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Friday, November 16, 2018

All Four One And One Four All

Courtesy of Adherbal de Oliveira, Travessia do Leme ao Pontal, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

On November 15th, the Relay Friends of the Sea completed the Travessia do Leme ao Pontal in 9 hours 29 minutes finishing on the sands of Pontal Beach.

The neoprene relay included Túlio Ricardo dos Santos Silva, Marlus Porciúncula Ribeiro, Joana Texeira Jahara and Paulo Roberto Santos Costa.

Looking for the best currents and avoiding the strong winds that were forecasted for the following afternoon, the quartet started swimming earlier than planned. They purposefully increased their night time swimming by starting at 11:37 pm in the 16°C - 19°C water.

Adherbal de Oliveira described their efforts, "The swimmers are passionate about open water swimming and trained for six months, balancing their training with their work and family responsibilities. This effort required a lot of planning, discipline and special attention to food and rest to avoid any risk of injury.

But all their efforts were compensated by the beautiful dawn and the natural beauty that they enjoyed from the escort boat along the coastal swim in Rio de Janeiro

Captain Paulo Costa said, "It was a special crossing that will be eternalized in the memory of us all."

Copyright © 2008-2018 by World Open Water Swimming Association

How Open Water Swimming Initiated A Life Of Adventure

Courtesy of WOWSA, Olympic Club, San Francisco, California.

At the Open Water Summit at the Olympic Club last weekend, there were all kinds of open water swimmers who specialize in pioneering stage swims, SOS swims, channel swims, marathon swims, ice swims, and polar adventures.

From Michelle Macy to Ross Edgley, the luminaries were mind-boggling unbelievable and all duly noted by their peers, fans and global media.

One of the open water swimming pioneers in the 20th century was David Smith of Santa Cruz, California.

Back in 1965, the Ventura Junior Chamber of Commerce offered US$1,000 to the first person who swam 19.3 km from Anacapa Island to the California mainland. As a promotion for a local home decorator show, the swim window was set for June 25-28th 1965 when the 23-year-old Smith, 19-year-old Erick Gillen, and Canadian Betty Benedict planned to attempt the swim, but the weather prevented them from trying within the window.

Smith carried on in the open water world, swimming in a shark cage across the Strait of Gibraltar in 1967 from Africa to Spain.

In 1969, Smith was inducted into the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame, but he was nowhere to be found...until 2006.

In 2006, Smith officially received the reward at the International Swimming Hall of Fame Awards Ceremony in Fort Lauderdale, Florida that was presented by Dale Petranech. John Evans introduced Smith by saying, "Besides being an international marathon swimmer, Dr. David Miln Smith is an international humanitarian. He is an ambassador of goodwill, an innovator of adventure sports and 'the extreme.'

But swimming distances is only one side of David. He's also a writer of books on health and wellness, personal change and overcoming fear. Over the past 27 years, he's led 54 wilderness adventures for schizophrenic patients on the Appalachian Trail, and conducted 290 programs in prisons, including San Quentin, on how to 'get a job instead of do a job.

Smith opened his acceptance speech by saying, "More important than this award is the reward international marathon swimming gave me. The challenge of the swims opened my life to new horizons, infinite possibilities and the ability to travel the world in novel, intense, athletic endurance explorations. Marathon swimming turned me into an explorer."

Smith admits to this transformation, "I evolved from a marathon swimmer to an adventurer.

I kayaked the Nile River from Ethiopia to Cairo, trekked the High Atlas Mountains and across the Sahara Desert solo, ran the Khyber Pass, hunted with a club in Kenya, ran down Mount Fuji, leaped into the Well of Sacrifice in Chichen Itza, among other things. But swimming the Golden Gate got me started

Over the next three decades, he shifted his aquatic talents to many other dryland adventures and also wrote three books, one a decade:

* 1976: The East/West Exercise Book
* 1983: Healing Journey. The Odyssey of an Uncommon Athlete
* 1996: Hug the Monster. How to Embrace Your Fears and Live Your Dreams

For more information on this remarkable swimmer-turned-adventurer and author, read www.adventuresmith.net.

Copyright © 2008-2018 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Swimming At The Bottom Of The Earth

Courtesy of Nicolene Steynberg of Madswimmer, Antarctica.

14 swimmers from South Africa, Poland, Russia, Australia, Argentina, Italy, China, Bulgaria and Spain will participate in the first 1 km Ice Swim in Antarctica, led by International Ice Swimming Association's founder Ram Barkai.

The journey departed today, but the Ice Swim will be held between November 17th and 27th depending on the weather.

The swimmers include ice swimming world champion Petar Stoychev, Global Swimmer Diego López Dominguez, Madswimmer founder Jean Craven, Barkai, Wyatt Song, Samantha Whelpton and Clinton Le Sueur.

Craven is raising funds for children’s charities with this swim. The Antarctica swim is Part 1 of a dual series attempting ice swims at the extreme ends of the Earth - starting with this expedition at the South Pole and completing the series at the North Pole within the next year.

The aquatic adventurers will gather in Punta Arenas in the southernmost part of South America where they will meet up with a Canadian expedition cruise operator, One Ocean Expeditions, and board the expedition ship, the RCGS Resolute.

A 200m swim will be held before boarding the RCGS Resolute in order to acclimate and confirm all safety measures are in place.

The swim route is expected to be a 100m length along the ship with 5 loops starting from the ship and back.

The water temperature is expected to be 0°C (32°F) or less while four swimmers will be in the water at a single time, accompanied by two rubber rafts, four kayaks, and medical and safety staff wearing dry suits and floating devices who will be ready to jump in and rescue a swimmer if needed.

Dr. Sean Gottschalk is the expedition doctor and a specialist emergency physician with extensive experience in extreme swimming expeditions. He was the physician who accompanied Lewis Pugh on his Mount Everest swim.

The swimmers will be on a 13-day Antarctic Polar Marine Travelling Expedition where they will observe wildlife and the environment as well as do sea kayaking, onshore hiking, ice camping, whale watching, and learning from educational presentations by polar experts.

Craven explains, "Madswimmer will invest everything to showcase the human spirit and prove the impossible is possible when the goal is set at helping others. Come hell or cold water, the sight is set at the end of those 100m icy loops that will change underprivileged children’s lives.

The costs of the swim are covered by corporate sponsors and swimmers themselves.

Supporters’ contributions will therefore benefit children solely. To make a donation visit www.madswimmer.com

Day 1: Punta Arenas, Chile
Depart the southern Chilean port city of Punta Arenas through the Straits of Magellan, bound for Antarctica.

Days 2-3: towards Antarctica
On a southerly course for Antarctica, they pass through the Drake Passage while learning from onboard experts on the approach to the coastline of Antarctica, icebergs and whale sightings.

Days 4-5: South Shetland Islands and Antarctica
Reach the South Shetland Islands and enter the McFarlane Strait which separates Greenwich and Livingstone Islands. Half Moon Island or nearby Yankee Habour are possible landing sites. A short way to the southwest lies Deception Island, a flooded volcanic caldera. Overnight, they cross the Bransfield Strait and will find themselves along the coastline of continental Antarctica.

Days 6-9: Gerlache Strait in Antarctica
With Zodiac excursions, onshore hikes and camping, wildlife observation, sea kayaking, and whale watching, they travel as far south as ice conditions permit with the hopes to navigate as far as Neko Harbour and into the Errera Channel.

Day 10: South Shetland Islands
They may land on Aitcho Island or several other sites in Half Moon Island, or Yankee Harbour or Hannah Point as they navigate north into the Drake Passage as they head back to South America.

Days 11-12: Drake Passage
On the return back to South America, they will approach the Beagle Channel.

For more information, visit www.madswimmer.com and www.internationaliceswimming.com .

Copyright © 2008-2018 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Think, Plan, Do In The Open Water

Courtesy of April Wong, The Olympic Club, San Francisco, California.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, a German writer and statesman, wrote two centuries ago, “To think is easy. To act is hard. But the hardest thing in the world is to act in accordance with your thinking.”

While this quote can apply to many facets of life on dryland, but it also applies to open water swimmers.

People like Lewis Pugh and Ram Barkai envision swims around the world, usually under the most harsh and cold environments.

Next year, Barkai will host the International Ice Swimming Association World Championships in Murmansk, Russia.

Ram has been relentless in his drive to professionalize and legitimize ice swimming,” says Steven Munatones. “His drive to codify and popularize this extreme sports has never been easy, but through wise investments in people combined with clear vision and audacious goals, he has motivated and enabled 275 people from 33 countries to complete an Ice Mile and made the world ice swimming championships the most dramatic and arguably the most difficult extreme sports event in the world."

To race a kilometer in the ice in Murmansk, the largest city within the Arctic Circle, without wetsuits is something that simply was never imagined in human history - until Ram dreamed big. Ram has made ice swimming desirable and doable to compete and achieve these cold water feats."

Lewis Pugh’s goals in the Ice have gone beyond simply achieving a personal milestone.

The United Nations Patron of the Oceans takes an extreme swim - Swimming in Antarctica or across the English Channel - and transforms that swim to helping shape and formulate concrete measures and policies on an international scale.

Munatones observes, “Lewis walks among heads of state and high-ranking government officials from Washington D.C. and London to Moscow and Davos.

He commands their attention, captures their imagination, shapes their debate, and relentlessly pushes them to formulate policies that protect the marine environment.

From being the catalyst to establishing a Marine Protected Area in the Ross Sea in the Southern Ocean as a result of his swims in Antarctica to pushing the British government to protect 30% of its waters by the year 2030, Lewis is acting positively and unyieldingly according to his strong convictions and dreams

In 2015, Pugh did The Five Swims in Antarctica for 1 Reason, a series of 5 swims by Lewis Pugh in waters between 0ºC and -1.7ºC that resulted specifically to have Antarctica's Ross Sea declared a Marine Protected Area:

* 13 February 2015 - Campbell Island at 52º South
* 19 February 2015 - Cape Adare at 71º South
* 22 February 2015 - Cape Evans at 77.6º South
* 28 February 2015 - Bay of Whales at 78.5º South
* 7 March 2015 - Peter 1 Island at 69º South

This summer, Pugh swam closer to influential decision-makers when he completed a 49-day 528 km stage swim along the south coast of England from Land's End in Cornwall to Dover in Kent that resulted in Great Britain to become the first government to commit to protecting 30% of the world’s oceans by 2030. So Pugh's swim directly led to setting an important benchmark for other governments to follow.

Pugh was one of the nominees for the 2018 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year:

1. Benoît Lecomte (France/USA)
2. Cameron Bellamy (South Africa)
3. Diego López Dominguez (Canary Islands)
4. Ferry Weertman (Netherlands)
5. Igor Lukin (Russia)
6. Ion Lazarenco Tiron (Republic of Moldava)
7. John Batchelder (USA)
8. José Luis Larrosa Chorro (Spain)
9. Kristóf Rasovszky (Hungary)
10. Lewis Pugh (Great Britain/South Africa)
11. Maarten van der Weijden (Netherlands)
12. Ned Denison (Ireland/USA)
13. Rohan More (India)
14. Vladimir Mravec (Slovakia/Australia)
15. Yaroslav Pronin (Belarus)

One of Barkai's signature events - the Ice Swimming World Cup Series - was nominated for the 2018 World Open Water Offering of the Year:

1. A History of Marathon Swimming (USA) by Joe Grossman & Steve Walker
2. AKUA Kelp Jerky (USA) by Courtney Boyd Myers
3. Asociación de Cruce a Nado del Río de la Plata (Argentina) by Lucas Rivet
4. ENERGYbits® (USA) by Catharine Arnston
5. Icebears Hintertux (Austria) by Josef Köberl
6. International Ice Swimming Association World Cup Series by Ram Barkai
7. Marathon Swimming: The Sport of the Soul (USA) by Paul Asmuth
8. Maelstrom Seven by Wild Swimming Brothers
9. Ontberingen van een marathonzwemster / Hardships Of A Marathonswimmer (Netherlands) by Monique Blok-Wildschut
10. Patagonia Swim (Chile) by Cristian Vergara and Julieta Núñez Gundlach
11. St. Lucia Channel Swim (St. Lucia & Martinique) by Sue Dyson & Nathaniel Waring
12. Tahiti Swimming Experience (Tahiti) by Stéphane Debaere & Tahitian Swimming Federation
13. Take Your Dream (Australia) by Eric, Hunter and Tuck Helmick
14. TOWER 26 (USA) by Gerry Rodrigues
15. Waikiki Roughwater Swim DIY Swim Certificate (Hawaii) by Michael Rök & Jim Cotton

To vote for the WOWSA Awards and the 2018 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year and Offering of the Year, visit here.

Both men received their official Guinness World Record certificates from Kim Partrick of the Guinness World Records at the Open Water Summit in the Olympic Club in San Francisco, California this past weekend [photos shown above].

Copyright © 2008-2018 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Christopher Guesdon Honored Again By Hall Of Fame

Courtesy of Ned Denison, International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame, Florida.

Christopher Guesdon of Australia was selected as the third recipient of the Dale Petranech Award for Services to the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame.

Chairperson Ned Denison wrote, "Chris will be presented with the honor and award at the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Induction/Award ceremony in Melbourne, Australia on March 9th 2019. Chris served on the Executive Committee since 2010 with an initial remit for nominations/selection. Taking over as the Chair from 2015 to 2017, he provided the organizational leadership, vision and strategy after a significant organizational change.

Chris led the organization for the critical years after we re-joined the International Swimming Hall of Fame family.

Substantial changes and improvements took place under his watch:

* Executive Committee recruitment and succession planning
* Development of a new website
* Distribution of a professional newsletter
* Initiation of a Facebook page
* Expansion of the selector panel to significantly global
* Initiation of a major influx of marathon inductees into the International Swimming Hall of Fame to make up for years of organizational separation
* Wrote enhanced honoree criteria definition including the introduction of a ban for WADA violations and the swimsuit criteria policy. His definitions resolved a long-standing problem for the selection panel by honoring the rules of the organization or event under which a swim is completed.

His involvement in the sport included over 56 years of service, he was an international marathon swimmer, he masterminded the design for the Olympic 10 km marathon swim which helped bring the sport back to the Olympic Games after a 104-year absence, he managed and led national teams and Australian marathon swimmers since 1970, he founded the Australian Long-Distance Swimming Federation in 1973, he was a member of the World Professional Marathon Swimming Federation, he served as a Bureau Member of the International Long-Distance Swimming Federation between 1975 - 1977, he was a member of the FINA Technical Open Water Swimming Committee between 1996 - 2000, he was inducted as an Honour Contributor in the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame in 2009 and awarded the 2018 Poseidon Award, and the 2010 Irving Davids/Captain Roger W. Wheeler Memorial Award by the International Swimming Hall of Fame

This award was created in 2016 to honor Dale Petranech for decades of service to the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame. Petranech is a dual inductee in both the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame and the International Swimming Hall of Fame as an Honor Contributor. As a marathon swimmer, Petranech previously held the record as the oldest solo swimmer across the Catalina Channel and has served for nearly 50 years in various capacities at all levels of the sport, local, regional, national and international.

For more information, visit www.IMSHOF.org or on Facebook.

Copyright © 2008-2018 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Zorro Keeps The Dream Afloat

Courtesy of Marianne Wieland de Alvarez, Honu Para Swim Team, Vancouver, Canada.

Marianne Wieland de Alvarez, the coach and manager of the Honu Para Swim Team talks of Pedro Rangel Haro of Mexico.

"Pedro is an impressive and courageous Para swimmer with an amazing history of achievements. In 2018, he became the first double leg amputee to complete a solo crossing of the English Channel.

On September 26th, he swam from England to France under the auspices of the Channel Swimming & Piloting Federation in 15 hours 48 minutes.

Pedro has also proven himself in the pool by participating in four Paralympic Games, each time achieving a podium position in the 100m breaststroke in the SB5 category.

Before his solo attempt, Pedro prepared himself by participating in English Channel relays comprised of solely disabled swimmers on three separate times from 2014. One disabled team relay in 2016 was faster than all other six-man able-bodied relays that year. He is a remarkable young man who have a deep physical and mental determination to achieve his 30-year dream of swimming across the English Channel. He represents a positive image of perseverance who inspires countless others to never give up and overcome all limits

Before dreaming of his crossing, PEdro first dreamed of climbing Mount Everest as a young child. When he was 8 years old, he suffered a terrible accident while playing on a moving train. He lost both his legs. When he told his father that his dream of climbing Mount Everest was over, his father insisted that there was an even greater challenge.

This was the first time that Pedro heard of the English Channel.

Years later, he learned to swim and was introduced to Paralympic swimming [his classification category is S7-SB5-SM6]. Pedro won a bronze medal in the 2004 Athens Paralympic Games, a gold medal in the 2008 Beijing Paralympic Games, a bronze medal in the 2012 London Paralympic Games, and a bronze medal in the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games. He is nicknamed 'The Legend Rangel' and 'The Zorro of Paralympic Swimming'. His English Channel crossing led to a third nickname, 'The Channel Crossing of El Zorro'.

It is an immense honor to coach Pedro and be part of his triumphs and realization of his dreams

For more information about the Honu Para Swim Society, visit www.honuswim.com.

The Honu Para Swim Team supports people of different abilities to improve their health and lifestyle through swimming.

Copyright © 2008-2018 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Nejib Belhedi Continues With His Unprecedented Swims

Courtesy of WOWSA, Sfax, Tunisia.

Before Nejib Belhedi set off on a 76 hour 30 minute 120 km Sfax to Djerba Marathon Swim in his native Tunisia this year, he created a branded series of solo swims called World Iron Swim by pulling boats with children, camels and people of increasingly greater weights between 2015 and 2017.

* On 14 February 2015, he boat pulled 180 kg for 7 km in the Kerkennah Sea in Tunisia.
* On 24 April 2015, he boat pulled 180 km for 11 km around Kerkennah Island in Tunisia.
* On 24 May 2015, he boat pulled 180 kg with two children, pilot Mahdi Aghir and observer Mahdi Aghir over 15.26 km across the Golfe de Skanes in the Monastir Sea in 6 hours 40 minutes from the One Resort Hotel beach to Dkhlia beach while being escorted by pilot Mahdi Aghir and pulling two children in a boat. The observer was Mohamed Rekik.
* On 31 July 2015, he boat pulled a mini Catamaran with 180 kg over 21 km in the Gulf of Gabes in Tunisia.
* On 10 September 2015, he boat pulled 180 kg over 20 km in Djerba Island Sea in Tunisia.
* On 7 October 2015, he boat pulled a 1.5-ton boat carrying a camel and his master over 4 km in the Mahdia Port in Tunisia (the Camel Swim).
* On 23 October 2015, he boat pulled a 2-ton boat with 3 people over 4 km in the Mahdia Port, Tunisia (the Olive Tree Swim).
* On 7 November 2015, he boat pulled a 21-ton ship named Hannibal with people 168 meters in Marina Tabarka in Tunisia with observer Hatem Askri.
* On 19 November 2015, he boat pulled a 22-ton ship named Mahdi with people over 200 meters in 11 minutes in Port El Kantaoui, Tunisia with observer Nabil Ouerzli.
* On 23 December 2015, he boat pulled a convoy of two ships totalling 70 tons including a ship name Mohamed Ali with people over 350 meters in 39 minutes Port El Kantaoui, Tunisia.
* On 26 March 2016, he boat-pulled a 23-ton ship named Albatross with observer Hatem Askri and a football team on board over 500 meters in 23 minutes in Marina Tabarka in Tunisia.
* On 28 May 2016, he boat pulled a convoy of 2 ships totalling 70 tons with people over 550 meters in 20 minutes in the Bizerta Channel in Tunisia.
* On 23 October 2016, he boat pulled a convoy of 3 ships totalling 100 tons including the 40-ton Mohamed Habib with pilot Rachid Jbalia, the 25-ton Noura with pilot Atef Neffati, and the 35-ton Bibane with pilot Nabil Jannadi over 550 meters in 32 minutes 30 seconds in the Bizerta Channel in Tunisia.
* On 22 May 2017, he boat pulled a ship named Hached - SONOTRAK totalling 1014 tons with people over 425 meters in 25 minutes in the Sfax Port in Tunisia.

Belhedi was nominated for the 2018 WOWSA Awards in the category of the World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year for his Sfax to Djerba Marathon Swim along with following nominees:

1. Catalina Channel Crossing (USA) by Hank Wise
2. Century Swim around Key West (USA) by Bill Welzien
3. Great British Swim (UK) by Ross Edgley
4. HK360Swim Around Hong Kong Island (Hong Kong) by Simon Holliday
5. Ice Kilometer (Netherlands) by Sven Elfferich
6. Double Ice Mile (Germany) by Hamza Bakircioglu
7. Kangsha River Swim (Bangladesh) by Kshitindra Chandra Baisya
8. Lake Zürich Two-Way Crossing (Switzerland) by Katrin Walter
9. Santa Barbara Channel Crossing (USA) by Jim McConica
10. Sfax to Djerba Marathon Swim (Tunisia) by Nejib Belhedi
11. Traversée Internationale du lac St-Jean (Canada) by Edoardo Stochino
12. Travessia do Leme ao Pontal (Brazil) by Glauco Luise de Oliveira Rangel
13. Triple Country Swim (Italy-Monaco-France) by Carina Bruwer
14. Tsugaru Channel Tandem Crossing (Japan) by Nora Toledano Cadena and Mariel Hawley Dávila
15. Two-way Santa Cruz Island Crossing (USA) by Ken Mignosa

To register and vote on the WOWSA Awards and the 2018 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year here.

Copyright © 2008-2018 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Indomitable: Sea Bull Completes The Oceans Seven

Courtesy of WOWSA, Cook Strait, New Zealand.

Lynton Mortensen of Brisbane, Queensland became the first Australian to complete the Oceans Seven with his 14 hour 14 minute crossing of the Cook Strait today.

The 54-year-old, nicknamed the Sea Bull, was the 12th person in history to swim across the 14.4 km Strait of Gibraltar (Spain to Morocco in 5 hours 12 minutes in 2016), the 33.8 km English Channel (England to France in 12 hours 35 minutes in 2017), the 35 km North Channel (Northern Ireland to Scotland in 13 hours 49 minutes in 2017), the 32.3 km Catalina Channel (Santa Catalina Island to the Southern California mainland in 13 hours 59 minutes in 2017), the 42 km Molokai Channel (Molokai to Oahu in 14 hours 49 minutes in 2018), the 19.5 km Tsugaru Channel (Honshu to Hokkaido in northern Japan in 9 hours 34 minutes in 2018), and the 29.5 km Cook Strait (North Island to South Island in New Zealand in 14 hours 14 minutes today).

Mortensen is raising money for the Children’s Hospital Foundation on his channel crossings in order to help hospitalized children in need and their families. Funds support lifesaving childhood cancer research and purchase of vital new lifesaving equipment for the children. For more information on Mortensen's charity swims, visit his Everyday Hero campaign here.

Oceans Seven Swimmers:
1st: Stephen Redmond (Ireland)
2nd: Anna-Carin Nordin (Sweden)
3rd: Michelle Macy (USA)
4th: Darren Miller (USA)
5th: Adam Walker (UK)
6th: Kimberley Chambers (New Zealand)
7th: Antonio Argüelles (Mexico)
8th: Ion Lazarenco Tiron (Moldavia/Ireland)
9th: Rohan Dattatrey More (India)
10th: Abhejali Bernardová (Czech Republic)
11th: Cameron Bellamy (South Africa)
12th: Lynton Mortensen (Australia)

Articles on Mortensen's previous swims:
* Everyday Hero Duels Mother Nature In Triple Crown
* Sea Bull Completes A Canary Islands Crossing
* Sea Bull Crosses The Tsugaru Channel
* Mortensen's Molokai, Déjà Vu Done
* Lynton Mortensen's Successful Summers Of Swimming

Copyright © 2008-2018 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Tita Llorens Begur Accepts WOWSA Award

Courtesy of WOWSA, Olympic Club.

Not only did Margarita 'Tita' Llorens Begur win the World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year for her valiant 37-hour attempt to swim 90 km between Ibiza and Javea in Islas Baleares, Spain.

The 49-year-old president and inspiration of the Menorca Channel Swimming Association trained with a 42 km 11 hour 54 minute swim along the Costa Brava from Roses to Port Boy and then took on her challenge.

She swam for 73 km before difficult conditions and adverse currents led her crew and her escort kayaker and husband Francisco Siscu Pons to abort her attempt.

True to her nature, the 49-year-old came back in July this year to pioneer an unprecedented 101.6 km swim between the Spanish mainland and Cala Colodar on Ibiza across the Canal de Ibiza in 36 hours 16 minutes.

Her speech - delivered in Spanish - at the WOWSA Awards gala at the Olympic Club in San Francisco, California on November 10th was as follows:

¡Buenas noches a todos!

En primer lugar, me gustaría agradecer a Steven Munatones por todo el maravilloso trabajo que realiza. En España, si no eres nadador de élite, es como si no fueras nadador; no existes. Creo que gracias a los esfuerzos que realizan personas como Steven la situación ha empezado a cambiar. Aunque todavía hay mucho trabajo que hacer, especialmente en países como España, la natación en aguas abiertas va en ascenso.

Me enorgullece recibir este premio por varios motivos. Uno de ellos es que soy mujer. Otro tiene que ver con mi desarrollo como nadadora. Aunque desde niña me había metido al mar en mis visitas a la playa, no fue sino hasta los 30 años que tomé la decisión de nadar y entrenar de manera sistemática. Para hacerlo tuve que modificar mi horario laboral. Como siempre había trabajado ocho horas diarias, compaginar ambas actividades fue tremendamente duro. Desde entonces, nadie me ha regalado nada. Estos retos implican mucho esfuerzo y recursos, pero he alcanzado mis metas. Empecé con un nado de 700 m en un triatlón por equipos y ahora puedo decir con satisfacción que he completado una travesía de más de 100 km.

Durante los últimos años he estado trabajando en el proyecto “Unimos las islas”, el cual consiste en cuatro travesías. Completar dos de ellas me tomó seis años. Para recorrer los 84 km que separan a Ibiza de Mallorca tuve que realizar tres intentos: el primer año nadé 20 horas y poco más de 74 km; el segundo año nadé nueve horas y sólo 25 km —me encontré con tantas medusas al caer la noche que parecía estar en una sopa de medusas—; y, el tercer año, finalmente conseguí acabar el reto en 28 horas y 13 minutos.

La segunda travesía consiste en unir las islas españolas con la península, 90 km en línea recta. Otra vez, fueron tres intentos: el primer año nadé 45 km en 17 horas. Durante las últimas horas del nado el viento llegó a fuerza 5 e iba en aumento. Además, se acercaba la noche y nuestra seguridad no estaba garantizada, así que decidimos que la travesía se acababa ahí. El segundo intento fue el año pasado. Nadé 37 horas y recorrí más de 70 km. Me encontré con un muro de corrientes marinas que no me dejaba avanzar; durante las últimas siete horas tan solo avancé unos 10 km. Cada vez avanzaba menos, hasta nadar 400 m en 45 minutos. Este año sí terminé. Al final fueron 101.6 kilómetros en 36 horas con 16 minutos.

No sé si alguno de ustedes haya tenido que abandonar algún reto o prueba. Cada uno gestiona sus abandonos de manera diferente, pero hacerlo siempre es duro. Es duro nadar más de 20 horas y recorrer 74 km y no llegar. Es duro nadar 37 horas y quedarte a las puertas de conseguir tu sueño.

Mientras otros compañeros cumplían sus metas y nadaban canales quizá de menores distancias, pero más importantes o reconocidos, yo sufría una derrota tras otra en canales inéditos. Sí, conseguía completar nados más asequibles, de 25, 30 o 40 km, pero no conseguía mi gran sueño. A pesar de ello, insistí porque sabía que lo podía lograr.

Además de ayudarme a creer en mí misma y rodearme de grandes amigos que ahora son como familia, esta experiencia me ha servido para demostrar que los sueños se cumplen. Ahora mi mayor satisfacción es que nadadores principiantes o gente que va a España a nadar el canal de Menorca —cuya asociación presido— me diga: “Tita, conseguí terminar porque pensé en ti, en tu fuerza y empeño”. Para mí, ser una inspiración para las personas que quieren nadar en aguas abiertas es la mayor recompensa.

La mayor lección me ha dejado todo esto es que, en el ámbito que sea, la tentación de rendirse es grande. Por tanto, lo difícil y verdaderamente importante es acabar lo que hemos empezado; caer y levantarse, volver a caer y levantarse otra vez, dejar los miedos a un lado y empezar de nuevo. No hay nada más bonito que creer en uno mismo y ver que quienes te rodean creen en ti.

Mil gracias y millones de brazadas más.

The English translation is below:

Good evening, everyone!

First off, I would like to thank Steven Munatones for all the wonderful work he does. In Spain, if you're not an elite swimmer, it's as if you were not a swimmer; you do not exist. I am convinced that thanks to all the efforts people like Steven are doing this situation has started to change. Although there is still much work to do, especially in countries like Spain, open water swimming is on the rise.

I am proud to receive this award for several reasons. One of them is that I am a woman. Another has to do with my development as a swimmer. I had, of course, swam in the ocean since I was a little girl when I went to the beach. However, it was not until I was 30 years old that I decided to start swimming and training systematically. To do this I had to change my shifts at work. I’d always had a full-time job, so combining both activities was extremely hard. Since then, it has all been quite an effort. Open water swims require hard work and resources, and yet I have been able to achieve my goals. I started with a 700m swim in a team triathlon and now I can proudly say that I have completed a crossing of more than 100 km.

Over the last few years I have been training for a project called "Uniting the Islands", which consists of four swims. Completing the first two took me six years. To finish the 84-km-swim from Ibiza to Mallorca I had to make three attempts: the first year I swam more than 74 km in 20 hours; the second year I swam only 25 km in nine hours – there were so many jellyfish at nightfall that I seemed to be in a jellyfish soup; and, the third year, I finally managed to complete the challenge in 28 hours and 13 minutes.

The second crossing consists of a journey from the Spanish islands to the peninsula, 90 km in a straight line. Again, there were three attempts: the first year I swam 45 km in 17 hours. During the last hours of the swim the strength of the wind reached level 5 and was increasing. Besides, nightfall was approaching and our security was not guaranteed, so we decided to abort. The second attempt was last year. I swam for 37 hours and covered a distance of more than 70 km. I encountered a wall of marine currents that did not let me move forward; during the last seven hours of the swim I only advanced about 10 km. As time went by I advanced less and less, to the point where I only progressed 400 m in 45 minutes. This year I finally finished. In the end I swam 101.6 kilometers in 36 hours and 16 minutes.

I do not know if any of you have had to abandon a swim. Each person deals differently with failure, but doing so is always hard. It's hard to swim for more than 20 hours and cover a distance of 74 km without getting there in the end. It is hard to swim for 37 hours and not achieving your dream.

As other swimmers reached their goals and completed famous swims of perhaps smaller distances, I suffered one defeat after another in little-known waters. Sure, I managed to complete shorter swims of 25, 30 or 40 km, but I was having trouble achieving my big dream. Despite the difficulties, I insisted because I knew I was capable of doing it.

Besides boosting my self-confidence and giving me great friends who are now like family, this experience has helped me show that dreams can be fulfilled. Now my biggest satisfaction is when beginners or people who travel to Spain to swim across the Menorca Channel—I am the president of the association—tell me: “Tita, I managed to finish because I thought of you, of your strength and commitment.” For me, inspiring people who want to become open water swimmers is the greatest reward.

The most important lesson I have learned so far is that, in any difficult challenge, the temptation to surrender is always great. Therefore, the most difficult and truly important thing is to complete whatever you begin. If you fall, you get up; if you fall again, then you get up again; you put your fears aside and start over. There is nothing more beautiful than believing in yourself and realizing those around you also believe in you.

Thank you very much and let us never stop swimming.

Tita is shown above with other WOWSA Award winners including Antonio Argüelles, Jaimie Monahan, James Harrison, and Adrian Sarchet.

Copyright © 2008-2018 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Cameron Bellamy Rounds Barbados In 40 Hours 43 Minutes

Courtesy of WOWSA, Barbados.

Cameron Bellamy has had quite a year.

First he became the first South African to complete the Oceans Seven. Then he attempted a Swim Around Barbados. He did not finish his first attempt in September when he swam for over 27 hours and 66 km, but he vowed to return.

But today, he realized his goal and became the first individual to complete a 96.4 circumnavigation swim around the tropical island in the Caribbean Sea.

Kristina Evelyn of the Barbados Open Water Festival reported, "Cam has done it. He has become the first person ever to #SwimAroundBarbados. 96 K. Nearly 41 hours in the water. Astounding. He never let up. Total focus all the way. Swimming for a purpose: The Ubunye Challenge."

His track RS of his 96.4 km 40 hour 43 minute adventure is here.

At the 27-hour mark, she reported, "Cam is still giving thumbs ups and has maintained an average stroke rate of about 55 per minute for the entire swim! has just reached the north of island. They say, 'It takes a village to raise a child,' well it takes many Barbadians and much planning to get Cam around the island. Six boats, over 30 key volunteers, medics and others have been involved! Detailed feeding plan to be followed, observers carefully maintaining logs, kayakers, boat pilots and a lot of zinc oxide to protect against the warm sunshine."

Bellamy is nominted for the 2018 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year award together with the following individuals. The WOWSA Awards are meant to honor individuals who best embody the spirit of open water swimming, possess the sense of adventure, tenacity and perseverance that open water swimmers are known for, and have most positively influenced the world of open water swimming in calendar year 2018.

1. Benoît Lecomte (France/USA)
2. Cameron Bellamy (South Africa)
3. Diego López Dominguez (Canary Islands)
4. Ferry Weertman (Netherlands)
5. Igor Lukin (Russia)
6. Ion Lazarenco Tiron (Republic of Moldava)
7. John Batchelder (USA)
8. José Luis Larrosa Chorro (Spain)
9. Kristóf Rasovszky (Hungary)
10. Lewis Pugh (Great Britain/South Africa)
11. Maarten van der Weijden (Netherlands)
12. Ned Denison (Ireland/USA)
13. Rohan More (India)
14. Vladimir Mravec (Slovakia/Australia)
15. Yaroslav Pronin (Belarus)

To vote for the World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year and the WOWSA Awards, visit here.

Bellamy also provided a short 8-minute speech via YouTube that was shown at the Open Water Summit at the Olympic Club in San Francisco, California this past weekend:

Copyright © 2008-2018 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Read About This Angel

Courtesy of Laura Aguon, Science, off the coast of Waikiki Beach.

Dr. Angel Yanagihara has been studying jellyfish for over two decades.

A recent article in Science describes her professional situation, "Among the world's public health problems, jellyfish stings may seem trivial."

But not to Dr. Yanagihara, ocean swimmers or anyone who has been stung by a jellyfish.

"While everyone seems to ask open water swimmers about sharks, it is really the jellyfish that present a more ubiquitous problem for swimmers in the ocean," observes Steven Munatones. "Most jellyfish stings do not result in a swim being aborted, but they certainly give the swimmers something pretty significant to think about and deal with for several minutes or perhaps up to a few hours."

Then, of course, there is the box jellyfish.

Up to 40 people die from box jellyfish stings annually in the Philippines alone according to the U.S. National Science Foundation. "But because death certificates are not required in many countries within the range of box jellyfish, worldwide fatalities from box jellyfish may be seriously underestimated," writes the National Science Foundation.

Chloë McCardel encountered box jellyfish in her DNF swim from Cuba to the Florida Keys in 2013 [see photo on left]. "My hips were locked, I felt like I was compressed, I felt paralyzed from the waist down, I couldn't get any forward movement. This was something I've never experienced and I hope never to experience again."

The Science article about Dr. Yanagihara and her work is wonderfully educational [read Jellyfish almost killed this scientist. Now, she wants to save others from their fatal venom].

For more information on Dr. Yanagihara, visit the Pacific Biosciences Research Center here.

Copyright © 2008-2018 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Monday, November 12, 2018

Swimming From Alcatraz For The First Time

Courtesy of Dan Wegner of Club Assistant, Alcatraz Island, San Francisco Bay.

The 2018 Open Water Summit attendees were invited to sign up for an Alcatraz Island swim. The swim was a 1.5-mile swim from Alcatraz Island to Aquatic Park finishing at the Dolphin Club where the final event of the Summit was held.

The event was limited to the first 50 swimmers to register for the 5:45 am assembly in the famed boathouse and open water swimming epicenter of California.

The night before the event I realized I had left my swimsuit, swim caps, and goggles at the Olympic Club. I could not get my swimming gear in time, but I decided to go to check-in anyway at the Dolphin Club. At worst, I could always swim in my underwear.

I was the sixth person to arrive and immediately recognized half of the people standing around from the previous days of talks. I asked a former Navy SEAL named David Loeffler from Arizona if he had a swimsuit that I could borrow and he immediately said yes.

On one hand, I think I was lucky. On the other hand, I think open water swimmers are nice people.

I still didn't have a swim cap and I saw a bucket of orange caps, but they cost $4 and I had a $1 bill and a $100 bill, and I could see they didn't have change. Then a lady came up and introduced herself as being from the area and having swum the event before. We chatted and made friends and then I mustered up the sheepish request for a swim cap. She immediately said "Yes". Ok, 2 for 2. I want to be a part of this group.

The swim did not begin until 7:30 am and I had a flight at 11 am out of the Oakland Airport. I decide to swim anyway because this was the first time in my life I had the chance to swim from Alcatraz. This has been a bucket list item of mine since first learning about the penitentiary as a teenager.

I made friends with JC from Washington D.C. who had checked in before me. He knew a lot about politics and even knew ex-Senator Dean Heller and a few of the current representatives from Nevada. I was embarrassed that I still needed a pair of goggles, so I didn't bring it up. The conversations were great and soon it was time for the course explanation.

We went upstairs to the ready room and we were informed the water was 57.4°F (14.1°C). Quite a bit colder than the 60°F I had hoped. They handed out orange caps for safety. I tried to return the borrowed cap to the lady, but she insisted I keep it in case I wanted to double-cap. What a great idea.

In the ready room, a woman from the audience announces, "During the race, stop and look around at the beauty of the location." Another good idea. I set a plan to do that. I started down the steps, but made a wrong turn and ended up separated from the group. Quinn Fitzgerald, a World Open Water Swimming Association board member and the Open Water Summit host, popped in and asked me if I needed help with directions.

How in the world did he know I was going to be lost?

We were out getting ready for the boat and more chatting occurred. I figured out how we ate up all the time. We kept talking with the most interesting people in open water swimming. On the way out, I had a chance to talk with my new friends, take pictures of the sun rising over San Francisco, and take pictures of the south side of Alcatraz.

Aaron Peirsol, a 7-time Olympic medalist, looked very casual on the way out considering his recent work in the warm waters of Costa Rica. I finally got the courage up to ask for goggles, but the two people I asked did not have any. The only thing weirder than me asking for goggles was the fact that they apologized for not having any extras. As if they somehow let me down. Obviously this was a very close group who treat each other like family.

Soon enough it was 7:29 am and we were getting the 10-second countdown to the start: when Antonio Argüelles runs off the boat into the water. I delayed a few seconds wondering just how cold the water is and then jumped in maybe 10th in the water. So the cold of the water promptly constricted the muscles in my chest to the point where I was taking tiny little breaths.

How do the ice swimmers handle this? My mind raced. Keep my head up. OK, let's go with that. 10 strokes, still tiny breaths. OK, now what? More head-up freestyle. OK, but I can't do head-up freestyle for 1.5 miles, right? Well, I don't have goggles, let's start with that. Ok, now 1 minute in and I am exhausted. I try putting my head down, still no big breaths.

Finally, I have a flash idea. Backstroke. OK, so I start swimming backstroke. This works great except for 2 issues: 91) I don't swim backstroke fast, and (2) I can't see where I am going. People are catching up to me. Well, I decided to do backstroke for a couple minutes. My chest finally relaxed and I rotated over to do freestyle. Ah-ha. Breathing normally. Great.

So I start swimming and I see one swimmer well far ahead of me. At least one swimmer was faster. I start taking my favorite strokes, long, powerful, relaxed strokes. After five minutes, I check behind me and I have put 25 yards on the next swimmer behind. Fine, keep swimming. Another five minutes. Uh-oh, I forgot. I am not in shape. Seize the opportunity and the convenient excuse to look around. I pop my head up and ... beautiful.


At the finish line I am handed the Popsicle® stick labeled "3". I overheard from one of the handlers that the first two swimmers were Dolphin Club swimmers. That makes me the first non-Dolphin Club member across the line. Of course, with all the help I received and all the friends I made, I think the real winners are everyone involved in the open water swimming community.

Quinn was the host of a great event. Antonio brought the fun mariachis, wine, and tequila. Aaron Peirsol was very approachable and down-to-earth. All the Guinness World Record holders and WOWSA Award recipients were wonderful. I look forward to attending the Open Water Summit every year in the future.

Photos above show the participants of the Alcatraz swim technical meeting in the Dolphin Club, headed by Ryan Utsumi.

Copyright © 2008-2018 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Pat Gallant-Charette Completely Surprised By Her Fame

Announcement courtesy of Ned Denison, Chairman of the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame.

Pat Gallant-Charette was completely caught off-guard at the Open Water Summit in San Francisco, California.

Listening to a myriad speeches from ice swimmers and marathon swimmers, from Olympian Aaron Peirsol to Ice Sevens Jaimie Monahan at The Olympic Club, Ned Denison, Chairman of the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame was up next. He was scheduled to present issues relevant to the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame.

As Denison was explaining the protocols and procedures of the Hall of Fame, he delighted the audience and surprised Gallant-Charette by announcing that she has been inducted as an Honor Swimmer in the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame's Class of 2019.

These photos captured those moments when she first learned of her new Hall of Fame status.

Just prior, Denison said, "Welcome all from Ireland. I am the chairperson of the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame where we honor the best in our sport including swimmers, escort pilots, coaches, administrators, writers, inventors and luminaries who make our sport what it is today.

I want to help you understand how International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame works. We receive nominations which are put to a panel of 40 or so selectors each September. I then get the pleasure of calling the new honorees to left them know as follows:

'Hello – this is Ned Denison from the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame – I am delighted to inform you that you have been selected as an Honor Swimmer and we’ll see you at the induction ceremony in Melbourne in March ...

congratulations Pat Gallant-Charette from Maine

Denison then proceeded to make another surprise announcement when he similarly informed the audience that Kimberley Chambers of New Zealand was also an Honor Swimmer in the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame's Class of 2019.

With gasps of excitement and ubiquitous smiles and signs of respect being showered upon the 67-year-old retired nurse then proceeded to stand, wipe away her tears of joy, and give an inspirational speech in front of her peers and colleagues.

Her speech, Never Too Old, is appropo.

Denison explains, "Pat has defied age to begin an incredible marathon swimming career starting in her 50's.

Pat is an inspiration. There is life - lots of life and success - for the swimmers taking up the sport after the age of 40. Setbacks are part of life and DNF's are part of marathon swimming.

Pat has experienced six defeats in completing six channels of the Oceans Seven challenge. Her toughest DNF's included attempting crossings of the North Channel when she pulled after 16+ hours – less than 1 mile from the finish and in the English Channel where she was pulled 1.7 miles from the finish.

She is followed as a role model by many aspiring marathon swimmers – both young and not so young

Nine of her swims have set records for the oldest female swimmer:

* English Channel from England to France in 2017 at 66 years 135 days in 17 hours 55 minutes
* Tsugaru Channel from Honshu to Hokkaido in 2012 at 61 years 224 days in 19 hours 36 minutes
* Molokai Channel from Molokai to Oahu in 2016 at 66 years 107 days in 23 hours 54 minutes
* North Channel from Northern Ireland to Scotland in 2016 at 65 years 204 days in 14 hours 22 minutes
* Lake Ontario (USA to Canada) in 2017 at 66 years 209 days in 24 hours 28 minutes
* Completion of the Triple Crown of Open Water Swimming in 2018 at 67 years 148 days
* 20 Bridges Manhattan Island Swim in New York (20 Bridges) in 2018 at 67 years 148 days in 10 hours 53 minutes
* Lake Tahoe at 1,897 meters (6,225 feet) in 2018 in 20 hours 32 minutes at 67 years 186 days
* Loch Ness in Scotland from north to south in 2018 in 13 hours 45 minutes at 67 years 198 days

Gallant-Charette also completed a 12-mile crossing of Lake Windermere in 7 hours 38 minutes in 2018 at 67 years, a crossing of the Strait of Gibraltar in 2010 at 59 years, and a crossing of the Catalina Channel in 14 hours 11 minutes in 2011 at 60 years. She also attempted a Cook Strait crossing in 2014 at 63 years.

The retired nurse from Westbrook, Maine explained, "Each swim had a unique set of challenges: speed in Manhattan, high altitude and cold air temperatures in Lake Tahoe, cold water in Loch Ness, and only 3 days rest after Loch Ness in Windermere."

On November 10th at The Olympic Club, Gallant-Charette will explain her mindset, her preparations, her planning, training and escort teams that she has to continue to raise the bar in the open water at the .

"It is great to see a sport where you can continue to set records in your 60's and 70's and are considered to be one of the best in your given athletic discipline. Pat is one such individual - of many," explains Steven Munatones. "But the road to greatness is never easy and the world’s waterways have always put the hard-working grandmother to the test.

What always impresses me in face of the tremendous physiological stress and marine conditions that she faces and the long hours she endures is that her smile is as brilliant at the finish as her smile is in the beginning. She is always cheerful and deeply appreciative to her crew and family. And she always faces challenges. She has occasionally failed in her crossings - but she always comes back with a success

Footnote 1: True to her profession and helpful nature, Gallant-Charette later quietly and quickly attended and revived a fellow swimmer who had collapsed and fainted during the evening session while another swimmer was giving a speech. Together with fellow nurse Amy Appelhans Gubser, the swimmer was revived without interruption of the speaker and with all due haste and medical care.

Footnote 2: Evan Morrison of the Marathon Swimmers Federation, Joel Wilson of the Monterey Bay Swimming Association, and Forrest Nelson of the Catalina Channel Swimming Federation were at her table.

Copyright © 2008-2018 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