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Monday, December 22, 2014

Irene Van Der Laan Voted Into ISHOF

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

52-year-old Irene van der Laan, inducted as an Honour Swimmer in the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame in 1985, will also be inducted in the International Swimming Hall of Fame as an Honor Open Water Swimmer in 2015.

It is a well-deserved recognition for an athlete with one of the most comprehensive marathon swimming resumes in the world.

Not only was van der Laan one of the fastest and most durable marathon swimmers in her heyday during the 1980s, but the prolific Dutch swimmers has been competing on the professional marathon swimming circuit for 3 decades, quite possibly participating in more marathon swims and competing for longer overall distance than anyone in history.

For example, completed her 21st Faros Maratón in addition to dozens of other marathon swims completed over 15 times.

Her career has also included over 200 professional marathon swimming competitions where she has transitioned from being coached by her father early in her career to having her daughter Jolina Stap take over the reins in the later part of her career.

She first swam the English Channel in 1979 and completed a double-crossing in 1983, establishing a new record and fastest swim of the year on her first leg. Van der Laan was the first person to win the Rolex watch two times for the fastest crossings in the English Channel of the year in 1982 and 1983.

Van der Laan was also the first women in several events on the World Professional Marathon Swimming Federation circuit during the 1980s. She competed in the 64 km (40-mile) Traversée internationale du lac St-Jean in 19 hours 5 minutes in 1986, the 64 km (40-mile) Traversée internationale du lac St-Jean in 18 hours 15 minutes in 1987, the 64 km (40-mile) Traversée internationale du lac St-Jean in 19 hours 47 minutes in 1988, the 40 km (25-mile) Traversée internationale du lac St-Jean in 10 hours 54 minutes in 1990, the 40 km (25-mile) Traversée internationale du lac St-Jean in 11 hours 50 minutes in 1991, the 40 km (25-mile) Traversée internationale du lac St-Jean in 11 hours 20 minutes in 1997.

Olivier Ervyn, a Belgian who creates spectacular documentary photography, captured van der Laan getting out of her 20th successful completion of the Faros Maratón in 2013.

Copyright © 2014 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Bruce Macarthur, Game To Have A Go

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Like clockwork, year by year, Bruce Macarthur is slowly working his way towards the long-held world record of Malcolm Richards. Richards, a South African swimmer from Jeffreys Bay, established the longevity record for participation in a single open water swimming event, the SPAR River Mile, at 60.

Macarthur has participated in every Cole Classic since it began in Manly, Australia. There is a sense of obligation in his 33 consecutive Cole Classic finishes. He helped start the event in 1983 together with his friend and Cole Classic founder Graham Cole.

The 76-year-old from Centennial Park looks forward to keeping the streak alive that started when the Cole Classic drew only 101 people in 1983. "When you get over a certain age to be able to line up the next year and do it and even finish provides a sense of achievement."

But he trains diligently and is as fit as men less than half his age. He continues to swim 2 km a day at Bondi Beach and is inspired by the original Cole Classic slogan: game to have a go. “I just thought that was so Australian. I love that saying - it was just a nice catchy Australian thing.”

The Cole Classic offers 1, 2 and 9 km courses on February 1st 2015. For more information, visit www.coleclassic.com.au.

Photo by Dallas Kilponen.

Copyright © 2014 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Dave Merpaw Swimming Rapidly

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Dave Merpaw will swim the length of the St. Lawrence River from Kingston to Quebec City in Quebec as a 12-day charity stage swim.

The nearly 50-year-old acknowledges – and welcomes – the inherent risk of a river swim. "Actually, it's a bit dangerous – but that's what makes it exciting. I'm hoping to do about 80 km a day, going with the current which is very fast in places. It will be adventure."

He is doing the charity swim for the St. Lawrence River Institute of Environmental Science in order to support the institute's research into repercussions of human activity on the river. All his stages will be shown on his website via his escort boat with a GPS and mounted video camera which might pick up quite a bit of online buzz as she swims around the Thousand Islands and through the Lachine Rapids.

Copyright © 2014 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Ben Carlson Memorial Going Up

Photo courtesy of Newport Beach Lifeguard Department, Newport Beach, California.

Ben Carlson, the 32-year-old Newport Beach [California] lifeguard, surfer and swimmer who gave his life in trying to rescue others, passed away in July 2014 when a huge set closed out on him.

Carlson’s life and legacy were remembered in a paddle out in Newport Beach that attracted more than 2,500 people in the water and another estimated 5,000 people on land. “He would be the one in the water after someone in trouble,” recalls Newport Beach Fire Chief Scott Poster. “He saw that swimmer in trouble. [He had] no reservations, fins on, and [safety] buoy over his shoulder.”

In addition to the paddle-out, Carlson will be remembered in a number of ways.

In March 2015, the lifeguard headquarters will be re-dedicated in Carlson’s name. Additionally, a scholarship has been created to raise funds for student lifeguards and to support organizations that aid underprivileged children. And a nearly 3-meter bronze statue of Carlson will be erected in July 2015 at the Balboa Pier about a mile where he drowned.

Source: Orange County Register.

Copyright © 2014 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Sunday, December 21, 2014

O! My O! May

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

There are very few athletes in the world like Bill May who has parlayed his unique aquatic skills to a successful professional career.

May is a highly acclaimed performer and former synchronized swimmer for O, the famed long-running and highly popular Cirque de Soleil aquatic spectacular at the Bellagio Hotel on the Las Vegas Strip.

May started in 2005, working 10 shows weekly from Wednesday through Sunday. The 36-year-old former Santa Clara synchronized-turned-open water swimmer describes his training regimen, “I remember getting up early for morning workout, but now my schedule is all turned around, getting to bed about 4:30 am and waking up like 11 am. But we have a nice workout group, and do a lot of anaerobic sets like no-breather 50s and other hypoxic work.

When marathon swimmers, channel swimmers and tough open water swimmers hear of a synchronized swimmer and performer doing a workout, being impressed is probably not one of their first reactions.

Until they read about May's workouts.

Last week's workout was typical. Typically tough in a 50m long course pool.

6,500 meters at a fast interval, swum at a fast pace where the 36-year-old synchro swimmer held sub-1:10s on all the 100s long course.

300 easy 4:30 + 2x100 1:20 strong + 2x50 :55
2x100 1:20 strong + 2x50 :50
2x100 1:20 strong + 2x50 :45
300 easy 4:30 + 2x100 1:20 strong + 2x50 :50
2x100 1:20 strong + 2x50 :45
2x100 1:20 strong + 2x50 :40
300 easy 4:30 + 2x100 1:20 strong + 2x50 :45
2x100 1:20 strong + 2x50 :40
2x100 1:20 strong + 2x50 :35

Cruise at a 1:30 per 100m base:
200 + 4x50 + 150 + 3x50 + 100 + 2x50 + 4x50 (1 on 50, 1 on 40, 1 on 50, 1 on 35)

Pulling set:
2x100 1:30 easy
2x100 breathing every 7 to 9 strokes
2x200 2:40 (descend 1-2) + 2x100 1:30 easy + 2x300 3:45 fast + 2x100 1:30 easy

2x50: 1 easy and 1 underwater

Bill May is shown above with fellow open water swimmer Lexie Kelly after a U.S. Masters Swimming 10 km marathon swim in Lake Mead, Nevada.

Copyright © 2014 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Cherelle Osteringer Wins Hawaiian Looong Distance Swim

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Cherelle Osteringer, a 23-year-old student at the University of Hawaii originally from Switzerland, held off a trio of 50ish veteran men at the 33rd Possibly Annual Hawaiian Christmas Looong Distance Invitational Rough-H2O Swim.

The 7 km out-and-back course along the outside surf in Waikiki Beach on Oahu goes over coral reefs and is notoriously tough for swimmers to be able to hold a straight line along the course without intermediate buoys.

But the young Osteringer [shown above finishing in 1:30:43] was finally able to pull away from 52-year-old John de Mestre from Australia [1:33:01, shown above], 57-year-old multi-time winner Rick Heltzel from Hawaii [1:39:29], and 56-year-old Stefan Reinke from Hawaii [1:42:37].

The invitation-only swim brought out all kinds of ocean swimmers from 18 to 80. Nicholas Pederson (18) finished in 1:48:37 while ocean veteran Vernon Knight (80) finished in 3:03:15.

Race founder and organizer Jim Anderson, who was recently inducted in the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame, explains the course, "While this swim is listed as a 7 km course, that is only for the exceptional swimmer who swims in a straight line. Real world distance can be substantially greater than 7 km depending upon conditions and navigational ability. Navigation is a skill that plays an important role in this race. We stress that when one swims in this event, you are not close to shore and that you are truly communing with Mother Nature who can be very unforgiving."

Overall Male Results:
1. John de Mestre (52) 1:33:01
2. Rick Heltzel (57) 1:39:29
3. Stefan Reinke (56) 1:42:37

24 & Under:
* Nicholas Pederson (18) 1:48:37
* Christopher Ma (21) 2:12:21
* Rafael Hidalgo (29) 1:48:55
* Michael Kosiorek (26) 2:02:53
* Anson Chu (28) 2:10:49
* Kaiana Tirrell (28) 2:58:39
* Austin Lau (30) 1:51:38
* Rhett Soltas (31) 2:04:40
* Wade Garlin (37) 2:22:40
* Philip Mlynarski (39) 2:24:17
* Steven Minaglia (41) 1:48:15
* Joe Marenda (48) 2:07:25
* John de Mestre (52) 1:33:01
* Joe Lileikis (51) 1:51:07
* Charles Kim (54) 2:17:12
* Rick Heltzel (57) 1:39:29
* Stefan Reinke (56) 1:42:37
* Mark Heckman (59) 2:02:30
* Mark Richards (58) 2:23:30
* Greg Gerber (62) 2:04:41
* Steve Halsey (60) 2:12:51
* Gary Gray (62) 2:21:09
* Pat Dixon (65) 2:01:55
* Bruce Sloan (66) 2:02:16
* Uli Klinke (70) 2:03:20
* Vernon Knight (80) 3:03:15

Overall Female Results:
1. Cherelle Osteringer (23) 1:30:43
2. Elizabeth Wood (33) 1:40:45
3. Chelsea Haung (26) 1:43:52

24 & Under:
* Cherelle Osteringer (23) 1:30:43
* Rachael Randall (22) 1:47:07
* Hannah Vernon (24) 2:01:29
* Chelsea Haung (26)1:43:52
* Liz Hunter (28) 1:49:43
* Kimberly Shadwick (25) 1:53:38
* Joanna McFarland (25) 2:41:29
* Elizabeth Wood (33) 1:40:45
* Margaret Campbell (34) 2:40:16
* Jessica Davis (39) 2:18:58
* Marilyn Chychota (37) 2:33:20
* Miki David (44) 1:44:06
* Michelle Simmons (40) 1:57:20
* Debi Merwick (46) 2:11:45
* Denise Webb (53) 2:15:55
* Laurie Foster (58) 2:13:50
* Diane Corn (55) 2:16:21
* Valisa Saunders (60) 2:42:01

Photos of the event are here. For more information on the event, visit here.

Copyright © 2014 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Vernon Gets Knighted In Hawaii

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

He swims, he smiles.

And he has been doing so for a long, long time.

Hawaiian channel swimmer Vernon Knight finished another Hawaiian Christmas Looong Distance Invitational Rough-H2O Swim this past weekend - and was honored for his effort.

The veteran completed the 7 km out-and-back course along the outside surf in Waikiki Beach on Oahu in 3 hours 3 minutes and received the Old Man in the Sea Award - 10 years older than the next oldest finisher, Uli Klinke.

"This is an invitation-only race," explained race founder and organizer Jim Anderson. "And we are still inviting Vernon after all these years. There is no stopping him."

Vernon Knight [left] is shown being presented the Old Man in the Sea Award by Jim Merchant [right], the recipient of the 2013 Connoisseur Award. Photo of Knight and Merchant by Atomman Kimm. Picture of the award by Cindia Lavik.

Photos of the event are here. For more information on the event, visit here. For results of the 2014 event, visit here.

Copyright © 2014 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Open Water Swimmers Have A Long, Long Way To Go

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

This summer, 73-year-old Dr. Otto Thaning of South Africa (12 hours 52 minutes) and 70-year-old Cyril Baldock of Australia (12 hours 45 minutes) completed a crossing of the English Channel.

The dynamic duo join 70-year-olds Dr. Roger Allsopp (17 hours 51 minutes in 2011) and George Brunstad (15 hours 59 minutes in 2004) as the sole quartet to swim the English Channel as septuagenarians (people in their 70s).

But there are hundreds of active marathon swimmers in their 50s and 60s who will continue swimming and will undoubtedly increase the number of channel-swimming septuagenarians over the next few decades.

How long can these quinquagenarians (swimmers in their 50s), sexagenarians (swimmers in their 60s), septuagenarians, octogenarians (swimmers in their 80s) and nonagenarians (swimmers in their 90s) keep it up?

If pearl divers in Japan are any indication, older swimmers will be able to continue swimming for a long, long time due to their health-friendly lifestyles.

Many pearl divers (ama in Japanese) live a rather spartan lifestyle as they repeatedly push their bodies below the surface of cold water. In Kuzaki on Japan's Pacific coastline, the female divers have been doing this livelihood for decades. Starting in their teenage years, the 70 active ama are between 50 and mid-80s. Throughout the famed Toba region of Japan, the average age of the ama is 72 among the estimated 1,300 women.

Open water swimmers, fortunately, have a long way to go.

Dr. Thaning was nominated for the 2014 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year. On a daily basis, heart surgeon Dr. Thaning has insights on the effects of poor cardiovascular health on adults. He also deeply understands the importance of a healthy lifestyle that also maintains a fine balance between family, work and recreation. He is the living epitome of how best to live a marvelously worthwhile life, both on terra firma and in the world’s oceans. After a long career of open water swimming successes and helping others, Dr. Thaning culminated his career in the English Channel by becoming the oldest person to traverse from England to France – a year after canceling an earlier attempt. At the age of 73, he made a trail-blazing 12 hour 52 minute crossing, far faster than the average swimmer several decades his junior.

Cyril Baldock was nominated for the 2014 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year. Not only did Baldock become one of the oldest channel swimmers in the world, but he also completed his swim-for-the-ages extremely quickly. This was Baldock’s second record in the English Channel; the first came in 1993 when he was a member of the four-way Sun Rice Australia relay that took 42 hours 11 minutes to swim between English and France 4 consecutive times.

29 years after his first crossing, Baldock swims like a man one-third his age. Humorous, cheerful and optimistic, the life member of Bondi Surf Bathers' Life Saving Club and 7-time national surf-swim and rescue/resuscitation champion is a man comfortable in the sea.

Copyright © 2014 by World Open Water Swimming Association

What Goes Around, Comes Around: Diving Deep

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Channel swimmers, ice swimmers, marathon swimmers and open water swimmers around the world use relatively little equipment, but what they use comes from a long history.

While some channel swimmers use Channel grease, lanolin and a variety of other combinations including Vaseline, Desitin and axle grease over the years, pearl divers over the millennia have frequently greased their bodies to conserve heat at they dove to the cold depths and worked in cool-water conditions.

While some marathon swimmers use silicon earplugs, pearl divers over the centuries have used greased cotton in their ears to help combat the cold.

While some ocean swimmers bodysurf into shore, pearl divers have long used heavy rocks to descend to the depths and conserve energy.

Copyright © 2014 by World Open Water Swimming Association

What Goes Around, Comes Around: The Waterman's Way

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Open water swimming is often described as a new sport, an emerging endurance or extreme sport, an aquatic discipline that is catching on fire from Cork to California.

But is open water swimming really that new?

From our study of the sport - broadly defined - mankind has long swum in the open water. From Asia to the Americas, humans have not necessarily swum for competition or fitness on a mass scale as it is known in contemporary times, but there have long been people who have swum for mere survival, to earn a living (including fishermen worldwide and pearl divers from the Persian Gulf to the Gulf of Mannar), or as a pursuit of fun or challenge (from the shores of Hawaii to coastal villages of sub-Sahara Africa).

Dial back history before the advent of standard 25m or 50m swimming pools. Go back in history before the creation of FINA (Fédération Internationale de Natation) in 1908 to govern international aquatics competition by the International Olympic Committee. Study the history of competitive swimming in the first few modern Olympic Games: in the Aegean Sea in 1896, the Seine River in 1900, and an artificial lake in 1904.

Men - and occasionally women - were swimming and competing in seas, lakes and rivers for millennia. Granted, the swimming events were low-key, local and limited. But the aquatic traditions existed from Japan to Western Africa, from the South Pacific to the Caribbean.

For example, the Japanese samurai swam and trained, both for sport and battle.

From centuries ago, the samurai - like many other people from Europe to Oceania - encountered numerous situations where they might need to cross a body of water, attack an enemy, fire arrows or defend themselves in an open body of water with armor on. Based on the requirements of warfare, the samurai developed various different styles over the generations (suijutsu). For example, the Iwakura-ryu (style) included various traditional samurai swimming techniques including swimming with armor, eating while swimming, swimming while tied with rope, swimming under water, and swimming in fast-moving rapids.

Ancient Japanese swimming techniques - like island-born populations elsewhere around the world - included shinden ryu (marathon swimming), kankai ryu (ocean swimming), suifu ryu (river swimming or rapids swimming), as well as several other methods that were based on the local topography and waterways (e.g., coastline or mountain areas). For example, if the samurai had to fight while wearing armor, they would study the kobori ryu where the samurai would eggbeater (tread water) while keeping their upper body above water to fight with swords, fire arrows or guns while in or crossing a river.

So while some may think feeding, drafting, positioning or pacing in oceans or seas or in eddies or currents is new, open water swimming in various forms have been performed by mankind for a long, long time.

Bruckner Chase has reminded the local Samoan people of their ancient aquatic traditions with his initiatives in Amerika Samoa and his short documentary film, Blue Journey-Amerika Samoa - Stronger Together: The Waterman's Way. The film was funded by a grant from the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation and nominated for the 2014 WOWSA Awards' World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year.

Chase reminds us that when a community and culture like in Amerika Samoa has entwined itself with the ocean environment for over 3,000 years, there is much for outsiders and the younger generations to learn and appreciate. Chase captures the essence of how the locals in the South Pacific island nation interact with their surrounding ocean and encourages the contemporary younger generations to carry on and honor those who developed the island-to-island swims and other oceanic traditions of the Samoan people.

The new sport of open water swimming is based on the long-held traditions and skill sets of people around the world, from mariners who traveled throughout the South Pacific to Africans who bodysurfed for fun, the sport has long been enjoyed and passed along to future generations.

Photo shows Bruckner Chase sharing the ancient waterman's way of the past to the new generation of ocean swimmers in Pago Pago, Amerika Samoa through his Toa o le Tai initiative.

Copyright © 2014 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Daredevil Duo Are Dreamers And Doers

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

The recipients of the annual World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year are always the result of a wholly unlikely idea.

From a Special Olympics athlete like the Cayman Island's Andrew Smilley for swimming in the cold water RCP Tiburon Mile and the 202-mile Ventura Deep Six that swam 202 miles along the California coast over 4 days to Nejib Belhedi's 1400 km Swim Across Tunisia and the 86 km ice swimming Bering Strait Swim, the Performance of the Year are memorable, high-risk events.

It is as if the high-risk swims were specifically made for the Performance of the Year award.

The nominees in 2014 also included a number of unprecedented swims that tested the athletes from all perspectives: physiologically, psychologically, logistically, and financially.

The Madagascar Swim by Thane Guy Williams and Jonno Proudfoot was an idea that eventually morphed to reality based on a whole lot of planning and hard work.

A pair of South Africans Williams and Proudfoot completed a 24-day 458 km stage swim* between Mozambique and Madagascar in the Indian Ocean.

The Madagascar Swim is one of those concepts - swimming between countries - that is the athletic goal sought of only a select few. The English Channel and Strait of Gibraltar are the known international crossings, but very few humans in history ever imagined swimming between Mozambique and Madagascar.

Williams and Proudfoot made it a reality.

Crossing 458 km of untested waters on the rugged east coast of Africa was an outlandish goal of the dynamic duo who were supported by Captain Norman Horner, first mate Vernon ‘Cubby’ Deas, crew member David Karpul, deckhand Bodean Bosogne, and Dr. Daphne Lyell.

But the daredevil duo and team are as much doers as they are dreamers. They researched an audacious course and worked out a 24-day unassisted stage swim where they swam for 155 hours in the turbulent Mozambique Channel through abundant marine life, dealt with innumerable equipment breakdowns, and two scary cyclones. During their unprecedented country-to-country traverse, they swam nearly an average of 7 hours per day and raised funds for Cipla Miles For Smiles.

Stage Swim Results:
Day 1 - February 28th: 9.67 km @ 3.22 kph
Day 2 - March 1st: 39.12 km @ 6.52 kph
Day 3 - March 2nd: 22.16 km @ 3.69 kph
Day 4 - March 3rd: 18.18 km @ 3.03 kph
Day 5 - March 4th: 14.43 km @ 2.31 kph
Day 6 - March 5th: 10.14 km @ 1.69 kph
Day 7 - March 6th: 11.26 km @ 1.88 kph
Day 8 - March 7th: 18.48 km @ 2.77 kph
Day 9 - March 8th: 20.17 km @ 2.77 kph
Day 10 - March 9th: 17.33 km @ 2.34 kph
Day 11 - March 10th: 13.78 km @ 2.12 kph
Day 12 - March 11th: 10.88 km @ 2.21 kph
Day 13 - March 12th: 24.89 km @ 3.32 kph
Day 14 - March 13th: 29.26 km @ 4.18 kph
Day 15 - March 14th: 11.80 km @ 2.62 kph
Day 16 - March 15th: 24.00 km @ 3.16 kph
Day 17 - March 16th: 26.82 km @ 3.58 kph
Day 18 - March 17th: 24.05 km @ 3.24 kph
Day 19 - March 18th: 23.47 km @ 3.09 kph
Day 20 - March 19th: 20.81 km @ 2.97 kph
Day 21 - March 20th: 24.53 km @ 3.42 kph
Day 22 - March 21st: 10.69 km @ 1.73 kph
Day 23 - March 22nd: 17.44 km @ 2.75 kph
Day 24 - March 23rd: 15.40 km @ 2.17 kph

Copyright © 2014 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Get It Out Of Your Head With Underwater Audio

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Swimming is a cerebral sport, especially in the open water.

Whether they are swimming over a black line on the bottom of a pool or faced with limited vision while in the middle of a lack, swimmers usually have a lot going through their heads.

Swimming along the inky blackness of a night swim, navigating in the stark brightness towards a rising sun, or cruising amid the tropical clarity along a coral reef, the limitations of swimmers’ senses lead them to turn inwards.

Swimmers cannot talk, can hear little, and are faced with limited olfactory awareness and tactile sensations. With so few visual cues while swimming in lakes and seas, swimmers are left to ponder whatever is flowing through their brains. Thoughts become intensified. Some thoughts fleetingly come and go; other thoughts linger. Many swimmers become increasingly meditative as they swim on cruise control.

The cerebral aspect of swimming becomes particularly evident when swimmers simply cannot get an irritating song out of their heads.

As some thoughts come and go, as other thoughts linger, so does music occasionally get stuck in the minds of swimmers.

Like an needle stuck on an old vinyl record or a demo tape repeating one song, sometimes music repeats itself maddeningly over and over again within the consciousness of swimmers.

If the song is good, the repetitive nature of the melody and lyrics is appreciated by swimmers.

But if the song is undesirable, it can be a mental torture for swimmers. “I can’t get it out of my head,” is a complaint easily understood by swimmers.

It might be a commercial jingle that they heard on a radio while driving to the beach. It might be an irritating song that a younger sibling continues to play in his room. It might be a hit that may have been previously popular, but now is simply overplayed.

Swimmers can be distracted by songs they wish they could immediately erase from their heads, but the tunes play automatically over and over in their heads. It can be a maddeningly annoying mental torture. However involuntarily the song embedded itself within the thoughts of the swimmers, it often takes focused effort to erase the undesirable music selection.

But with modern-day waterproof equipment, those problems are largely something of the past.

There are different kinds of waterproof MP3 players and devices on the market including the new highest quality Swimbuds Sport Headphones by Underwater Audio.

Swimming, surfing, surf skiing, the Swimbuds Sport waterproof headphones are a great way to eliminate the irritating tunes of the past and enhance the ambience of the marine world.

For more information on Underwater Audio, visit here.

Copyright © 2014 by World Open Water Swimming Association

2015 FINA Approved Swimwear List

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

FINA has begun updating its list of approved swimwear (see here). The new swimwear list goes into effect beginning January 1st 2015 and includes swimsuits, swim caps and goggles.

The list of manufacturers includes 361°, A3 Performance, Adidas, Adolph Kiefer, Agon, Akron, Aqua Lung, Aqua Sphere, Aquadeus, Aquarapid, Aquarius, Aquaside, Aquatak, Aquazone, Arena, Argotess, Asics, Autric Sport, Baysics, Blueseventy, Crazy Swim Sarl, Decathlon SA Nabaiji SA, Delfina OOD, Descente, Diana, Dolfin, Draph, Engine, Essenuoto, Euras, Fashy, Few, FINIS, First Ranked, Footmark, Gimer, Hammerhead, Head, Hosa Industry, HUUB, Iga Company, Inus, Jade Swimwear, Jaked, Joluvi, Keo, Kiefer, Kobayashi Gomu, Lane 4, Leonian, Mad Wave, Malmsten, Mares S.P.A. - Head Swimming, Maru Swimwear, Miyata, Mizuno, Modeta Style, Mosconi, Multisport, NIKE, Orca, Rallysport, Rocket Science Sports, Sanwa, Sassis-Schwimmshop, Sazan, Second Skins, Shibro, Speedo, Sports Hig, Swans, Tabata, Technisub, The Opro Group, The Finals, Tulip Korea, Turbo, TYR Sports, Tyron, VA Project, View, Vorgee, Way Funky, Yamamoto Hokosho, Yamanami, Yingfa, Zaosu Germany, Zoggs, and Zwei Manufacturing.

While Speedo, Arena, Adidas, TYR, Jaked and FINIS are well-known in the swimming world, we enjoyed reading about swimsuit manufacturers that we did not know about.

For example, Draph is an especially appropriate name for swimsuits worn by open water swimmers who sometimes wear Way Funky swimwear as they navigate among an occasional Dolfin, Hammerhead, Orca, and Mad Wave.

Copyright © 2014 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Friday, December 19, 2014

Zoggs Adds Ambassador Adam

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

If Adam Walker was busy before, his life is just about to get busier.

The British coach and spokesman is not only currently coaching athletes and serving as a Counsellor for One Young World and as an Ambassador of the Royal Life Saving Society, but he was also recently appointed as Zoggs' Open Water / Triathlon Swimming Ambassador.

Walker used the Zoggs Predator Flex goggles, swim cap and Zoggs Hip Racer swimwear on his final Oceans Seven swim across the North Channel in 2014.

David Annand, Zoggs UK Marketing and PR Manager said, “When selecting an ambassador for Open Water and Triathlon swimming, Adam was an obvious candidate. We have known Adam since the beginning of his swims and have happily provided him with the necessary kit to complete the Oceans Seven. He has an inspiring story to tell and will be a tremendous role model to all of those taking part in open water swimming.”

Walker will continue to promote Zoggs athe the 220 Triathlon Show in February and the Swim Expo in March 2015. He explains, “It’s great to be working with Zoggs in an official capacity having been a big fan of their kit, especially the Zoggs Predator Flex range of swimming goggles which I’ve used for all Oceans Seven swims. Working with Zoggs can only help raise the profile of open water swimming and I look forward to collaborating with them at forthcoming events and product launches.”

An Australian brand, Zoggs offers a full range of swim gear from goggles to training aids. See here.

Copyright © 2014 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Khalid Bin Hamad Swim Challenge Across Gulf Of Bahrain

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

The Khalid Bin Hamad Swim Challenge is a 31.5 km swim between Saudi Arabia and . The charity swim for cancer is a follow-on challenge first accomplished by His Highness Shaikh Khalid bin Hamad Al Khalifa who swam 42 km in 20+ hours between Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.

The President of Bahrain Athletics Association and namesake for the Khalid bin Hamad Foundation took over 20 hours to complete the international crossing between the Sun Set Resort in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Sofitel Resort & Spa in the Kingdom of Bahrain.

During the rough water crossing, he was accompanied by swimmers from 8 countries including Australia, Bahrain, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, Slovenia, Spain, United Arab Emirates and the U.S.A.

Now in 2015, the journey, called the Swim for Cancer, will be replicated as an open water swimming competition across the Gulf of Bahrain to aid cancer patients. "If you love swimming and are looking for a fantastic challenge that will put your fitness and stamina to the test, then the Khalid Bin Hamad Swim Challenge is for you," he writes. "This time the Swim Challenge is an individual race where all participants will race against time, weather and themselves."

The Swim for Cancer race across the Gulf of Bahrain is 31.5 km from the Sunset Beach Resort Al Khobar in Saudi Arabia to the the Sofitel Resort & Spa in Bahrain. Scheduled for April 2015, the final dates will be formally announced two weeks prior to the event. Proceeds from the event will be donated to the Bahrain Cancer Society in order to provide care to their patients and family support.

For more information on the event and His Highness Shaikh Khalid bin Hamad Al Khalifa, visit here. Individual swimmer registration is here.

The inaugural 31.5 km Khalid Bin Hamad Swim Challenge is shown below:

Copyright © 2014 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Capri Djatiasmoro Warms The Ice In Russia

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

"I tell people to follow your heart, follow your passion - and you will find that life’s journey will show you amazing people, places, and adventures," so advises winter swimmer Capri Djatiasmoro.

The 60-something New Yorker says of her own journey that began with the Coney Island Polar Bears on New Year's Day 2000, "I never stop swimming. I swim year round. I train through the winter months - Saturdays at Brighton Beach in Brooklyn, New York with Cristian Vergara and several other cold water swimmers, and members of CIBBOWS. On Sundays, I swim with the Coney Island Polar Bears. Although the majority of Bears only dip, there are a few Bears who swim back and forth between the jetties."

Her passion continues and is acknowledged by the ice swimming community.

She was invited to the Tyumen Open Cup 2014 by Dmitriy Dragozhilov, Director of the Tyumen Winter Swimming Association after a year of accomplishments.

But her journey was sandwiched between her high-pressure job in the New York advertising world. "I arrived in Tyumen [Russia] the night before [from New York] due to work constraints. We are very busy; they did not want to let me go."

Djatiasmoro was more than determined. "I asked, 'Let me go for the weekend.' They said, 'No one goes to Russia for the weekend.'"

But she did. Not only did she travel halfway across the globe, but she was also concerned that she had never done competitive ice swimming before. It turned out to be an unnecessary concern as she was prepared.

"I train with Cristian Vergara all winter at Brighton Beach. The coldest water I had been in was 29ºF (-1.6ºC) at Orchard Beach in the Bronx with the Coney Island Polar Bears. There were little icebergs floating by us in the water."

After her year-round training, she participated in the International Winter Swimming Festival in Argentina by Matías Ola. She did three ice swims in Puerto Madero in Buenos Aires, Lago Potrerillos in Mendoza, and amid glaciers in El Calafate in Santa Cruz. In Argentina, she met Dragozhilov and the seeds to head to a weekend in Siberia's Tyumen Open Cup were sowed.

Djatiasmoro was joined in Tyumen by 292 athletes from 60 clubs in 34 regions of Russia and 18 other countries including Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, UK, Denmark, Italy, Ireland, Israel, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Netherlands, USA, Finland, France, Czech Republic, Chile, South Africa and Russia. The ages ranged from 12 to 78 years in the annual event held in a relative Siberian heat wave. "The air temperature was -15ºC; the water temperature was 0.5ºC. While we were there, they had a heat wave; normally it is -30ºC."

Hours after traveling around the world, she swam her first event, the 25m breaststroke. "When I got out of the water, my fingers felt like someone was hitting them with a hammer. Later I found out this is caused by the capillaries opening up too fast with the blood rushing through - so, the warming process needs to be controlled and very gradual."

As she dealt with the after drop in the warming tents and recovering in the saunas, Djatiasmoro readied for her second event, the 25m freestyle. "After that, I was ok without hammer fingers. So I continued to swim the 50m breaststroke and then the 50m freestyle. During the lunch break, I started to crash from the adrenalin rush and exhaustion from the jet lag was settling in."

Despite the exhaustion and jet leg, Djatiasmoro dug deep and got through the 200m freestyle. At the awards ceremony that evening, she was pleasantly surprised as she reached the podium four times with 2 silver medals and 2 bronze medals.

And back to New York City for work on Monday where she will start training for the 450m next year:

450m endurance event:

Copyright © 2014 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Do You Get Better As You Age In The Cold?

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

With Happy Helen Lin's accomplishment of the Ice Mile in Boston, it brings to mind a series of interesting questions related to age versus cold water acclimatization.

The first question is, "At what age does one 'peak' for cold water acclimatization? Is it in an athlete's teenage years or in their 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s or greater?"

The second more fundamental questions is, "Is there any relationship between age and cold water swimming capabilities? In other words, does cold water swimming success only relate to the degree of one's own physical and mental training?"

Some swimmers believe that they are improving in the cold water getting better as they age. Some swimmers not only seem to be improve in terms of their ability to swim further in the cold water, but also faster.

In most sports, there is a generally understood age of 'peak' performance (e.g., teenage years for female gymnasts), but is there is such a 'peak age' in the sport of ice swimming? It gets complicated because there are 3 parameters in which one can judge one's improvement:

(1) duration in the water (i.e., how long a swimmer can last in water 5°C or less in terms of time)
(2) water temperature itself (i.e., what is the minimum water temperature an individual can handle for a specific number of meters or time duration)
(3) speed in the water (i.e., what is one's absolute best time for 100m or 1 km)

Over time, these questions may be answered...the sport of winter swimming and ice swimming is very much in its early stages relative to other forms of aquatics and other extreme sports.

Copyright © 2014 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Old School For New Swimmer

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Lake Toba is the largest lake in Indonesia and the largest and deepest volcanic crater lake in the world.

Site of the Lake Toba Festival, the lake was formed 75,000 years ago after a volcano eruption. It is 906 meters above sea level with an average depth of 450m. The lake has an island in the middle called Samosir.

At the introductory 500m lake swim, the newcomer kids swam without goggles, old-school style.

Copyright © 2014 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Paddling And Pulling

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Biathlons are generally considered to be swim-run or bike-run competitions popular among triathletes and multi-sport athletes.

The lifesaving competitions popular in Australia and other ocean communities are also examples of multi-sport races where athletes test their skills in various ways whether it is swimming, paddling, kayaking and running.

But the carbon neutral relays of Hong Kong, devised by Doug Woodring, are a unique combination of paddling and pulling. The Clean Half Extreme Open Water Swim offers has a carbon-neutral relay where the swimmers of each carbon-neutral team rotate between swimming and paddling in an outrigger canoe for 15 kilometers. The team is escorted by itself as the swimmers paddle outrigger canoes and escort each other rather use motorized escorts.

If a relay member is not swimming in the sea, then they are paddling in the outrigger.

Copyright © 2014 by World Open Water Swimming Association

The Unique Randomness of Open Water Swimming

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Open water swimming is typically a non-angular sport. There is a unique randomness to the open water. Although general patterns exist with tides and currents, any one location in an open body of water does not have the strict specificity of a swimming pool.

The randomness may be generated like clouds on an overcast day or winds on a rainy day. The defined angularity of a competitive pool is replaced by the dynamic hydro-activity of waves, the changing size and direction of eddies, or the vertical motion of a finish pontoon.

While a competitive swimmer knows precisely how many strokes it takes to swim across a pool or between the backstroke flags to the wall, a swimmer coming into a feeding station can be impacted by waves, the presence of other competitors or the shifting location of his coach.

This fundamental randomness of open water swimming is what attracts many swimmers, coaches, volunteers and pilots to the sport. The unknown and the unexpected require the participants to be flexible and to be able to think and act on the fly.

Fernando Possenti, coach of world champion and Olympian Ana Marcela Cunha, explains his approach to giving advice to his athletes. “When I see Ana before the start of her races, I tell her that she is well-prepared to handle what can happen out in the open water. I am on shore watching Ana. Open water swimmers have to be ready and make decisions for themselves in their races. They have to be flexible and adapt to the competitive situation and conditions during the races.”

Copyright © 2014 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