington Beach
* Long Beach
* Castaic Lake

Ultimately, Long Beach was selected and if Los Angeles gets the bid, the Olympic 10K Marathon Swim will be held along the Long Beach waterfront at the Long Beach Sports Park [see map above and here].

France or America, the River Seine or Long Beach...where will the 2024 Summer Olympic Games be held? Stay tuned to find out from the IOC this September.

Copyright © 2008-2017 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Potentially Alarming? What Do You Think?

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Not only did David Meca win FINA world championship races in 1998, 2000, 2003, and 2005 and 25 FINA World Cup races while being ranked #1 on the 1998, 1999, 2001 and 2003 FINA professional circuits during his lengthy career, the Spaniard who competed for USC during his collegiate pool career successfully swam twice across the English Channel in 2004 in 7 hours 46 minutes and in 2005 in 7 hours 22 minutes with both times ranked in the Top Ten of All-Time crossings.

While his 90 km swim in a wetsuit from mainland Spain to Ibiza in 2006 in 25 hours 30 minutes, his two double-crossings of the Strait of Gibraltar in 2008 (8 hours 35 minutes and 7 hours 18 minutes), his 11-time wins in the Descenso a Nado de la Ría de Navia, his 100 km swim from Tenerife to Gran Canaria in 2002 in 23 hours 5 minutes, his 90 km swim in Río Guadalquivir in 2007 were not included in his official International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame biography, Meca's career was undoubtedly impressive and comprehensive.

But because of his failed drug test, Meca was removed from the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame last year under the direction of chairman Chris Guesdon with the approval of the Executive Committee.

His official removal signaled an undeniable position by the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame to implement a zero tolerance policy against swimmers who violate the various anti-drug policies of the various policing agencies in the swimming world.

Guesdon explains on the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame website (noted here), "IMSHOF Nominees who have failed a drug test by WADA or an authorized WADA body will not be considered for IMSHOF induction."

Meca is the only Honour Swimmer to date who has been removed from the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame, but other sports are now testing more and more endurance athletes including masters (i.e., older) athletes who would not be otherwise tested by WADA or governing bodies like FINA.

The BBC recently reported that a 55-year-old amateur cyclist from England was banned after positive drugs test (see here) for taking steroid hormones prednisone and prednisolone because of mouth ulcer medication he was taking. The BBC noted that the British anti-doping body refused his retrospective application for a therapeutic use exemption, but "was satisfied [the athlete] did not act intentionally."

But BBC Sport released the survey results of more than 1,000 members of sports clubs and teams in the UK that found 49% of amateur athletes believe performance-enhancing drugs were easily available among competitive athletes, 35% say they personally know someone who has doped, and 8% said they had taken steroids (see here).

Nicole Sapstead of the UK Anti-doping agency told the BBC, "I don't think any sport can say that they don't have a problem at an amateur level. I think now is the time for everybody to sit up and acknowledge that this is a reality in every single sport and that you can't just be washing your hands of it or hoping that someone else will address it."

Is competitive masters pool swimming, marathon swimming and channel swimming as clean as it is assumed? Perhaps. But without testing or anonymous self-reporting procedures, we may never know.

Copyright © 2008-2017 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Antonio Argüelles Across The Cook Strait

Estrecho de Cook from Pablo Argüelles.

11 hours 20 minutes across the Cook Strait with Antonio Argüelles Díaz-González on March 19th. In his own words, Argüelles explains his sixth Oceans Seven crossing:

The trip to New Zealand was a long one, about 29 hours since arriving at Mexico City International Airport. During the flight from San Francisco I began to feel bad. Luckily Ariadna was carrying antibiotics and I was able to immediately start my treatment.

On Monday I felt terrible; my chest hurt a lot, I was coughing constantly and lungs were full of phlegm. It was all I could to go out to have the meeting with Philip Rush. On Tuesday I swam in the pool, not wanting to subject myself to the 16ºC ocean water. On Wednesday I did swim in the sea, but it was heavy going. The water was cold, and every time I breathed my chest ached. During most of the swim, I was coughing.

Six months ago, when I reached Philip to confirm my window, he told me it would be between March 18th and 25th, but he wanted me to be ready as early as the 16th so we could go if we had a day when the conditions were right. Although he had told us not to look at Windguru.com, we couldn’t help it. So we knew that the 16th was expected to be sunny, and almost windless.

While swimming on Wednesday I thought about the possibility of Philip telling me that night that we should swim the next day. If I got his call, would I be prepared? I did relaxation exercises in the water and when I got out I felt better. Luckily we didn’t hear from him that night and didn’t discuss it until Friday, but there was no news that day, either. On Saturday we were supposed to write Nora Toledano at 7:30 pm. At 7:32 I got a message from her letting me know that Philip wanted to talk to us. “Please call him.” When we reached Philip, he said he wanted to see us at the hotel.

In all my years as an open water swimmer, I had never faced such an unstable climate. On the day we arrived, Windguru showed us two possible dates when the conditions might be right, one on Sunday the 19th and another, that wasn’t as good, on Wednesday the 21st. Later in the week, on Saturday the 25th, another one looked like it would open. That was at the end of our window.

For Sunday March 19th, 12 hours of good weather was predicted in which the tides would allow me to swim. Of those 12, there would be five with calm winds, but from then on they would intensify until they reached 25 knots — conditions in which it is impossible to swim.

If Philip wanted to schedule the swim, there were two possibilities: we would either leave on Sunday or have to wait for the next Saturday with the risk that the weather would not cooperate and we would miss our window altogether. Nora and I went down to the lobby to find Philip waiting for us.

"We leave tomorrow,” he said. “But I want to tell you what we are going to face. What I can see is that we will have four to five hours with a calm sea; then the winds will begin to pick up. The time will come when we will no longer have conditions to continue swimming."

I did not get upset. I simply asked, "Do you have any doubts that overall there will be conditions for a crossing?"

"No doubts," he replied, "But I have to be honest. In the second part of the swim you will face a complicated sea."

I asked, considering the tide, if he saw another option. "With the information I have today,” he answered, “I don’t see another opportunity in the week. It's not perfect, but it's what there is."

"Go ahead," I said. "So what’s next?"

In his hand, there was a map showing a previous crossing. He traced out the route and told me, "I'm going to need you to make the most of the first four hours...especially the first one. The tide will be pushing us. We have to take advantage of it."

The translation is simple. You start at maximum capacity and make as much headway as you can. And after the weather degrades, you have to continue to push very hard or you won’t get there. We wrapped up the discussion and agreed on the time and place to meet the next day.

On Sunday we arrived punctually at the pier and were already on the boat before 6:00 am, meeting with the captain and the crew. After a brief explanation of the safety measures and the location of everything we’d need during the trip, Philip told us, "Today we will have four to five hours of good weather, then the winds will begin to blow. We are expecting a storm with very strong winds. If the conditions are not suitable, I will have to take the swimmer out of the water. I have the last word."

The message could not be clearer.

We motored out from the dock and arrived at the starting point at about 7:30 am. It was a beautiful morning. I warmed up with my resistance bands and the team applied my sunscreen lotion and Lassar zinc oxide paste. I was ready. I climbed into the inflatable boat and Philip took me near the rock I needed to touch. The approach was simple, the sea was calm.

The first hour was very good. According to my watch, we went almost 3,800 meters. The next three hours passed with neither pain nor glory.

Between the fourth and the fifth hour I slowed down to 60 strokes per minute (spm). During the tenth feeding, something curious happened: Philip gave instructions to Nora which she then translated them to me. I could not stand it and jokingly told Nora to ask Philip why he was using a translator. His response was, "She is your trainer — she must tell you what to do. " A very professional attitude on his part, I thought. Nora asked me not to slow down, since I had reached 64 spm.

For the next two hours I kept my mind blank, counting from 1 to 50 without letting anything distract me. During the feeding in the seventh hour Philip told me that I had five more to go. Right then I was already at the limit of where I could be in the 12 hours I had to finish.

At that moment I could see the coast clearly. Remembering the palm trees of The Cove in La Jolla or the center anchorage of the Bay Bridge in San Francisco, I asked them to give me a reference point on the horizon. My goal was not to deviate from a straight line.

As time went by, it was increasingly difficult to stay parallel to the boat. The wind was indeed picking up, blowing harder and harder. I remembered the size of the waves of Moloka'i and then Catalina this January and compared them with what I was swimming through now. These waves had nothing on those other ones. They were complicated, sure, but not two and a half meters high.

As I put my thoughts in order, my left hand fell onto a jellyfish about 30 cm around. I never saw it coming, which shows that when I swim all I do is concentrate on my strokes. Later I would learn that I also swam through a very large palm leaf without stopping for a second. For me it was one more plant in the sea that I had to cross. I didn’t have time to contemplate it.

The landmark on the horizon began to move to the left. In the tenth hour’s feeding I was informed that the wind is speed was becoming very fast. They needed me to keep up a pace above 61 spm.

Meanwhile on the boat, without my knowing it, the captain approached Ariadne, Pablo and Ricardo and said, "Things do not look good. We might have to get him out. These winds are going to increase even more, and very soon."

My point of reference was the setting sun hanging low on the horizon. If I did not arrive soon, I would not see where to land. I decided not to wait for a feeding. I needed to keep moving.

"You're less than two kilometers away," Philip yells. That should take me about 40 minutes.

I pick up my pace and can really feel myself moving through the water now. I must have made it past the current. Again I hear Nora and Philip crying, "You're 800 meters away!" I keep swimming, and then stop for a moment. “Where should I go?” I ask. There are two mounds sticking up from the water with seagulls perched on them. The one on the left is bigger.

"Swim to the left mound."

I approach and, with just a few meters to go, slow down. I didn’t want a wave to smash me against rocks. Arriving at the mound, I touch it and the seagulls fly away. It is a rock covered with marine plants very soft and pleasant to the touch. It’s a sweet welcome to finish swimming without being scraped or tossed around.

I turn to the boat, lifting six fingers towards them and toward the sky, where Paul's drone is flying.

I did it. I got my sixth ocean. I am happy.

Dangers Lurk In Unexpected Places

Courtesy of Ted Gover in a Starbucks in San Diego, California.

Heading To The Longest Swim

Courtesy of Exploration Institute and Benoît Lecomte.

Benoît Lecomte explains his preparations and journey to begin The Longest Swim from Tokyo to San Francisco:

The transatlantic crossing, the first stage of our great journey, has been completed successfully. Our support boat is approaching San Diego, concluding a 3-month delivery to the United States. Discoverer and her crew left England at the end of December, sailing along the coasts of Portugal and Morocco, then crossing the Atlantic Ocean. In Antigua, the crew changed a propeller which had lost a blade in transit. Then Discoverer waited patiently for her turn to pass through the Panama Canal alongside some of the largest container ships in the world.



The final leg of the crossing was rather difficult for our “Discocrew”, with a strong headwind blowing south along the Mexican coast. However, after weeks of working at sea together, a strong bond has formed among our crew so that they face these difficult conditions in high spirits. We now have a united team who will give strength to both Ben and one another during the intense six month expedition of swimming across the Pacific.



In San Diego, Discoverer will see some significant changes. She will become much more than a ship, outfitted as a true maritime laboratory equipped with all the requisite supplies for the completion of our research protocols.

While at sea our crew will collect a wealth of valuable oceanographic and biomedical data for ongoing research by our scientific partners. In order to achieve this it’s necessary to install different tools for data collection and analysis. It is crucial to make these installations during Discoverer’s stay in San Diego so that we can perform equipment tests during the crossing from California to Japan, before starting The Longest Swim.


On March 23rd, Lecomte will discuss the innovative dimensions to The Longest Swim’s scientific research program at the XPRIZE Ocean Initiative: Leveraging Tech for Positive Environmental Impacts event in Culver City, near LAX International Airport.

From April 7th-9th, members of The Longest Swim team will attend the Asia Dive Expo (ADEX) where Lecomte will receive an award to be one of four Heroes of Climate Change in 2017 for his leadership in The Longest Swim.

On March 27th, The Longest Swim will launch its Kickstarter campaign to raise US$52,800 in order to cover funding for a last few essential pieces of the expedition. "With The Longest Swim we want to initiate a collective reflection on how to better protect our oceans, and show that we are all concerned about their current state and future health," explains Lecomte.

Copyright © 2008-2017 by World Open Water Swimming Association

The Seven Ages Of Water Presented By Wallace J. Nichols







































Courtesy of Wallace J. Nichols, Ph.D. of BlueMind Life, Stevens Point, Wisconsin.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Shark Fin Sales Elimination Act Introduced

Courtesy of Alex Grey, Oceana.

Turns out sharks aren’t just important to maintaining healthy ocean ecosystems – they impact our wallets, too.

Shark-related dives in Florida alone generated more than US$221 million in revenue in 2016, according to a new report commissioned by Oceana released today. Compared to the stark US$1 million generated by the entire United States shark fin export market in 2015, it’s clear that in Florida sharks contribute more to the economy swimming with their fins attached.

Tell your Representative in Congress: Ban the sale of all shark fin products in the U.S. to protect sharks and our oceans here at home and around the world here.

Lora Snyder, Campaign Director, Responsible Fishing for Oceana explains, "Congressmen Ed Royce of California and Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan introduced the Shark Fin Sales Elimination Act today. The Act would ban the buying and selling of shark fins in the United States. "We have NO time to waste: Every year, as many as 73 million sharks end up in the fin trade. Many are plucked from the ocean, maimed for their fins, and tossed back to sea to die – leaving some targeted species at high risk of extinction.

Losing these important predators could have massive negative impacts on the very health of our oceans. Tell your Representative in Congress to ban the sale of all shark fin products in the U.S. to protect sharks and stabilize ocean ecosystems here at home and around the world here.

8 in 10 Americans support a national shark fin ban. Eleven states, including Texas and Massachusetts, have passed their own fin bans. Major companies like American Airlines and GrubHub stopped shipping and selling fins
."

Copyright © 2008-2017 by World Open Water Swimming Association

The Unbelievable Story Of The Japanese Surfers

Courtesy of Mpora.

Mpora posted a story about a contaminated beach near the irradiated nuclear power plant in Fukushima, Japan that is still a regular spot for local surfers.

The Unbelievable Story Of The Japanese Surfers Who Ride Fukushima’s Radioactive Waves is posted here.

The Longest Preparation For The Longest Swim

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Benoît Lecomte has admittedly had a challenging year, but he is gradually getting closer to his goal of starting his solo stage swim in Tokyo, Japan and heading off to San Francisco.

"We didn't give up [preparing for The Longest Swim]. Our support boat is days away from San Diego [California] and after some preparation, our team will sail to Tokyo to start the swim in June 2017."

Lecomte will be in Culver City near Los Angeles on March 23rd to attend the XPRIZE Ocean Initiative: Leveraging Tech for Positive Environmental Impacts event to present information on The Longest Swim.

The XPRIZE Ocean Initiative features a discussion and workshop that focuses on methods of leveraging technology to achieve positive environmental impact, as well as the new and unorthodox paths organizations are taking in this effort. Lecomte will present as will Jenny Kruso, the Executive Director of AltaSea at the Port of Los Angeles [see here].

Lecomte continues to push and promote The Longest Swim as it will be the most expensive open water swim ever attempted.



"The Longest Swim will kick off our Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign to help us complete our budget before the swim’s launch in June 2017," explains Lecomte who has been working on the project from a physiological, scientific, logistical, operational, financial and promotional perspective for years.

The campaign to raise the remaining US$52,800 is posted here. Lecomte explains The Longest Swim where he will swim 8 hours a day for 6 months between Tokyo and San Francisco, as he contributes to scientific research and raise awareness on the importance of protecting the oceans.

"This will be the first attempt to swim across the Pacific Ocean, but also the first science expedition of its kind. We will collect valuable data on the ocean and the human body. Along the way, we will collect samples to evaluate the amount of plastic, the changes in ocean pH, the movement of radioactive particles from the Fukushima accident, or the changes to my microbiome during the swim. Our eight protocols are directed by 13 scientific institutions including NASA and WHOI, and will constitute an unprecedented overview on the state of the Pacific Ocean and on how the human body reacts to extreme exercise.

To make this journey successful, we still need US$52,800 to be able to start in the water in Tokyo. With our total budget of more than $385,000, this Kickstarter campaign is the last push that will allow us to begin this six-month adventure.

2,000 donations of US$25 could do it. If you give US$25, you will get a postcard written by me in the middle of the Pacific during the expedition. There are several other rewards depending on your contribution, and please keep in mind that there is no small donation, every dollar is a step closer to the water
."

The donations will be used to buy six months’ worth of food for Lecomte and his 9 crew members, and to finance their satellite connection so that Lecomte and his team can stay connected with their land-based team on land and share their story on a day-by-day basis via video, pictures, articles, and interactions on social media.

For more information, visit thelongestswim.com.

Copyright © 2008-2017 by World Open Water Swimming Association

AltaSea, Where Ocean Innovators Work Together

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

One of the closest beaches to the finish of a Catalina Channel crossing is Cabrillo Beach.

On the other side of Cabrillo Beach is the Port of Los Angeles where Catalina Channel ferry boats are moored.

The area has great plans to be revitalized and revamped with plans to help shape a positive future for Planet Earth.

Jenny Cornuelle Krusoe, the Executive Director of AltaSea at the Port of Los Angeles, will explain these plans and goals in Los Angeles on March 23rd at the XPRIZE Ocean Initiative: Leveraging Tech for Positive Environmental Impacts event where she will be a guest along with Benoît Lecomte who will describe The Longest Swim.

AltaSea accelerates scientific collaboration, facilitates job creation and inspires the next generation for a more sustainable ocean. Built on a historic pier with access to the deep ocean, AltaSea’s 35-acre campus brings people together to expand science-based understanding of the ocean; incubate and sustain ocean-related business; and pioneer new ocean-related education programs.

Lecomte will be in Los Angeles on March 23rd to attend the XPRIZE Ocean Initiative: Leveraging Tech for Positive Environmental Impacts event to present information on The Longest Swim.

For more information, visit AltaSea. To listen to both Kruso and Lecomte, visit here.

Copyright © 2008-2017 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Swimming To, From And Around Mexico's Coronado Islands

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

The Coronado Islands (Islas Coronado or Islas Coronados in Spanish) are a group of four islands off the northwest coast of the Mexican state of Baja California. The islands can be seen from Tijuana in Mexico or Imperial Beach and other shoreline areas of San Diego, California.

The islands are largely barren and uninhabited except for a military detachment and lighthouse keepers.

The islands lie between 15 and 19 miles south of the entrance to San Diego Bay, but are located only 8 miles from the Mexican mainland.

The Coronado Islands are a Mexican wildlife refuge; visitors may anchor, scuba and snorkel, but trips ashore are not allowed.

There have been a few marathon swims to and from and around the islands according to American channel swimmer Dan Simonelli.

Copyright © 2008-2017 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Monday, March 20, 2017

Schwimm Festival Neusiedler See In Austria

Courtesy of Andreas Sachs, Austrian Open Water Cup.

The fifth Schwimm Festival Neusiedler See (Lake Neusiedler Swim Festival) is the largest open water swimming competition in Austria with over 600 participants.

The race is located in the wine region of Austria, surrounded by vineyards that make some of the finest wines in Austria. The event includes races of 500m, 1 km, 1.9 km, 3.5 km and 5 km, in a national park.

The races are held over a 3-day period so swimmers can take part in more than one race. The 3.5 km race (Illmitz-Mörbisch Lake Crossing) that revises a historical cross-lake event.

The 5 km race is around an island in the lake that is close to the Hungarian border with a start and finish in the Mörbisch amphitheater as a dramatic backdrop.

For more information, visit www.schwimmfestival.at and here.

Copyright © 2008-2017 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Ingemar Macarine Swims From Limasawa To Barangay Tangkaan

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Ingemar Macarine swam from the historic Limasawa Island by swimming 10.3 km in 4 hours 34 minutes from Barangay San Bernardo on Limasawa Island to Barangay Tangkaan in the Municipality of Padre Burgos on Southern Leyte in the Philippines.

Macarine attempted and completed the swim in order to celebrate the 496th Anniversary of the First Philippine Christian Mass and to promote clean seas. "The swim was organized by Southern Leyte Provincial Governor Damian Mercado, Board Member Lee Uy, Limasawa Mayor Nilo Petracorta and Vice Mayor Melchor Petracorta, Padre Burgos Mayor Hermenegildo Culpa and Vice Mayor Freiche Poblete, Tourism Officer Nedgar Garvez," explained the prolific Filipino marathon swimmer. "Philippine Coast Guard Jeric Jek and Roel Catoto served as my navigators while the swim was witnessed by almost 40 people on four escort boats.

I had difficulty swimming because of the big waves with constant white caps and a strong oncoming current. We had to shortened the swim route from the original 13 km and landed on the western shore instead of the eastern side because of the big waves."

Copyright © 2008-2017 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Breakfast With Champions In Santa Fe

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

A unique reunion occurred in Santa Fe, Argentina when Damián Blaum and his wife and two-time winner Esther Nuñez Morera met with four other overall winners of the 57 km Maratón Acuática Internacional Santa Fé – Coronda: Carlos Larriera, Diego Degano, Fernando Fleitas, and Rafael Pérez in a Breakfast of Champions.

The historical winners include the following athletes:

1961 Carlos Larriera, Argentina
1962 Carlos Larriera, Argentina
1963 Herman Willemse, Netherlands
1964 Abdul Latif Abou Heif, Egypt
1965 Horacio Iglesias, Argentina
1966 Giuglio Travaglio, Italy
1967 Horacio Iglesias, Argentina
1970 Horacio Iglesias, Argentina
1974 Claudio Plit, Argentina
1975 Claudio Plit, Argentina
1976 Claudio Plit, Argentina
1977 Claudio Plit, Argentina
1978 John Kinsella, USA
1979 Bill Heiss, USA
1987 James Kegley, USA
1988 Diego Degano, Argentina
1990 Diego Degano, Argentina
1991 Fernando Fleitas, Argentina
1992 Diego Degano, Argentina
1993 Diego Degano, Argentina / Christof Wandratsch, Germany
1994 Gregory Streppel, Canada
1995 Gregory Streppel, Canada
1996 Stéphane Lecat, France / Gabriel Chaillou, Argentina
1997 Stéphane Lecat, France
1998 David Meca Medina, Spain
1999 Stéphane Lecat, France
2000 Stéphane Lecat, France
2001 David Meca Medina, Spain
2002 Gabriel Chaillou, Argentina
2003 Rafael Pérez, Argentina
2004 Stephane Gómez, France
2005 Stephane Gómez, France
2006 Petar Stoychev, Bulgaria
2007 Petar Stoychev, Bulgaria
2008 Petar Stoychev, Bulgaria
2009 Petar Stoychev, Bulgaria
2010 Petar Stoychev, Bulgaria
2011 Petar Stoychev, Bulgaria
2012 Joanes Hedel, France
2013 Simone Ercoli, Italy
2014 Simone Ercoli, Italy
2017 Damián Blaum, Argentina

Copyright © 2008-2017 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Lough Dan Races In Loch Deán

Courtesy of Eoin GaffneyIreland.

For further information about the Lough Dan Races, email leinsteropenseaswim@gmail.com.

Lough Dan (Irish: Loch Deán) is a boomerang-shaped ribbon lake near Roundwood, County Wicklow, Ireland.

Registration for the 2.5 km, 5 km and 10 km races is available here.

Copyright © 2008-2017 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Ashley Twichell Swims With BiPro

Courtesy of BiPro USA

American professional marathon swimmer Ashley Twichell appears on an television commercial for BiPro, manufacturer of pure whey protein and its signature product, BiPro Whey Protein Isolate.

Twichell is the aquatic embodiment of a lean, strong and well-defined physique that BiPro promotes and is a well-spoken ambassador for the brand and products. "I use it right after workouts and races. It allows me to recover a lot quicker and get protein right back into my system."

Copyright © 2008-2017 by World Open Water Swimming Association

From Russia With Love

Courtesy of Evgeny Levashev of VolgaSwim, Nizhny Novgorod, Russia.

For more information on the July 15th event, visit www.volgaswim.com.

Copyright © 2008-2017 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Ben Hooper On Swimming Across The Atlantic Ocean

Courtesy of Ben Hooper, Expedition Swimmer & Leader, Swim The Big Blue, Atlantic Ocean.

Ben Hooper, a British swimmer, attempted a solo stage swim from Dakar, Senegal to Natal, Brazil, starting on November 13th 2016.

After 33 days traversing westward in the Atlantic Ocean in which Hooper swam a total of 18 days, the swim was abandoned on January 15th 2017. During these 18 sessions in the Atlantic Ocean, Hooper swam a total of 160.6 km or 4.9% of the anticipated total distance, swimming under his own power.

During his time in the water, Hooper swam in a jammer swimsuit made of porous textile material, a pair of swimming goggles, a single latex swim cap on occasion, and a pair of earplugs. He did not wear fins, use a snorkel, or use any kind of neoprene wetsuit or headwear during his swim where he was accompanied by an escort boat "Big Blue" and guided by a single kayaker from Dakar, Senegal.

Feeding during his time in the water adhered to standard English Channel swimming rules and the logistics of the stage swim adhered to standard World Open Water Swimming Association rules with the exception of the days where swimming was not safely possible due to turbulent conditions, unanticipated weather, medical and health issues, or boat technical problems.

His escort crew included Captain Nigel Taylor-Schofield (UK), Chief Mate Russell Sandbach (UK), Observer & Medic Pamela Mackie (UK), support crew member Ophelie Vtn (France) and kayaker Mamadou Sene (Senegal). After abandonment, all members of the stage swim went onto Fortaleaze, Brazil, and then subsequently returned safely to their homes in their respective countries.

Hooper and his team anticipate a subsequent attempt to be made at a later date. He gave a report of his effort after returning home:

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: What did you feel when you and your team finally decided to officially abandon the attempt?

Ben Hooper: It was the most difficult decision of my life and over the 3 hours we debated and looked for a technical solution to fix the mizon mast shroud and allow speedy collection of me in an emergency from the water, all I could think about was letting my charities, daughter and sponsors down. In the end, we could not find a safe solution and this placed me as the swimmer, at greatest risk of not being retrieved from the ocean. We made the decision and live on film, and I felt utterly devastated - 3 years training and preparation and expedition management 7 days per week 80+ hours per week. As did all my team. The worst feeling in my life.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: How many times did you want to abandon the swim, but then decided to carry on, during the attempt?

Ben Hooper: At no point did I ever consider abandoning the swim.

Five days after being saved having suffered a severe reaction to Portuguese man o war and dying on the boat, I was back in the water and swimming again. It was the skipper and chief mate and medic with a satellite telephone consulting with London Trauma consultant Paul Schofield, who ultimately had the safety say and, of course, exhausted all options to keep the swim going. After the mast shroud incident, as a team we called it, for safety is everything and the risk is high enough, without worsening the probability of tragedy. There was no room for gung-ho bravado. I still was not happy abandoning the swim but I cannot go again if I am dead. I still believe it is better to have tried and failed, than failed to try and push one's boundaries and see the world for what it is. Inspire others and be inspired.


Daily News of Open Water Swimming: What did you learn from this attempt?

Ben Hooper: First, we realised that the swim is possible for the swim was not the issue; technical issues on the vessel were [the issue], and ultimately, following freak weather was our downfall.

Second, we learnt that a more capable vessel for weather when it is not as predicted, to allow for greater fuel and faster sailing to avoid hurricane force storms or at least stand a better chance of riding out in them before swimming again.

A third item, is that we would without a doubt manage our own social media from the boat and this would require a vastly more expensive communication package from Inmarsat, not Iridium. This may prevent the speculation, slander, lies and outright vulgar commentary being made by those not on the vessel and with no idea of what they are talking about. My daughter sadly read a lot of this and she is only 8.


Further, we would be able to manage our communications and trackers better with adequate power sources as this was an issue on our boat within days when the brand new generator broke down.

Overall, we have learnt that humans are unpredictable, but when we need to push ourselves beyond our limits, we can achieve this no matter what or who tries to get in the way, sabotage the swim or simply is as unpredicted as the weather. The key to success next time, is improved vessel capabilities of power, communications and a slightly different vessel specification, and not organising and training for the expedition 90% on my own.

We did indeed recognise our limitations, but as nobody has ever done this properly before, every single mile, there was no support book or support manual for what to do. We made the swim as good as we could and knew how but from this, we have learnt so much that we could take forward and improve the probability of the outcome being successful or indeed help others wishing to try the same feat. Whether this be fundraising and sponsor management, sourcing vessels or indeed support for an attempt on board during a swim crossing.


Daily News of Open Water Swimming: What will you do differently on your next attempt?

Ben Hooper: Apart from improved vessel capabilities, we would adjust the diet to include greater support carbohydrates, meats and mood-lifting treats such as Mars Bars and good coffee. I lost nearly 3 stone in weight between swim and diet, yet was eating around 8000 calories per day (as much more I could not physically cram in). I would bring more music to sleep next to and we would increase sailing crew numbers to allow better rotation for the weather is not always as forecast and historically predicted. I think we would also need to allow for 160 days as there were days where currents were so strong I was swimming backwards or in 3 hours managed just 600 meters.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: What were some of the thoughts and recommendations of your escort crew that you will take into consideration on your next attempt?

Ben Hooper: The boat change, improved foods as our better food supply for treats and Christmas were on the second support boat we got separated from. More washing soap for clothes and electricity for charging...an item we had for a while, but then became a spared luxury thanks to ingenuity of Skipper and Chief mate. Oh, and swim faster.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: Do you anticipate attempting the same course? Around the same time?

Ben Hooper: We set off at the most appropriate time of year, after hurricane season and indeed took the shortest route at approximately 1,635 nautical miles, but will review all weather, current information, and indeed the route for a second attempt.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: What did you first say to your family upon finally meeting them back home?

Ben Hooper: When I first saw my daughter, I hugged her so tight her eyeballs almost popped out. She grabbed my beard of considerable length and grey colours, and uttered the words, "It feels like a sheep's bum, Daddy" - I knew I was back.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: Did you change in any way out there on the Atlantic? Or as a result of this attempt?

Ben Hooper: Yes, physically I have some issues still following the jellyfish attack and injury in Brazil. I lost huge amounts of weight and mentally, I have realised I am stronger than I ever thought possible. To have got to the startline was the biggest challenge and accomplishment, and the amount of resilience was required in abundance, but out in the Atlantic Ocean, I found myself reflecting on what I have done right and wrong; errors in my life and the good things I have done; family and daughter and ultimately, this all kept me going. But the knock on effect is that I am more introspective, less willing to be pushed around and tolerate people who have their own agendas and am a better judge of character now than ever before. I have also made some incredible friends for life. It was an emotional rollercoaster, but one that has enriched my journey and life and as I am now hearing, has inspired others, which is what this is ultimately, all about.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: Do you anticipate any changes to your training and preparation for the next attempt?

Ben Hooper: I think training-wise, 6 days per week and 15-20 km sets per day is ideal still. However, another increase in gym work for additional leg, glutes, core support and ensure I have a physio on board would help. I also feel, having reliable team around me to handle PR and sponsors will allow me to focus more on training which ultimately, will allow me to focus on some increasing of speed; aiming to go from 3-3.3 km per hour and sustain closer to 3.6 km per hour over 20 km in the ocean - not pool swimming, improving my gears for current conditions and focus on training more not business.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: What did your sponsors and charity organisations say to you after the attempt was abandoned? Will they join you on the next attempt?

Ben Hooper: The feedback has been supportive from sponsors and charities alike and so far, most sponsors remain with me. Again, changing PR management to being from the boat will improve sponsor relations in the future.

Copyright © 2008-2017 by World Open Water Swimming Association

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