DNOWS Header

Image Map

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Can You Swim Faster In Murky or Clear Open Water?

Courtesy of Mythbusters with Nathan Adrian, Olympic Champion.

Sometimes, open water swimmers traverse murky waters. Other times, they swim across beautifully clear tropical waters.

What could be faster?

Copyright © 2016 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Unforgettable, Unbelievable, Unpredictable ...What's Next?

Top photo shows Huutajat at the 2016 International Winter Swimming Association competition in Skellefteå, Sweden.

Huutajat is a choir that enters a venue (e.g., International Winter Swimming Association World Cup competitions) in a paramilitary manner and begin to scream, bellow and shout excerpts from national anthems, children's songs, and international treaties. Sometimes the text is delivered as a complex rhythmic structure, sometimes as a simple-but-loud reading.

But similar to winter swimming, Huutajat symbolizes the structure and unpredictability of swimming in really, really, really cold water.

As we think about growth of the sport next season, the International Winter Swimming Association World Cup will attact more individuals and the discipline may see the first individuals achieve The Ice Sevens Challenge within 1-3 years.

The Ice Sevens Challenge is the ice swimming equivalent of the Oceans Seven. To achieve the Ice Sevens, a swimmer must complete a 1 km swim under standard ice swimming rules (i.e., no wetsuit and no neoprene hat) in the following locations:

o Ice Mile swim in any location in Europe below 5ºC (41ºF)
o Ice Mile swim in any location in Russia below 5ºC (41ºF)
o Ice Mile swim in any location in China below 5ºC (41ºF)
o Ice Mile swim in any location in the U.S.A. below 5ºC (41ºF)
o Ice Mile swim in any location in South Africa below 5ºC (41ºF)
o Ice Mile swim in any location in South America below 5ºC (41ºF)
o Ice Mile swim in any Polar location in the Arctic Circle or Southern Ocean below 5ºC (41ºF)
o Ice Mile swim below 5ºC (41ºF) in any Polar location at 60º south or below or 70º north or above

o With one important caveat, one of the seven Ice Miles must be a documented Zero Ice Mile (defined as a solo mile swim performed at below 1ºC without a wetsuit or anything neoprene).

Copyright © 2016 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Open Water Photos By Tomer Avni

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Outstanding open water imagery captured by Tomer Avni.

Copyright © 2016 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Can Early Morning Swimming Make You Rich?

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

In the latest issue of H2Open Magazine, publisher and passionate swimmer Simon Griffiths describes and offers different models for teaching school children in Great Britain (and elsewhere) how to swim so they are water-safe [read here].

Over the years, Griffiths has provided myriad background information and commentary on this issue.

He notes the failure of many schools to reach the national curriculum standard of every child being able to swim 25 meters by the time they leave primary school.

Across the pond in the United States with similar goals, the USA Swimming Foundation runs a Make a Splash program that is a nationwide child-focused water safety campaign. With a number of personable Olympians, Make a Splash aims to provide the opportunity for every child in America to learn to swim.

Another well-established swimming nation - Japan - may provide one model on what is necessary to each and every child to swim. It is not easy and it requires significant resources.

Swimming has long been performed in the island nation of Japan by the samurai warriors, but it took a tragic sinking of a passenger boat in 1955 where 168 people drowned that spurred a nationwide building of swimming pools at schools in 1961. The Ministry of Education defined and encouraged the teaching of freestyle and breaststroke as a result.

The construction program was largely successful with 86.7% of all elementary schools, 73% of all junior high schools, and 64.5% of all high schools in Japan with their own pools and swimming as a compulsory subject in public education.

While children and teenagers throughout Japan learn how to swim in school, swimming was a matter of military necessity in previous centuries. Between the 15th and 17th century, warriors occasionally swam with their armor and helmet. Between the 17th and 19th centuries, swimming was passed along by military personnel who had to navigate through the rivers, seas, and lakes of Japan. Those traditions are kept alive by the Japanese Swimming Federation that authorizes 28 traditional styles of swimming as “Nihon-eiho” (Japanese style of swimming).

Professor Atsunori Matsui explains that in the Japanese swimming textbooks of earlier times, the Japanese taught simple things (e.g., how to put swimsuit on), technical strokes (e.g., sidestroke, freestyle with scissors kick), survival skills (e.g., how to stay afloat, how to dive, how to recover from cramping), and open water navigational issues (e.g., how to go through waves and how to swim out of currents and eddies).

In 1968, swimming was recognized as an important physical exercise in school due to the revision of curriculum guidelines by the Ministry of Education. It is required in elementary school and by the time they are in junior high school and senior high school, they are also taught backstroke, butterfly, and the individual medley.

Photo on left shows Jigoro Kano (1860-1938), the founder of Judo and first Asian member of the International Olympic Committee.

Kano also served as director of primary education for the Japanese Ministry of Education who insisted on the importance of the swimming education and made it with a compulsory subject in a teacher-training curriculum.

Upper photo shows Mission Viejo Nadadores coach Siga Rose with schoolchildren.

Copyright © 2016 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Brenda Sherratt's Historical Swim Across Loch Ness

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

In anticipation of the 53rd anniversary of the creation of the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame this year, the Daily News of Open Water Swimming will highlight a number of inductees from years gone past including swimmers, pilots, coaches and administrators.

Brenda Sherratt is one of those who was inducted in 1970 as an Honour Swimmer.

Sherratt was training to become the first person to swim 36.2 km (22.5 miles) across the length of Loch Ness in Scotland. She did training swims in Bala Lake (5 km), Coniston (8 km), Coniston (16 km) before her special birthday swim across Windemere in the Lake District in England.

All that hard work paid off for the British teenager when she completed her Loch Ness crossing in 31 hours 27 minutes in 1966.

On her birthday swim, she started out on one shore as a 17-year-old and finished her 18 km training swim as an 18-year-old.

She recently retired after nearly 40 years of swim coaching, but she is still mentoring the Cub Scouts.

Brenda Sherratt is shown above after swimming across Loch Ness in 1966. Photo by UPI Cablephoto.

Copyright © 2016 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Monday, May 9, 2016

Kurt Thiel, Open Water Maestro

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Kurt Thiel is one seriously-minded, seriously experienced kayaker and race director.

A navigator and Safety Officer and Air Crew Water Survival Instructor for the Advanced Arctic & Deep Water Survival at the United States Naval Schools Command, he is knowledgeable like few other open water swimming race directors.

A volunteer with USA Swimming and Potomac Valley Swimming, he has served as a Meet Director, referee, escort pilot, and Safety Chairperson, and coaches with Wave One Swimming.

Copyright © 2016 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Family, Friends And Finance In The Open Water

Courtesy of Pat Gallant Charette, Westbrook, Maine.

Channel swimmer Pat Gallant Charette started open water swimming at the age of 47. She talks about how she manages family, friends and finances as she travels around the world in search of swimming from one shore to the other.

"I always placed family commitments first, work second, and swimming third. I am very fortunate to have very supportive family and friends. They encouraged me to reach for my dream of becoming a marathon swimmer."

But as supportive as her family and friends are, it takes much effort, planning and sacrifice to find the time to train. "After being on my feet all day as a nurse, I wanted to go home and put feet up and relax. Instead, I went to the beach directly from work and swam for an hour of two. While swimming, I would jokingly tell myself, "Pat, your feet are up, now relax enjoy the swim." And, I did."

Without sponsorship like most marathon swimmers, she has to find a way to pay for these adventures. "I worked as a nurse until the age of 65 to pay for my marathon swims. In addition, I have a full-time commitment in helping to care for my three young grandchildren ages 8, 5, and 4. I schedule my swim training around their schedule."

The veteran will attempt a solo crossing of the North Channel between Scotland and Northern Ireland in August where her out-of-pocket expenses are US$12,000. "I am paying for crew airfare, lodging, meals, and the usual pilot and association fees. I have no sponsorship for this adventure."

Would she change anything?

"No. After 18 years of being an open water swimmer, I have learned through the hardship of juggling family life, work, and swim training that it has made me mentally and physically stronger as a marathon swimmer."

Copyright © 2016 by World Open Water Swimming Association

The California Open Water Swimming Oasis

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

When open water swimmers gather around the world, there are specific epicenters of excellence that swimmers know and talk about:

* Serpentine (London) for its year-round swimming and number of channel swimmers
* Sandycove (Ireland) for its arduous training camps and number of channel swimmers
* Aquatic Park (San Francisco) for its arduous training camps and number of channel swimmers
* Ala Moana/Waikiki (Hawaii) for its year-round swimming and number of ocean swims
* Manly (Australia) for its large ocean swimming pod and number of races
* Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) for its year-round swimming and number of ocean swimming pods
* Cape Town (South Africa) for its year-round swimming and number of channel/ice swimmers
* Dover (UK) for its abundance of channel swimmers and training
* Costa Brava (Spain) for its abundance of coastal swims and events

But there is one area of the planet where swimming and swimmers are at an entirely different level: Southern California.

It is not a coincidence that Jordan Wilimovsky and Haley Anderson live relatively close to one another and are both the pre-race Olympic medalist favorites in the Olympic 10K Marathon Swim at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

It is also the training grounds for former Olympic medalists like Greta Anderson and Ous Mellouli as well as Olympians and FINA World Championship medalists Chloe Sutton and Mark Warkentin.

It is also the breeding grounds for English Channel record holders Lynne Cox, Penny Dean, and Chad Hundeby.

Seven-time world professional marathon swimming champion Paul Asmuth trained in Mission Viejo while he was winning 59 professional marathon races in his career. Seven-time world professional marathon swimming champion Shelley Taylor-Smith (Mission Viejo) and 7-time FINA World Championship medalist David Meca (USC) also trained in Southern California during their careers.

Even Olympic champion and pioneering winter swimmer Buster Crabbe did high-altitude swims throughout the winter in Lake Arrowhead.

Many of America's most successful open water swimming coaches are in Southern California including Gerry Rodrigues, Dave Kelsheimer (2016 Olympics), Catherine Vogt (2008, 2012, 2016 Olympics), Bill Rose (2008, 2016 Olympics) and John Dussliere (2008 Olympics), Dave Salo, Siga Rose, and Mallory Mead, although there are many more who coach age group swimmers to masters swimming veterans.

In addition to some of the fastest open water swimmers on the planet, pioneering swimmers call Southern California home including Cindy Cleveland, Forrest Nelson, and David Yudovin, and Diana Nyad.

But for every record-setting soloist like John York and Jim McConica and relays like Ventura Deep Six and The Deep Enders, there are thousands of others who swim daily in the ocean waters off Orange County, Los Angeles County and Ventura County and who compete in open water swims around the world like Bill Ireland, Christie Plank Ciraulo, and Veronica Hibben.

The advantages of living and training in Southern California are numerous:

1. Several dozens of outdoor 50m pools and hundreds of 25 yard pools, generally open 363 days per year from early morning to late nights
2. Excellent, passionate, knowledgeable and abundant coaches
3. Hundreds of swimming teams and clubs, from world-class competitive teams to social ocean-faring pods
4. Competitive swimming competitions for age-group swimmers to masters swimmers, held nearly every weekend
5. Dozens of open water coastal competitions, held from June to September
6. Year-round ocean swimming opportunities in water that ranges from a low of 12-13ºC in winter to a high of 22-24ºC in summer with 8-10 months of the year offering water between 16-22ºC from Santa Monica Beach to Laguna Beach
7. Year-round temperate climate without snow and plenty of sunshine
8. Plenty of ocean-swimming courses and beaches with ample parking, warm showers, locker rooms, lifeguards and landmarks for every type of open water training
9. Marine life that ranges from sharks and whales to sea lions and jellyfish
10. Significant number of experienced escort pilots, kayakers and paddlers
11. A world-class channel (Catalina Channel)
12. High surf and regularly strong afternoon winds for extreme training conditions

Copyright © 2016 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Contracting Diseases In The Open Water

Water-related disease information courtesy of Center for Disease Control, Atlanta, Georgia.

Lynne Cox and the New York Times called for the movement of the Olympic 10K Marathon Swim from Copacabana Beach at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games due to water that was tested to be 1.7 million times as contaminated as a beach in California.

"[The Olympic 10K Marathon Swim] must be moved to safe, clean waters — and if [an acceptable venue] can’t be found in Brazil, they must be transferred to another country."

Her call comes months after similar calls by International Olympic Committee and FINA Bureau members Julio Maglione and Vladimir Salnikov. Salnikov, the two-time Olympic 1500m champion and influential head of the Russian Swimming Federation, said “These problems have to be solved on time and that earlier recommendations from FINA obviously haven’t been listened to."

It appears that even FINA and the IOC have no authority in this matter and are legally incapable of moving the Olympic 10K Marathon Swim to either another location or, as Cox has recommended, to another country.

Swimming World Magazine has reported everything from drug-resistant super bacteria in the oceans off Rio de Janeiro to dangerous pathogens and highly contaminated raw sewage draining into Copacabana Beach. Readers have reported seeing people skimming scum off the surface of the Atlantic Ocean in the mornings on Rio de Janeiro.

Oft-quoted virologist Kristina Mena summarizes their concerns with her research. “Those virus levels are widespread. The pollution is so high that exposure is imminent and the chance of infection very likely.” The prediction of 99% likely means that it is likely that 49 of the 50 Olympic 10K Marathon Swim finalists may be infected if they swallow any water or any water somehow enters their system.

Given this situation, we looked into the instances of open water swimmers picking up diseases in the water.

American marathon swimmer Michael Tyson describes the well-known case of Olympian Kalyn Robinson (née Keller) who contracted Crohn’s Disease after swimming in Copacabana Beach at the 2007 Pan American Games [read Would You Swim in Filthy Water? here].

There are undoubtedly many other open water swimmers who have contracted myriad diseases due to swimming in contaminated open bodies of water. The Daily News of Open Water Swimming would like to begin compiling a list of these diseases and the conditions and locations where the diseases were picked up.

If you picked up a disease due to swimming in an open body of water and would like to publicly share your experiences with the open water swimming community, contact headcoach@openwatersource.com with your story.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is the leading national public health institute in the United States. The CDC is a federal agency under the Department of Health and Human Services and located in Atlanta, Georgia. According to the CDC, the top causes of water-related diseases are listed below.

These diseases are caused by germs spread by swallowing, breathing in mists, or having contact with contaminated water in lakes, rivers, or oceans. The infections include gastrointestinal, skin, ear, respiratory, eye, neurologic, and wound infections with diarrhea being the most common.

"Before competing in the 1984 Manhattan Island Marathon Swim, I was worried about infections and the water," recalled Steven Munatones. "So as a preventive measure, I took gamma globulin, tetanus, typhoid, hepatitis A and hepatitis B vaccinations well before the race just in case after consultation with Doctors Without Borders and others who have had experiences with epidemics and massive natural disasters. I know others have taken Rifaximin as a precautionary measure.

In contrast to Paul Asmuth and others who participated in the same race and got sick, I was fine. I do not know if I simply did not contract anything, swallow any water, or the vaccinations actually helped, but right after the swim, I ate a lot and flew home that evening without feeling sick

Top Causes of Water-related Diseases

Shigella: Shigellosis is an infectious disease caused by a group of bacteria called Shigella that causes diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps starting 1-2 days after exposure to the bacteria. Shigellosis usually resolves in 5 to 7 days. Some people who are infected may have no symptoms at all, but may still pass the Shigella bacteria to others.

Norovirus: a very contagious virus that swimmers can get from an infected person, contaminated food or water, or by touching contaminated surfaces. The virus causes inflammation of the stomach or intestines or both (acute gastroenteritis), leading to stomach pain, nausea, and diarrhea and to vomit. Norovirus illness can be serious, especially for young children and older adults. In the United States each year it causes 19-21 million illnesses and contributes to 56,000-71,000 hospitalizations and 570-800 deaths.

E. coli (Escherichia coli): this bacteria normally lives in the intestines of people and animals. Most E. coli are harmless and are an important part of a healthy human intestinal tract. However, some E. coli are pathogenic and can cause illness, either diarrhea or illness outside of the intestinal tract. The types of E. coli that can cause diarrhea can be transmitted through contaminated water or food, or through contact with animals or persons. Pathogenic E. coli strains are categorized into six pathotypes that are associated with diarrhea and collectively are referred to as diarrheagenic E. coli.

Cryptosporidium: a microscopic parasite that causes the diarrheal disease cryptosporidiosis. Both the parasite and the disease are commonly known as Crypto. While this parasite can be spread in several different ways, water (drinking water and recreational water) is the most common way to spread the parasite. Cryptosporidium is a leading cause of waterborne disease among humans in the United States.

Cercarial Dermatitis (Swimmer's Itch): appears as a skin rash caused by an allergic reaction to certain parasites that infect some birds and mammals. These microscopic parasites are released from infected snails into fresh and salt water. While the parasite's preferred host is the specific bird or mammal, if the parasite comes into contact with a swimmer, it burrows into the skin causing an allergic reaction and rash. Swimmer's itch is found throughout the world and is more frequent during summer months. Most cases of swimmer's itch do not require medical attention.

Giardia: a microscopic parasite that causes the diarrheal illness known as giardiasis. Giardia (also known as Giardia intestinalis, Giardia lamblia, or Giardia duodenalis) is found on surfaces or in soil, food, or water that has been contaminated with feces from infected humans or animals. While the parasite can be spread in different ways, water (drinking water and recreational water) is the most common mode of transmission.

Leptospira: a bacterial disease that affects humans and animals that can cause a wide range of symptoms, some of which may be mistaken for other diseases. Some infected persons, however, may have no symptoms at all. Without treatment, Leptospirosis can lead to kidney damage, meningitis (inflammation of the membrane around the brain and spinal cord), liver failure, respiratory distress, and even death.

Algal bloom (freshwater and marine blooms): algal bloom is a rapid increase in the population of algae when water temperatures are warm and when nutrients, such as nitrogen and phosphorus, are present in the water. Blooms can be harmful when they are so thick that they block sunlight that other organisms need to live. When bloom organisms die and decompose, they deplete the oxygen in the water and starve fish and plants, causing fish kills and damaging local ecology. Some algae produce toxins and release them into the water. During a bloom, the amount of toxin present in the water can poison people, wild animals, and pets that go near the water, consume the water, or swim in the water. Cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) blooms and other algal blooms produce toxins that may be harmful to human and animal health.

Copyright © 2016 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Sunday, May 8, 2016

What Is The World's Most Difficult Sports Move?

Photo of Brenton Williams by Clive Wright.

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Many (most?) athletes believe their chosen sport is the most difficult and requires the most amount of discipline and talent.

Each sport is unique and special in its own particular way; each move and motion requires a specific type of training and skill set.

So what is the most difficult move in sports? Here are a representative list of some difficult movements to perform well at any level (amateur or professional).

* Swinging a golf club
* Hitting a baseball
* Swimming butterfly
* Big-wave tow-in surfing
* Skiing down a mountain (Giant Slalom)
* Throwing an uppercut
* Jumping over hurdles
* Equestrian (vaulting with a horse)
* Bull riding
* Blocking a shot in water polo
* Blocking a shot in soccer
* The Lutz (jumping in figure skating)
* Diving (flips + turns) off 10m platform
* Jumping in motocross
* Flipping on a balance beam (gymnastics)
* Kicking a rugby ball
* Timing a cricket stroke
* Vertically inverted Iron Cross
* Tumbling in gymnastics
* Snowboard flips
* Freediving
* Car racing

Each of these movements are speciality moves that require practice and a certain level of athleticism. At the highest levels (i.e., Olympic or professional), these movements can be extremely difficult (e.g., hitting a baseball thrown by a professional pitcher or doing a triple Lutz).

With some level of training, preparation and coaching, many humans can do most of these actions. But there are a few that truly require strength, coordination, balance, focus and raw courage (e.g., motocross jumping, bull riding, snowboard flips like the Double McTwist, car racing). We would put those actions on the difficulty scale before pure athletic moves like flipping on a balance beam, doing an Iron Cross or diving off a 10m platform).

But when you combine strength, coordination, balance, focus and raw courage with the dynamic nature of the ocean, it is easy for us to consider Big-wave tow-in surfing as the absolute most difficult move in sports. Its skill sets combine the ability to swim, balance, and anticipate Mother Nature with the need for raw speed, uncommon strength and an unnatural level of stamina to hold one's breath. Those skill sets are augmented by a tremendously high level of courage and thrill-seeking where death can be the result of mistakes in a most gruesome manner - trapped underwater by tons of churning, turbulent water.

But we also have to hand it to athletes who do butterfly in the ocean. While the potential for death is significantly less, these athletes are unique. Already fewer than 1% of humans can do butterfly for more than 25 meters. Yet these ocean-faring butterflyers regularly swim the most exhausting and difficult of swimming maneuvers for miles and miles, hours and hours.

Butterfly is brutally difficult, especially in the open water.

Butterfly takes a lot more strength, from the shoulders to the abs, than freestyle. Butterfly takes a lot of power and energy to do in the open water, especially when lifting your head and shoulders out of turbulent water.

Brian Suddeth, an open water butterflyer, calculated the speed of his fellow butterflyers.

1. Charles Chapman, Jr. in 1988 Manhattan Island Marathon Swim (river) in 4.87 kph over 45.8 km in 9 hours 25 minutes
2. Julie Bradshaw in 2011 Manhattan Island Marathon Swim (river) in 4.85 kph over 45.8 km in 9 hours 28 minutes
3. Dan Projansky in 2014 END-WET (river) in 4.81 kph over 57.9 km in 12 hours 2 minutes
4. Kathryn Mason in 2014 Rose Pitonof Swim (river) in 4.81 kph over 27.3 km in 5 hours 41 minutes
5. James di Donato and Jonathon di Donato in 1983 Manhattan Island Marathon Swim (river) in 4.72 kph over 45.8 km in 9 hours 43 minutes
6. Héctor Ramírez Ballesteros in 2012 Descenso a Nado de la Ria de Navia (river) in 4.29 kph over 5 km in 1 hour 10 minutes
7. Natalie Lambert in 1993 Lake Erie swim (lake) in 4.14 kph over 32.1 km in 7 hours 47 minutes
8. Dan Projansky in 2013 END-WET (river) in 3.95 kph over 43 km in 14 hours 30 minutes
9. Sylvain Estadieu in 2013 Lee Swim Cork (river) in 3.72 kph over 2 km in 32:28 minutes
10. Gianni Golini in 1977 Strait of Messina (sea) in 3.71 kph over 3.2 km in 51:49 minutes
11. Brenton Williams [shown above] and Kyle Harris in 2014 Pulse Swim (bay) in 3.66 kph over 5 km in 1 hour 22 minutes
12. James di Donato and Jonathon di Donato in 1985 Bahamas to Florida attempt (ocean) in 3.25 kph over 65.3 km in 20 hours 6 minutes
13. Brenton Williams in 2011 Steers Marina Mile (marina) in 3.17 kph over 25 km in 7 hours 53 minutes
14. Sylvain Estadieu in 2010 Baltic Sea in 3.13 kph over 6 km in 1 hour 55 minutes
15. Sylvain Estadieu in 2012 Lake Delsjön in 3.12 kph over 5 km in 1 hour 36 minutes
16. Gianni Golini in 1976 Strait of Messina (sea) in 3.11 kph in 6.5 km in 2 hours 23 minutes
17. Dan Projansky in 2012 END-WET (river) in 3.00 kph over 43 km in 14 hours 30 minutes
18. Sylvain Estadieu in 2013 Sandycove Island (sea) in 2.99 kph over 22.4 km in 7 hours 30 minutes
19. Julie Bradshaw in 2006 Lough Erne in 2.97 kph over 16.89 km in 5 hours 41 minutes
20. Héctor Ramírez Ballesteros in 2012 Ruidera in 2.94 kph over 9.3 km in 3 hours 1 minute
21. Graham Barratt in 1992 Lake Bala in 2.93 kph over 5.23 km in 1 hours 47 minutes
22. Brenton Williams in 2012 Nelson Bay Bell Buoy Challenge in 2.89 kph over 8 km in 2 hours 46 minutes
23. Charles Tupitza 2013 Jim Mcdonnell Lake Swim in 2.84 kph over 1.6 km in 34:03 minutes
24. Francesca Mazari in 1992 Strait of Messina (sea) in 2.79 kph over 6.5 km in 2 hours 36 minutes
25. Héctor Ramírez Ballesteros in 2012 Iruelas Valley in 2.77 kph over 9.0 km in 3 hours 15 minutes
26. Kathryn Mason in 2009 Lough Erne Irish Championships in 2.76 kph over 17 km in 6 hours 9 minutes
27. Julie Bradshaw in 1991 Lake Windermere in 2.76 kph over 16.9 km in 6 hours 7 minutes
28. Larry Paulson in 2013 Jim Mcdonnell Lake Swim in 2.74 kph over 1.6 km in 35:12 minutes
29. Julie Bradshaw in 1995 Coniston in 2.71 kph over 8.44 km in 3 hours 7 minutes
30. Sylvain Estadieu in 2013 Lake Delsjön in 2.69 kph over 21.5 km in 8 hours 0 minutes
31. Brenton Williams in 2012 Marina Martinique in Jeffreys Bay in 2.69 kph over 17 km in 6 hours 20 minutes
32. Vicki Keith in Sydney Harbour in 2.68 kph over 36.21 km in 13 hours 30 minutes
33. Brenton Williams in 2012 Jeffreys Bay Swim Challenge in 2.61 kph over 4 km in 1 hours 32 minutes
34. Julie Bradshaw in 1996 Ullswater in 2.60 kph over 11.66 km in 4 hours 29 minutes
35. Héctor Ramírez Ballesteros in Cullera (sea) in 2.59 kph over 10 km in 3 hours 52 minutes
36. Kathryn Mason in 2012 Lough Erne in 2.56 kph over 25 km in 9 hours 45 minutes
37. Robin Lajoie in 2014 Welland, Ontario in 2.49 kph over 10 km in 4 hours 0 minutes
38. Eli Ball 2015 Sri Chinmoy National Capital Swim in 2.45 kph over 9 km in 3 hours 39 minutes
39. Brenton Williams in 2012 Shell Festival Sea Swim in 2.43 kph over 2.5 km in 1 hour 1 minute
40. Julie Bradshaw in 2002 English Channel in 2.37 kph in 34 km in 14 hours 18 minutes
41. Ross Bogue in 2014 Big Shoulders (lake) in 2.37 kph over 5 km in 2 hours 6 minutes
42. Robin Lajoie in 2012 Welland, Ontario (canal) in 2.32 kph over 10 km in 4 hours 18 minutes
43. Vicki Keith in Lake Winnipeg in 2.30 kph over 28.9 km in 13 hours 0 minutes
44. Kathryn Mason in 2014 S.C.A.R. (lake) in 2.29 kph over 15.2 km in 6 hours 3 minutes
45. Vicki Keith in Strait of Juan de Fuca in 2.29 kph over 32 km in 14 hours 0 minutes
46. Brian Suddeth in 2011 Great Chesapeake Bay Swim in 2.26 kph over 1.6 km in 42:46 minutes
47. Brian Suddeth in 2011 Great Chesapeake Bay Swim in 2.25 kph over 1.6 km in 43:00 minutes
48. Vicki Keith in 1989 Catalina Channel in 2.21 kph over 32.5 km in 14 hours 43 minutes
49. Brenton Williams in 2012 Deep Blue Invitational Swim in 2.17 kph over 8 km in 3 hours 41 minutes
50. Brian Suddeth in 2015 Oxford-Bellevue Sharkfest in 2.13 kph over 1.5 km in 42:33 minutes
51. Sylvain Estadieu in 2012 Lake Vidöstern attempt in 2.08 kph over 13.5 km in 6 hours 30 minutes
52. Julie Bradshaw in 2000 Coniston 2-Way in 2.03 kph over 17.7 km in 8 hours 42 minutes
53. Sylvain Estadieu in 2013 English Channel in 2.03 kph over 34 km in 16 hours 41 minutes
54. Philip Martin in 2001 Rottnest Channel in 2.02 kph over 19.7 km in 9 hours 45 minutes
55. Kathryn Mason in 2014 S.C.A.R. Swim Challenge (lake) in 1.99 kph over 10 km in 4 hours 51 minutes
56. Julie Bradshaw in 2006 Lake Bala in 1.96 kph over 10.46 km in 5 hours 2 minutes
57. Dan Projansky in 2014 S.C.A.R. Swim Challenge (lake) 1.86 kph over 15.2 km in 8 hours 8 minutes
58. James di Donato and Jonathon di Donato in 1982 Fort Lauderdale to Florida (ocean) in 1.79 kph over 26.55 km in 14 hours 50 minutes
59. Héctor Ramírez Ballesteros in Strait of Gibraltar in 1.79 kph over 14 km in 7 hours 5 minutes
60. Vicki Keith in Lake Ontario in 1.66 kph over 51.5 km over 31 hours 0 minutes
61. Vicki Keith in English Channel in 1.54 kph over 36.21 km over 23 hours 33 minutes
62. Vicki Keith in Lake Ontario in 1.26 kph over 80.2 km in 63 hours 40 minutes

Butterfly data is courtesy of Brian Suddeth, an open water butterflyer himself.

Copyright © 2016 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Healthy And Safe Swimming Week In America

Courtesy of President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition.

In honor of Healthy and Safe Swimming Week (May 23rd-29th), the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition announced swimming to be its featured activity of the month of May.

"Swimming is a great activity to work into your exercise routine as a way to cross-train, or as your main discipline. Swimming, like other aerobic activities, works to reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes.

As a non-weight bearing activity, swimming can help people with chronic diseases. For those suffering from arthritis, swimming is a great way to improve joint mobility without worsening symptoms. Anyone suffering from overuse injuries can also benefit from swimming for this very reason. For instance, if you’ve decided to start training for a half-marathon and are having issues with shin splints (a common overuse injury many runners experience), swimming is a great exercise to keep working on your cardiovascular fitness while giving your legs a chance to heal.

Swimming can work to positively improve your mental health, in addition to your physical health. For many people, swimming can decrease anxiety, decrease depression and improve your mood. Plus, swimming can help boost your mood

To learn more about the health benefits of swimming and Healthy and Safe Swimming Week, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website here.

Photo shows Oceans Seven swimmer Anna-Carin Nordin of Sweden.

Copyright © 2016 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Prabhat Raju Koli Tours South Africa

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Prabhat Raju Koli, a student of Atomic Energy Junior College in Mumbai, India, has already achieved at 16 years old, what could take a lifetime for others.

Not only has he completed the 81 km India National Open Water Swimming Competition in Bhagirathi River in west Bengal and won four of five Indian competitions in the Arabian Sea, but he has also completed a circumnavigation around Jersey Island (66 km Round Jersey Solo in 10 hours 11 minutes) and a crossing of the English Channel in 13 hours 14 minutes.

But these marathon swims were a build-up to 6 challenging swims that he did in South Africa from the end of March through April.

On March 28th, he completed the 8 km Langebaan Swim in 1 hour 55 minutes from Preekstoel to Parlies in Cape Town. "The temperature of water was between 16°C and 17°C," reported his father Rrkoli Koli. "His second swim on April 2nd was the 7.4 km swim Robben Island to Blouberg. Around 200 swimmers participated from 20 countries that took Prabhat 2 hours 2 minutes to complete. He finished in 8th place in the water between 13°C and 14°C."

His third swim was on April 8th around the Cape of Good Hope at the Cape Point Swim. Koli recalled, "This is one of the toughest swims in South Africa. Throughout the entire year, only one or two swims can take place in this patch due to the bad weather and choppy sea. These swims are largely dependent upon the direction of blowing winds. Here swimmers started from Diaz beach in the South Atlantic Ocean and finished at Buffels beach in the Indian Ocean, the breeding place of great white sharks.

During the 8 km swim, the sea was choppy and the water temperature was 13°C to 14°C for the race organized for the benefit of cancer patients under the observation of Cape Long Distance Swimming Association. Prabhat came in second with a time of 1 hour 55 minutes. He was the world’s youngest male swimmer to complete this race and the first Indian

Prabhat's fourth swim of his South African tour was the 8 km Llandudno - Camps Bay Swim on April 13th. "It started in 13°C at Llandudno Beach and ended at 15°C. Most of the course is in the shadow of Twelve Apostles range of Cape Town so the water always is cooler than other beaches in Cape Town.

During the 2 hour 14 minute swim, Prabhat swam across lots of jellyfish, seals, sunfish and other marine life, breaking the previous record held by Andrew Chin of 2 hours 24 minutes. The Cape Long Distance Swimming Club offered a gold medal to Prabhat for breaking the record

Prabhat's fifth swim of his tour was 18 km between Blouberg, Robben Island and Melkbos on April 15th. "He faced the challenge of big waves at the start and choppy seas throughout as Prabhat came across seals, dolphins, jellyfish and other marine life. His biggest challenge, however was the cold restless sea conditions during his 5 hour 30 minute swim that was suggested by Derrick Frazer and Andrew Mitchell who crewed for him.

Prabhat took 2 hours 15 minutes to reach Robben Island, but he fell down as he stood at the bay due to a big wave. This caused an injury to his right foot, but even with the injury, he fought on for the remaining 3 hours 15 minutes to complete this swim with a great time

On April 20th, Prabhat concluded his South African tour with a sixth and final swim around Robben Island. "It was a 10 km cold water swim with the water temperature varying between 15°C to 16°C.

Initially the sea was flat, but then tons of jellyfish make his swim much more difficult. Seals and penguins swam around Prabhat [see video below], but then to make a shorter circumnavigation, he swam through kelp near shore. After that, a thick layer of mist suddenly arose and the sea became choppy, but he still managed to complete the swim in 3 hours 5 minutes, making him the second fastest swimmer of this route

Copyright © 2016 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Olympians Headline USA Swimming Open Water Team

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

USA Swimming has a large and growing number of world-class competitive open water swimmers as it puts more resources into the sport.

The American team scored the most points at the 2015 FINA World Swimming Championships.

The 12 members of the USA Swimming 2016-2017 Open Water National Team is headlined by two pre-race Olympic medal favorites.

In addition to 2016 Olympic 10K Marathon Swim finalists Haley Anderson, Sean Ryan and Jordan Wilimovsky, the team includes 2009 FINA World Championship medalists Andrew Gemmell and Ashley Twichell as well as former FINA 25 km world champion Alex Meyer, and two young men Brendan Casey and David Heron.

FINA World Cup veterans Emily Brunemann and Eva Fabian also join the team as they have long done so in the past, together with up-and-coming newcomers Stephanie Peacock and Taylor Pike.

Copyright © 2016 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Iron Swimmer By Nejib Belhedi

Courtesy of Nejib Belhedi, World Iron Swim Series, Tunisia.

I drew in history my blue destiny in seas
My name still forever unforgettable
All the seagulls of ports remembers me
My rope of Iron Swimmer will not be thrown

My rope will still forever an oath of generations
Era of reverse roles ! And what drole Era
The tug became towed
Kids, women, men, Camels, Olives are witnesses

On boats and ships they are rewarded
As symbols of Earth of Peace they are invited
By a swimmer of peace they are towed
Era of reverse roles ! And what drole era

The tug became towed
An awareness to extinguish wars
A call to set together all our pinions
In the right direction it should be rotated

Think life and avenir of our children
Era of reverse roles ! And what drole era
The tug became towed
I feels souffrance wave by wave

Inertia of ship
Inertia to advance humanity
I resist and I continue my water route
My rope around my waist

My umbilical cordon of hope
This is why I win
Era of reverse roles. And what drole era
The tug became towed

Copyright © 2016 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Enjoying S.C.A.R. More From A Kayak

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Brad Lundblad knows a good thing when he sees it.

So when the 48-year-old lifelong swimmer learned about the S.C.A.R. Challenge in his adopted home state of Arizona, he started training. Despite being afflicted by Lyme disease, he completed all 4 legs of the 2014 and 2015 S.C.A.R. Challenges.

In 2014, he completed the following legs:

*Saguaro Lake – completed 9 miles (14.4 km) in 4 hours 12 minutes
*Canyon Lake – completed 9.5 miles (15.2 km) in 4 hours 19 minutes
*Apache Lake – completed 17 miles (27.3 km) in 8 hours 25 minutes
*Roosevelt Lake – completed 6.2 miles (10 km) in 3 hours 50 minutes

In 2015, he repeated his achievement:

*Saguaro Lake – completed 9 miles (14.4 km) in 3 hours 53 minutes
*Canyon Lake – completed 9.5 miles (15.2 km) in 3 hours 53 minutes
*Apache Lake – completed 17 miles (27.3 km) in 9 hours 8 minutes
*Roosevelt Lake – completed 6.2 miles (10 km) in 4 hours 0 minutes

In 2016, he completed the first two legs and offer to serve as an escort kayaker for the last two legs:

*Saguaro Lake – completed 9 miles (14.4 km) in 3 hours 57 minutes
*Canyon Lake – completed 9.5 miles (15.2 km) in 4 hours 28 minutes
*Apache Lake – escort kayaker
*Roosevelt Lake – escort kayaker

"I chose to crew more of the event this year," he explains. "This allowed me to enjoy S.C.A.R. more and gain a deeper appreciation for how challenging it really is. I love being a part is S.C.A.R. whether through swimming or crewing. It's a fun time for me and I always make new friends who share the same love for open water swimming that I have. Kent [Nicholas] has created a unique event that will grow with popularity as the years go by.."

Copyright © 2016 by World Open Water Swimming Association

If Not Copacabana Beach, Then Where?

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Since Lynne Cox in her bell-ringing article recently posted in the New York Times [see here] has called for the IOC and FINA to change the venue of the Olympic 10K Marathon Swim at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, the following questions immediately come to mind:

Q1. Since the local organizations do not currently have a Plan B to Copacabana Beach (either the location or the timing of the races), where possibly can the Olympic 10K Marathon Swim be held as an alternative?

Q2. What level of water quality is required and considered safe for the athletes, especially given the fact that the 2012 London Olympic Games were held in the man-made Serpentine and the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games will be held in Tokyo Bay?

Q3. What myriad logistical issues will be encountered?

We can imagine the following answers:

A1. Phil Whitten has suggested moving the Olympic 10K Marathon Swim to the Galápagos Islands while other swimming community luminaries have even suggested moving the marathon swim to other countries. But something more local and practical is a more feasible and acceptable idea.

Ipanema Beach is not only another iconic Brazilian beach, but it is also adjacent to Copacabana Beach so logical issues are minimized. Yet Ipanema faces away from the infamous Guanabara Bay so its water quality may be acceptable to those who are calling for a change.

A2. Cox noted data from scientists who identified the virus levels in Copacabana Beach to be 1.7 million times higher than what is considered to be hazardous at a California beach. So is California the acceptable standard? Or more practically, especially considering future Olympic Games, perhaps a uniform global standard of water quality should be determined by the IOC and FINA? If this Olympic standard is not met, then alternative venues must be planned.

A3. Logistical issues in the actual open water source are minimal. The location and setting of the feeding station, start pontoon, finish platform, and turn buoys is easily changed from one location to another. The local organizers can easily handle these changes, especially if the change is made from Copacabana Beach to Ipanema Beach. The movement of official boats and media/camera boat on race day is also not a major issue.

However, the change for the NBC camera crews and scaffolding on dryland and the movement of the VIP tents and athletes' pre-race areas is a bit more problematic and will cost money. It is not a big problem, but these issues must be addressed for the event to come off flawlessly like the Chinese did in Beijing and the British did in London.

But the security of handling hundreds of thousands of spectators who will undoubtedly watch the Olympic 10K Marathon Swim, whether it is in Copacabana Beach or Ipanema Beach or elsewhere is much more of an issue. And it is an issue that will be costly and time-consuming given the requested changes.

It will be interesting to see the response by the IOC and FINA - or if the IOC and FINA even acknowledges the problems as defined by Cox and the New York Times.

Copyright © 2016 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Taking Another Leap Across The Catalina Channel

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Why swimmers begin their solo journeys across vast open bodies of water is always interesting to learn.

How swimmers find their way from the comfort of their homes to crawling up the shore after an exhausting channel crossing is never a linear experience.

Natalie Radtke is a pool swimmer and triathlete who had not thought about swimming more than 2.4 miles. But in raising money with the IronTeam for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, her colleagues in the Team In Training program suggested an attempt across the Catalina Channel.

"After two seasons on IronTeam, one season on the Marathon Team, I learned more about myself than I could have imagined.

I decided it was time to take another leap
," the Southern Californian explains.

Since Radtke had swum since childhood, she was made familiar with the English Channel, but she had frankly never heard of people swimming across the Catalina Channel. Talk among her Team In Training endurance friends led to talk about a channel relay.

A friend offered a simple, but profound, suggestion about even larger possibilities. "After pondering maybe getting a relay together, Travis asked, 'Why do a relay? You’re a good enough swimmer, you could it yourself.' While I appreciate his [inflated] sense of my swimming ability, I had only swum 2.4 miles as my furthest continuous swim to date. The Catalina Channel is 20 miles of cold water. And I would do it without a wetsuit. I thought he might be onto something."

So she decided, "It’s time to push myself to a whole new level of mental, physical, and psychological endurance."

Her 20.2-mile solo charity attempt across the Catalina Channel is scheduled for August 10th.

For more information, visit here.

Copyright © 2016 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Friday, May 6, 2016

Open Water Swimming In No Man's Land

Image courtesy of Chris Lundie of Take It Live Productions.

Photo courtesy of Mike Pickles of Pickles Power Sports Images in The Five, Hong Kong.

In competitive open water swims, there is usually a good amount of physicality. Bumping, impeding and elbowing are commonplace, especially at the starts and around the turn buoys.

But sometimes, swimmers for either intentional or unintentional reasons, swim away from the different packs in a race and find themselves alone.

Swimming in no man's land is both risky and difficult, especially when the rest of the field is swimming in packs. A term adapted from the military and legal realms, no man's land is that spacing - that sometimes comes and goes - between packs of swimmers in an open water swimming event.

"Unless you really know your course is the best due to currents, swells or winds, it is usually not a wise competitively strategic decision to swim in no man's land," describes Steven Munatones. "For a competitive swimmer to be in a position between packs, swimming solo is difficult because the swimmer cannot draft off of the faster pack and is at a disadvantage vis-a-vis the slower packs. In many cases, the swimmer is faced with a tough decision: speed up and try to hang with the faster packs or slow down and meld together with a trailing pack.

However, if the swimmer is positioned in a no man's land in the lateral direction where the packs are either to his left or right, then moving over in one direction or the other is a much easier decision."

Copyright © 2016 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Open Water Swimmers Have Grit

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

When we observe open water swimmers in the ocean or on lake, struggling against Mother Nature as they strive to reach their potential, one word comes immediately to mind: grit.

Tough and tenacious. Committed and courageous. Open water swimmers are the epitome of grit.

Professor Angela Duckworth is a Professor of Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania and the Founder and Scientific Director of the Character Lab. The Lab advances the science and practice of character development including research on grit, self-control, and other non-IQ competencies that predict success in life.

"I define grit as passion and perseverance for long-term goals," describes the MacArthur Fellow. "It's what keeps us going when everything else makes it seem easier to give up. In my research, I find that how you score on my Grit Scale — a short survey of your current level of passion and perseverance — predicts achievement."

In the open water, the more challenging the venue, competition or conditions, the more grit clearly matters.

"I now have Grit Scale scores from thousands of American adults. My data provide a snapshot of grit across adulthood. And I've discovered a strikingly consistent pattern: grit and age go hand in hand. 60-somethings tend to be grittier, on average, than 50-somethings, who are in turn grittier than 40-somethings, and so on."

Which is embodied in the members of the Half Century Club.

Her book, Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverence, talks about her Grit Scale. "[Below] are a number of statements that may or may not apply to you. There are no right or wrong answers, so just answer honestly, considering how you compare to most people. At the end, you’ll get a score that reflects how passionate and persevering you see yourself to be."

Take the test here. Professor Duckworth's questions are below.

1. New ideas and projects sometimes distract me from previous ones.
2. Setbacks don’t discourage me. I don’t give up easily.
3. I often set a goal but later choose to pursue a different one.
4. I am a hard worker.
5. I have difficulty maintaining my focus on projects that take more than a few months to complete.
6. I finish whatever I begin.
7. My interests change from year to year.
8. I am diligent. I never give up.
9. I have been obsessed with a certain idea or project for a short time but later lost interest.
10. I have overcome setbacks to conquer an important challenge.

Copyright © 2016 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Swimming From Tokyo To San Francisco Makes Sense

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

No wonder Benoît Lecomte is swimming from Tokyo to San Francisco.

He is swimming straight in a transoceanic stage swim.

Or as straight as someone can swim in the Pacific Ocean according to cartographer Andy Woodruff who created maps that highlight beaches around the world that face a specific continent [see here].

For more information on Woodruff's view of the world's oceans and swimming perpendicular from shore, visit here.

Copyright © 2016 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