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Sunday, March 26, 2017

Leveraging Wearables In The Water

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Fares Ksebati leverages his experience and expertise as a masters swimming coach using modern technology.

Ksebati previously launched MySwimPro, a mobile fitness application that helps swimmers achieve their goals through personalized workouts, instructional videos and analytics.

In 2016, MySwimPro became the world's first swimming app for Apple Watch. Apple soon named MySwimPro its best App of the Year for the Apple Watch.

"For 2017, we're going to integrating different wearable devices including Garmin and Android Wear," explains Ksebati about the app that offers a library of hundreds of workouts designed for the beginner to veteran swimmers while archiving the data of every workout.

Listen to Ksebati describe the features and development of his app here.

On iTunes, visit here. For more information, visit the MySwimPro website here.

Copyright © 2008-2017 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Kristof Rasovszky Win, Gregorio Paltrinieri Fourth In Eilat

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

"Setting the world record [in the 1500m freestyle] will definitely be one of the goals that I will try to achieve in the current season," said 2016 Olympic gold medalist Gregorio Paltrinieri to FINA as he prepares for the 2017 FINA World Championships in Budapest, Hungary this July.

But the Italian champion is also throwing in a bit of open water training to his preparation mix.

The Hungarian team, however, was intent on standing on top of the awards podium in the opening leg of the LEN European Open Water Swimming Cup in Eilat, Israel.

Veterans Kristof Rasovszky of Hungary [shown above] and Kirill Abrosimov and Evgenii Drattsev, both of Russia, swam just fast enough to finish ahead of Paltrinieri.

On the women's side, Katalin Somenek replicated her male teammate's victory.

Paltrinieri, who won Olympic, world and European titles in the 1500m freestyle over the past three years, returned to the open water. He had regularly participated in open water swimming competitions up until the age of 16 when he turned his focus to the pool.

Confident in his stamina and speed, Paltrinieri swam in the lead pack but Hungary’s junior world and European champion Rasovszky switched to another gear, winning by 19 seconds while Russians Abrosimov and Drattsev held off Paltrinieri.

I enjoyed the race after all, managed to keep up with the others for most of the time,” said Paltrinieri. “In the last lap I felt as if I was losing the necessary energy to go with the leaders and I fell behind. Still, it was a good experience, totally different from pool swimming, but I learnt a lot here.”

Rasovszky was beaming after the competition. “It was a fine race, I enjoyed every minute of it. It was a tough fight for four and a half laps, at the end I managed to break away and build a gap which secured a calm finish.”

Top Male Finishers in LEN European Open Water Swimming Cup Eilat, Israel
1. Kristof Rasovszky (HUN) 1:49:43.35
2. Kirill Abrosimov (RUS) 1:50:02.50
3. Evgenii Drattsev (RUS) 1:50:08.00
4. Gregorio Paltrinieri (ITA) 1:50.10.60

Top Female Finishers in LEN European Open Water Swimming Cup Eilat, Israel
1. Katalin Somenek (HUN) 2:00:24.05
2. Spela Pelse (SLO) 2:00:25.95
3. Nikolett Szilagyi (HUN) 2:00.36.75

2017 European Open Water Swimming Cup Legs (€21,000 in prize money)
Leg 1: 10 km in Eilat, Israel on March 26th
Leg 2: 10 km in Barcelona, Spain on July 1st
Leg 3: 7.5 km in Navia, Spain on August 5th
Leg 4: 6 km in Copenhagen, Denmark on August 26th
Final: 5 km and 10 km in Bracciano, Italy on September 16th-17th

LEN Operational Manager Marco Birri described the revamped series. “We really wish to offer something new and definitely something even better for our athletes. The series will enjoy a refreshed design in venue dressing, all hosts are committed to create the best environment for the participants. The European Cup has a huge potential as the discipline is witnessing a boom. LEN wants to offer outstanding competitions for the continent’s swimmers who are dominating at the world level. They deserve this, for sure.”

Copyright © 2008-2017 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Gender, Swimming & Health In The 20th Century

Courtesy of Marilyn Morgan, Consuming Cultures.

Marilyn Morgan wrote another fascinating, historical overview about women's swimwear and swimming opportunities in her blog Consuming Cultures.

Read about Drowning in Culture: Gender, Swimming & Health In The 20th Century here.

Photo from New York, circa August 1906 by G. C. Hovey, Mid Manhattan Picture Collection, Library of Congress.

Copyright © 2008-2017 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Ferry Weertman v. Gregorio Paltrinieri v. Jordan Wilimovsky

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

It is going to be a great summer with races including 2016 Olympic 10K Marathon Swim champion Ferry Weertman of the Netherlands, 2016 Olympic 1500m champion Gregorio Paltrinieri of Italy, and 2015 world champion Jordan Wilimovsky of the USA.

Weertman is gearing up for another fast summer while Paltrinieri is gaining experience on the LEN European Open Water Cup circuit.

Paltrinieri is scheduled to compete in the 10 km race in Eilat, Israel today on Leg 1 of the LEN European Open Water Swimming Cup while Wilimovsky spent time this week competing at the NCAA Swimming Championships in what was called the greatest and fastest 1650-yard race in history (finishing fourth in 14:23.45).

It will be very interesting to see how fast and how adaptable Paltrinieri is - and becomes - in the open water vis-a-vis rivals like Weertman and Wilimovsky. This will an interesting development because the Odaiba Marine Park venue at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games is essentially a flat pool - and because Paltrinieri will have plenty of time to become more experienced in drafting, pack swimming and feeding over the next 3 years.

Unlike the turbulent ocean course held at the 2016 Rio Olympics, the 2020 Olympic 10 km marathon swimming venue in Tokyo will be similar to the 2008 Beijing Olympic course. Odaiba is an area close to the center of Tokyo within Tokyo Bay, largely protected from winds, waves, and currents. It is ideal for a fast pool swimmer who will not have to deal with the shifting dynamics of ocean events.

"Racing in the sea is an old idea that I have never given up (Gareggiare in mare, una vecchia idea che non ho mai abbandonato)," wrote Paltrinieri. "This morning I had my first 10 km in the pool for 25 yards (Stamattina ho fatto la mia prima 10 km in vasca da 25 yard) ... Struggle is real."

Meanwhile, Weertman explained his training in the post-Rio Olympics aftermath:

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: Has your training stayed the same or is your training different this year compared to before the 2016 Rio Olympics?

Ferry Weertman: After the Rio Olympics, I enjoyed a long vacation of two months. Then, the first weeks [back] I just did general training and was slowly getting back into shape. But, during the last couple of months, I have put in a lot of work, but it has been the same kind of work like I did before the Rio Olympics.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: As the Olympic champion, do you feel more pressure to win every race now?

Ferry Weertman: I do feel more pressure to put on a good performance at the [FINA Marathon Swimming] World Cup circuit, but since I have never achieved a World Cup podium position before, I did not feel pressure to win.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: Do you race in the pool nowadays?

Ferry Weertman: I have raced in the pool at the European Championships and at the [FINA] World Championships. This April, we have our national championships in the pool and I will try to qualify for the World Championships again.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: Do you ever talk with Maarten van der Weijden? If you do, what do you talk about?

Ferry Weertman: Yes, I do talk with Maarten sometimes. He is a really nice guy and a big idol of mine. Before the Rio Olympics, we talked some about being at the Games as an open water swimmer. After, we talked about the life as an Olympic champion. If I ever need advice, Maarten is always there to help me.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: Do you give speeches in the Netherlands? If you do, what do you talk about?

Ferry Weertman: I do give speeches sometimes. When I do, I mostly talk about the importance of planning and details. People like to hear all of the crazy things that we do for our sport.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: Who do you train with at home?

Ferry Weertman: At home, we have a big training group with 17 swimmers, 4 of which are open water swimmers. Marcel Schouten, Pepijn Smits, Esmee Vermeulen and me. I do most of the training sessions with them, but sometimes we mix it up with the pool swimmers as well. I am coached by Marcel Wouda, who has two assistant coaches, Patrick Pearson and Thijs Hagelstein.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: About how many meters do you train every day at home?

Ferry Weertman: We average about 75 km a week over 10 sessions. But in our tough weeks, we increase up to 90-95 km in a week.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: What is your most difficult swim workout?

Ferry Weertman: I am not good with different strokes other than freestyle. So if we have to change strokes a lot in a training session, that is very difficult for me.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: What is your most favorite swimming set to do during your hard training?

Ferry Weertman: Before important races, we do specific sets for the open water. These are sets of about 5 km with a build to maximum speed. I always look forward to these sets.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: Do you do dryland training?

Ferry Weertman: I do a lot of dryland training. We do half an hour every day. It is mostly core training, coordination, flexibility, mobility, and injury prevention.

Weertman shown above at the aQuellé Midmar Mile, courtesy of Lexie Kelly in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa.

Copyright © 2008-2017 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Rene Martínez Saenz Helps Exposure To Benefit Marine Life

Mexico Pelagico from Pelagic Life.

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Rene Martínez Saenz is a 35-year-old Mexican pool and open water swimmer, currently training for a 20.2-mile crossing of the Catalina Channel in 2017 and a crossing of the English Channel in 2018.

He collaborates with Pelagic Life, a Mexican NGO dedicated to shark conservation, that produced a documentary film called Mexico Pelagico.

While Pelagic Life chases the elusive sardine baitball near Baja California, they stumble upon a crude shark fishing operation that sparks a seismic shift in the group’s thinking. Departing from their original concept of documenting marine life phenomenon, they transform their mission to creating awareness of Mexico’s sea life while creating sustainable livelihoods for the shark fishermen in order to preserve a delicate and critical ecosystem.

Mexico Pelagico is the story of an unlikely pairing of interests as its showcases Mexico’s oceanic treasures of sharks, sailfish, dolphin, turtles and even crocodiles.

Copyright © 2008-2017 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Kristian O'Donovan Crosses Tampa Bay

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Kristian O'Donovan of Ireland completed a solo Tampa Bay Marathon Swim on March 18th in 11 hours 32 minutes.
John Batchelder and Mighty Mermaids are next up, swimming across Tampa Bay on April 1st. The rest of the swimmers will compete in the 19th Annual 24 Mile Tampa Bay Marathon Swim on April 22nd:

Soloists: * Patty Hermann, 57-year-old from Houston, Texas, USA
* Dan Fritz, 53-year-old from Chicago, Illinois, USA
* John Batchelder, 36-year-old from Littleton, Colorado, USA [swimming on April 1st]
* Heather Roka, 31-year-old from Ft. Myers, Florida, USA
* Jay Eckert, 30-year-old from Sarasota, Florida, USA

* Mighty Mermaids Relay with Tracy Grilli (60), Nancy Steadman Martin (62), Christie Ciraulo (63), Veronica Hibben (60), Karen Einsidler (61), Jenny Cook (59) [swimming on on April 1st]
* Squid Marks Relay with Dinah Mistilis (42) and Anita Hyde (34)
* SwimGuzzlers Relay with Kevin Curley (58), Glenn Baker (54), David Heffernan (57), Craig Bartlett (59), Peter Gold (45), Tom Welch (57)
* Parcells Paddlers Relay with Marcia Cleveland (52), Scott Lautman (64), Dennis Dressel (65), John Wilbur (71), John Waanders (56)
* Mad Milers Relay with Elizabeth Fry (58), Margaret Gaskill (59), James Clifford (65), Henry Eckstein (69), James Bayles (65)
* Bizarro World Relay with Marcy MacDonald (53), Scott Coleman (62), Gene Sardzinski (61), Thomas Casey (57), Dan Robinson (59M)

For more information, visit here.

Ron Collins shared the 2017 Tampa Bay Marathon SwimTampa Bay Marathon Swim T-shirt design above that honors David Parcells and Terry Tomalin, two men who passed away too early, both establishing an important legacy on the 24-mile event and in the open water swimming community.

Copyright © 2008-2017 by World Open Water Swimming Association

XPRIZE Ocean Initiative's Big Ocean Button Challenge

Courtesy of XPRIZE, Culver City, California.

Matt Mulrennan, Manager of the XPRIZE Ocean Initiative, announced XPRIZE's Big Ocean Button Challenge.

The Big Ocean Button Challenge is the title of this US$100,000 app development competition that can lead to turning ocean data into the products and services that mankind needs.

XPRIZE spurs exponential change, serving as a catalyst for the benefit of humanity.

Mulrennan explains, "The XPRIZE Ocean Initiative started in 2010 with a call to develop, organize and manage 5 XPRIZE competitions by 2020 that will address the grand challenges facing Planet Earth's most important natural resource.

The XPRIZE Ocean Initiative launched a US$100,000 app development competition to turn ocean data into valuable products and services. Its goal is to create an additional industry in ocean data products and services that will address the critical challenges facing the ocean. Developers and data scientists are challenged to create mobile apps touching ocean acidification, fishing, shipping and trade, exploration, and public safety

But its deadline is March 31st. "I encourage talented and visionary individuals to submit their applications," said Mulrennan. "They have less than a week to help change the world for the better."

Semifinalists will submit their apps by August 31st 2017. Finalists will submit second version of apps in Fall 2017. Winners will be announced in late 2017/early 2018.

For more information on the Big Ocean Button Challenge, visit here.

The Problem

A wealth of ocean data has been and is being collected. Many of the datasets are open, yet very few are being used for resource management, business, or conservation. Most businesses, let alone individuals, do not have the time or ability to translate ocean data into actionable information, yet large industries and millions of people rely on the ocean for their livelihoods and well-being.

So long as ocean data remain disconnected from services that people and markets can use, we will be unable to engage the numbers of actors needed to address critical ocean challenges. Data collection is not evenly distributed across the ocean — some regions are in need of data acquisition, a need that could be addressed through the development of demand for data services, which will in turn drive demand for data collection tools. Overall, there is a market failure for meaningful data services, and the time is ripe for market development.

Competition Overview — Developing Mobile Apps to Unlock Ocean Data

What: A competition to develop mobile apps using ocean data sets. A total of US$100,000 in prizes will be awarded for apps in the following categories: Fishing, Shipping and Trade, Ocean Acidification, Public Safety, and Exploration.

Why: Bring app developers to the trove of available ocean data in order to catalyze the growth of a potentially multi-billion-dollar industry in ocean data products.

How: Develop a mobile app that unlocks ocean data for public and/or private benefit, ideally while supporting responsible use and protection of our ocean.

Scope of Competition

The goal of the Big Ocean Button Challenge is to advance development of and investment in ocean data products and services. Many sectors can benefit from solutions for organizing and standardizing ocean data. Some applications that are in need of ocean services include:

* Monitoring and enforcement (of laws, regulations, or protected areas)
* Resource management (biological, mineral, habitat, etc.)
* Education and awareness
* Sustainable seafood and fishing or aquaculture/mariculture activities
* Navigation and shipping
* Recreation
* Public health and ecosystem health
* Safety and security
* Climate, weather, and hazards
* Energy production

Challenge Breakthroughs

* Catalyze development of an economic sector around services utilizing ocean data, thereby generating exponentially more demand for ocean data, and the curation of such data into accessible databases and resources.

* Ensure valuable information about the ocean becomes accessible to millions more people than it is today.

* Bridge gaps among entities and sectors that can make use of ocean data, including the scientific community, the tech community, ocean resource managers and governments, and the private sector.

* Engage new participants and foster new collaborations to move this field forward.

* Accelerate the transition of ocean data collection from a parochial activity performed by only end-users and into a broader information technology paradigm.

* Identify gaps in data and challenges in data accessibility.

* Most broadly, to create a vision of an ideal future ocean data services industry that can catalyze the sustainable economic valuation of our ocean needed to drive toward ensuring healthy oceans.

Mulrennan explains more below:

One of the products that resulted from a previous XPRIZE Ocean Initiative competition is the iSAMIs (Submersible Autonomous Moored Instruments) that was created by Sunburst Sensors by Jim Beck and Mike DeGrandpre. The iSAMI will be used by Ben Lecomte and his crew during The Longest Swim. Part of their scientific mission on The Longest Swim will be to collect data as Lecomte slowly swims his way across the Pacific Ocean from Tokyo to San Francisco.

Copyright © 2008-2017 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Friday, March 24, 2017

Ben Lecomte Going With The Flow Across The Pacific

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Ben Lecomte will receive the greatest amount of navigation data ever offered to an open water swimmer in history during The Longest Swim across the Pacific Ocean from Tokyo to San Francisco later this year.

Using data obtained through satellites [see data example above with the gray land mass representing Japan on the left], Lecomte will try to stay within certain currents across the Pacific.

With the push of the Kuroshio Current and the North Pacific Current from Tokyo to San Francisco, he hopes to swim an average distance of 48 km (30 miles) per day.

"The differences in water temperature will be provided to us aboard the Discoverer," he explains about his daily 8-hour swim sessions for an anticipated 6 months. "We will follow this information as we plot our course across the Pacific. The information will tell us where the water is flowing. But there are eddies near the edges of where the cold water and warmer waters meet. We need to stay away from those eddies."

The Discoverer is his 67-foot (20 m) steel-hulled sailing yacht that will serve as his primary escort boat with a CCTV system recording 24/7, drones, 360° cameras, GPS, and activity trackers onboard, people around the world will be able to follow his progress every day on an interactive map as well as his performance perimeters and the weather conditions.

With the communications equipment, his crew will provide constant updates, scenes from the boat, images of what Lecomte will see, and interviews and comments from Lecomte himself including a commentary as he is swimming through a unique bone-conduction microphone that he will occasionally wear as he swims.

The schematic illustration on his RIB and escort boat does not show a boom that will stretch from the Discoverer above the water where a swim streamer will float in the water below Lecomte. "I will be staring straight down looking at this swim streamer, like the black line at the bottom of the pool. But it will have weights on it and it will have different colors along its length. So I know I am getting further away from the boat if I am in the red zone and I am closer to the boat in the green zone."

For information on his Kickstart campaign, visit here. For more information about the swim itself, visit thelongestswim.com.

Copyright © 2008-2017 by World Open Water Swimming Association

The Science Behind The Longest Swim

>Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Ben Lecomte will be constantly monitored during The Longest Swim across the Pacific Ocean from Tokyo to San Francisco.

He will attach an EKG waterproof holter monitor on his chest while wearing a RadBand radioactive cesium collector on his ankles as he swims across the largest body of water on Planet Earth.

His scientific team will attempt to obtain myriad data in order to answer questions such as:

* How will the demands of a transpacific swim affect his emotions?
* How does low gravity affect bones and vision?
* Can extreme exercise hurt the heart?
* How does extreme exercise affect the bacteria in and on our bodies?

The Longest Swim is a unique opportunity to better share our scientific results and our message to the public, but also to collect very valuable samples for our research,” says Dr. Erik Zettler of the Sea Education Association.

Samples from Lecomte's stomach will be used to help determine what kind of changes occur in the digestive system of extreme athletes during exercise. Swabs will be taken from his skin surface after his 8-hour swimming legs that may provide clues to how his microflora interacts with marine bacteria.

The bodies of extreme endurance athletes like ultra-marathon runners or stage swimmers undergo many changes during and after competition. Since digestion is not a priority during strenuous exercise, blood can be shunted away from the gastrointestinal tract; however this can cause problems like abdominal cramps and diarrhea when athletes have to eat along the way. This kind of distress can alter the body’s natural bacterial communities, also called the microbiome. To measure the changes to his microbiome, Lecomte's crew will take periodic samples from all over his body, including the surface of his skin, to see how his body interacts with the marine bacteria it encounters. This will help scientists better understand systems biology, as well as what effects these interactions may have on physical performance.

Using the same remote guidance echocardiography NASA uses to monitor astronauts on the International Space Station, the Lecomte's crew will help doctors in Dallas, Texas keep track of changes to his heart during his time in and on the ocean. Researchers will use this data to explore what impact extreme exercise has on the heart and determine if there is a limit to how much exercise the human heart can handle.

One of the current controversies in cardiology is whether extreme athletic performance has a harmful effect on the heart. Echocardiograms are usually performed by highly trained individuals called sonographers, but remote guidance echocardiography allows a sonographer to guide a modestly trained individual through the procedure when they’re in a remote or inaccessible location — like Lecomte in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. His baseline echocardiograms and an advanced cardiac MRI of his heart will be compared before and after his swim.

Lecomte will be staring downwards into some of the deepest waters on the planet for long stretches of time. While he may come across marine life or flotsam or plastics on or just below the water's surface, he will largely stare into a deep blue abyss. Researchers will evaluate how his interpersonal contact with his crew and the larger audience around the world via social media will impact his emotional state. They will also look at how environmental conditions affect his confidence and which ones have the most influence over his emotional and physical fluctuations.

During his 8-hour legs over a 6-month period, Lecomte will be immersed in salt water that will directly impact gravity's effect on his body. This unique situation creates a unique analog to long-term space travel that is better than land-bound research protocols. Researchers will study if the non-weight bearing exercise that Lecomte will do can help protect against the loss of bone density in low-gravity conditions as well as how his posture out of the water can help prevent or reduce vision loss due to increase eye pressure.

One of the unique aspects of Ben’s swim, above and beyond its importance for studying the effects of extraordinary endurance activity on the heart, is that it provides a very good model for long term spaceflight,” remarked Dr. Benjamin Levine, a cardiologist from the Institute for Exercise and Environmental Medicine in Texas.

Photo of his EKG waterproof holter monitor was taken at the XPRIZE Foundation in Los Angeles, California.

For information on his Kickstart campaign, visit here. For more information about the swim itself, visit thelongestswim.com.

Copyright © 2008-2017 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Listen To Women in the Open Water Tonight

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

A panel discussion, hosted by Guila Muir on Women in the Open Water will be held tonight at the C & P Coffee Company at 5612 California Ave SW in Seattle, Washington.

Muir explains, "Some amazing women swimmers in the Northwest made news and set records in 2016. Say Yes to Life Swims will host a forum to highlight their triumphant stories tonight from 7 - 9 pm.

Join us for an incredible evening. It is free and open to all. This event is the first in a series of springtime educational offerings

The panelists include Wendy Van De Sompele (who circumnavigated Maury Island), Erika Norris (who swam from Bremerton to Seattle), Jessi Harewicz (who swam Canada's Georgia Strait and is shown above), and Melissa Kegler (who swam the Catalina Channel and is preparing to conquer the English Channel in 2017).

For more information, visit here or Say Yes to Life Swims.

The talk will be livestreamed free via Periscope here at www.periscope.tv/swimmingforjoy. A video of the panel discussion will also be posted on the Say Yes! Facebook page after the event.

Copyright © 2008-2017 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Thinking About The Longest Swim

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

"I was a child when [my uncle] Ben [Lecomte] walked on the shores of France in Quiberon after he first crossed the Atlantic Ocean in 1998," recalled Paul Lecomte, the Project Manager for Lecomte's The Longest Swim across the Pacific Ocean.

Later this year, Paul will head a 9-person escort crew of The Longest Swim that Ben explained in detail last night at the XPRIZE Foundation in Los Angeles, California.

"Benoît's presentation of his solo stage swim was fascinating beyond expectations," commented Steven Munatones. "The technology that Benoît is utilizing in his swim are beyond anything we have seen in the sport of open water swimming. He described how his team will be studying the plastisphere, collecting data on the radiation in the ocean from the Fukushima nuclear disaster, obtaining high-definition water data, studying the physiological effects of extreme exercise by monitoring the microbiome, gravity effects on the human body, and the effects on the heart, and researching the psychological stress of such a solo swim."

He explained how he trains physically and psychologically. Currently, he is focused on his aerobic conditioning and doing a lot of running and cycling. Surprisingly, he is not currently doing a lot of swimming, although he swims in the open bodies of water near his home in Austin, Texas.


"I want to be excited when I finally get in the water. I want to enjoy it."

But probably the most telling aspect of his swim and his abilities is his trained ability to disassociate his mind from his body.

"You do not see much in the ocean. Eight hours a day, I am staring down into a deep ocean. So on the mental side, I put my mind in a separate place. It is important to know what I will think about before I get in the water every day.

This is important because your mind will be directed to think about things that always go to the negative. For example, my back hurts or the water is cold. But for eight hours every day, I know exactly what I will think about. I plan this before each day. For example, in the first hour I will think of one subject. During the second hour, I will think about another subject. I can think about a city that I have never visited or a book that I read.

It is important to separate your mind from your body.

I practice this [meditation] a lot. The good monk is not 20 years old. The best monk is the older monk.

The trick is to engage all your senses when I am thinking during my swim. If I am thinking about visiting a city, I think about small details like what are the smells? What is the temperature? How does the warm sun feel on my skin? It is important to disassociate your mind

For more information on his Kickstart campaign, visit here. For more information about the swim itself, visit thelongestswim.com.

Lecomte is currently the Associate Director of Sustainability Services at Progea, a global environmental and sustainability consulting firm that helps organizations worldwide to assess their exposure to environmental, health and safety, social, and sustainability issues.

Copyright © 2008-2017 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Conor Dwyer On A Roll

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

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

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

Using The Eiffel Tower As An Olympic Landmark

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Copyright © 2008-2017 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Long Beach Wins LA Olympic Marathon Swimming Bid

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Copyright © 2008-2017 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Potentially Alarming? What Do You Think?

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Copyright © 2008-2017 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Antonio Argüelles Across The Cook Strait

Estrecho de Cook from Pablo Argüelles.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Go ahead," I said. "So what’s next?"

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

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

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

The message could not be clearer.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Swim to the left mound."

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

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

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

Dangers Lurk In Unexpected Places

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

Heading To The Longest Swim

Courtesy of Exploration Institute and Benoît Lecomte.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Copyright © 2008-2017 by World Open Water Swimming Association

The Seven Ages Of Water Presented By Wallace J. Nichols

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

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Shark Fin Sales Elimination Act Introduced

Courtesy of Alex Grey, Oceana.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Copyright © 2008-2017 by World Open Water Swimming Association

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

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