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Tuesday, December 12, 2017

The Young and Older at Travessia da Fuga das Ilhas

Photo courtesy of Ricardo Moreno; report courtesy of Guilherme Freitas

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Nearly 4,000 people participated in the Travessia da Fuga das Ilhas, part of the 4-race Circuito Aqua series, on December 11th.

The swimmers are taken by schooners to start on the island and they swim 2 km to the finish at Praia da Barra do Sahy Beach.

Veteran Glauco Rangel won in 22:20 with 14-year-old Vitoria Alves Silva Farabulini Lopes taking a surprising first in the women's division and tieing for fifth overall.

Another young female, 12-year-old Giovanna Menezes, finished second in 25:56 while third place went to Jovana Nakagaki in 26:10.

Top 10 Results:
1. Glauco Luis de Oliveira Rangel 22:20
2. Matheus Henrique Bertazzoli de Souza 22:40
3. Daniel Costa Cunha 22:56
4. André Ramos Rocha e Silva 22:58
5. Wanderley Pinto dos Santos Junior 24:09
5. Vitoria Alves Silva Farabulini Lopes 24:09 [first female]
7. Rafael Quirino de Oliveira 24:12
8. Gabriel Cruz da Silveirac24:27
9. Renato Donha 24:41
10. Matheus Branco Elias Dib 25:30

The full results are posted here.

Copyright © 2008-2017 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Around The World In Competition And Camaraderie

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Guillermo Bértola of Argentina and Xavier Desharnais of Canada have both long traveled around the world competing in a number of races on the FINA Open Water Swimming Grand Prix and on the FINA 10K Marathon Swim World Cup circuits as well as at FINA World Championships and professional invitational races.

Between the duo, they have won 3 of the last 4 Traversée internationale du lac St-Jean races [see their interview here]. While they remain fierce competitors in the water, often swimming for hours in the same pack, they enjoy a close camaraderie outside the water - quite common among the 20-something and 30-something professional marathon swimmers.

Photos show the marathon swimmers after a professional marathon race in Québec's lac Mégantic, before the Maratona del Golfo Capri-Napoli in Italy, and at the recent Rei e Rainha do Mar in Copacabana Beach in Brazil.

Copyright © 2008-2017 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Monday, December 11, 2017

2017 Barker Rock Swim

Courtesy of Derrick Frazer, Big Bay Events, South Africa.

The Barker Rock Swim includes a 1.6 km and 3.2 km ocean swim on the Barker Rock Route in Clifton 3rd Beach on December 16th 2017 (Reconciliation Day in South Africa).

For more information about the Big Bay Event, visit here.

Copyright © 2008-2017 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Kim Swims In Hawaii

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Kimberley Chambers took a difficult 19 hours 27 minutes to swim across the Molokai Channel from Molokai Island to Oahu in 2012.

She will return - at least on movie screens - in 2018.

Kim Swims, a documentary film about Chambers directed by Kate Webber, will be shown at the 2018 Waimea Ocean Film Festival in Hawaii.

For more information on the Waimea Ocean Film Festival, visit @WaimeaFilm.

The mission of the Waimea Ocean Film Festival is to bring a greater understanding of the ocean environment and island culture while building awareness that everything we do on land affects the sea and the people whose livelihood and subsistence depends on the health of the ocean environment.

Its website that covers the films showcased at the January 1st-4th 2018 festival and the January 5th-9th 2018 festival in Waimea on the Big Island of Hawaii is here.

Copyright © 2008-2017 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Catarina Ganzeli, Matheus Evangelista Win Okimoto Trophy

Courtesy of Satiro Sodré, Guilherme Freitas, Copacabana Beach, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Over 3,000 swimmers participated in the Rei e Rainha do Mar's 10 km Super Challenge, 5 km Challenge, 2.5 km Classic and 1 km Sprint races on Copacabana Beach this weekend.

The longest race of the weekend was the 10 km Super Challenge where the winners received the new Poliana Okimoto Trophy in honor of the Olympic bronze medalist. Catarina Ganzeli [shown above] continued her winning ways after victories at the 24 km Maratona Aquática 14 Bis and Rio Negro Challenge Amazonia with a 2 hour 26 minute swim, finishing 5th overall. Gabriela Moraes in 2 hours 34 minutes 1 second was second and Beatriz Puciarelli was third in 2 hours 34 minutes 41 seconds.



Matheus Evangelista of Grêmio Náutico União won the men's 10 km in 2 hours 8 minutes with Luiz Felipe Lebeis in second in 2 hours 10 minutes and Artur Pedroza in third in 2 hours 11 minutes with 137 swimmers completely the 4-loop Super Challenge in the Atlantic Ocean with the water temperature between 16-18°C.

The 5 km Challenge saw Carlos Aguiar and Ana Luiza Mourão standing on top of the podium with a 1 hour 7 minute 6 second swim and 1 hour 13 minute 21 second swim respectively.

Carlos Rosa (1 hour 7 minutes 20 seconds) and Daniel Cunha (1 hour 10 minutes 34 seconds) as well as Raquel Goto (1 hour 20 minutes) and Lygia Pereira (1 hour 22 minutes) were also on the podium.

Matheus Avelar won the 2.5 km Classic in 31:46 followed by Daniel Silva (31:56) and Luis Rogério Arapiraca (33:16). In the women's 2.5k Classic, Rafaela Souza won in 34:19 followed by Maria Fernanda Costa (37:33) and Bianca Ewald (37:37). In the 1 km Sprint, Daniel Cunha won the men's race in 13:42 followed by Guilherme Aquino (14:06) and Armando Junior (14:08). In the women's 1 km, Priscila Klaes won in 16:18 followed by Pamela Engel (16:23) and Gabriela Alves (16:38).

The full results of the event is posted here.

The elite professional competition was televised on TV Globo here, here and here [available only in Brazil].

Copyright © 2008-2017 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Cameron Bellemy, Endurance Athlete Extraordinaire

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach.

Cameron Bellamy from Cape Town, South Africa attempted the latest crossing on record of the Tsugaru Channel in late October. He has been successful in his other channel swims and rowing, cycling and triathlon endurance events over the course of his athletic career, but his sixth Oceans Seven attempt in Japan - only temporarily - got the better of him [see Track.RS GPS on left].

However, by working with American Steve Walker at Cobaltix and working out in Aquatic Park in San Francisco, the personable South African is still on track to realize his channel swimming goals.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: What endurance events have you attempted or completed?

Cameron Bellamy: I broke two Guinness World Records when I rowed 6,720 km in 57 days from from Geraldton, Australia to Mahe, Seychelles in a crew of six in 2014. In swimming, I crossed the English Channel (16 hours 29 minutes in 2012), the Strait of Gibraltar (4 hours 1 minute in 2015), the Catalina Channel (11 hours 53 minutes in 2015), the North Channel (12 hours 22 minutes in 2016), and the Molokai Channel (17 hours 1 minute in 2017).

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: Why did you get into endurance sports?

Cameron Bellamy: From the age of 13, I started rowing and continued through high school and university. I rowed at a high level and represented South Africa at the 2003 U23 World Rowing Championships and the 2004 World University Championships. After I finished my post-graduate studies in Australia, I moved to Beijing, China for work and decided to stop rowing.

I lived in China for three years. In my final year there, I decided to quit my job, buy a bicycle and cycle out of China in a westerly direction. Four months later, I ended up in Kanyakamari, India, after cycling for 5,000 miles in four months.

The reason for finishing the cycle was that I had run out of financial resources. My previous company managed to fit me into a job in London, and that's where I went next.

After completing that cycling trip, I decided to get into endurance sports. My initial aims were to cycle the United Kingdom from south to north in seven days, swim the English Channel, and then row across an ocean. I've completed those events, and more, under the banner of a charity I created called the Ubunye Challenge.

The Ubunye Challenge is an initiative to raise funds for sustainable development in the poorest areas of Africa through sports challenges [see here].


Daily News of Open Water Swimming: When did you start marathon swimming?

Cameron Bellamy: I swam the English Channel in June 2012. Training for that swim started in November 2011. I previously had no swimming training or experience, barring a couple of triathlons, here and there.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: Was the transition to marathon swimming difficult?

Cameron Bellamy: I had never really swum before, so yes it was. As I was new to swimming, I needed a lot of technical work. I found a great coach in Ray Gibbs of Swim Canary Wharf in London. He helped me swim with a very modern long distance freestyle technique. In terms of endurance, it wasn't too difficult to transition from rowing and cycling to swimming.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: Can you describe what led to the DNF in the Tsugaru Channel this fall?

Cameron Bellamy: Considering the 2 typhoons our window was sandwiched between, the weather on our swim day wasn't too bad. I was with Steve Walker, swimming in tandem. We set out at a good pace. However, on reaching the middle of the channel, we realized we were in for a long day of swimming. The currents were moving extremely fast and our speed dropped from 2.2 mph to about 0.5 mph for a large portion of the swim.

As we neared the northern part of the channel and temperature of the water dropped dramatically, from 62 to 57 degrees in the space of a mile. The ambient temperature also dropped to below 50 degrees as the sun went down.

The combination of fatigue after trying to break through the middle of the channel and the sudden temperature drop, after 13 hours of swimming, and an estimated four hours left, we decided to end of attempt. It was a difficult decision, but personally I'm looking forward to going back to Japan to try again. This time earlier in year when the water temperature will be warmer.


Daily News of Open Water Swimming: You are a South African living in San Francisco. How did you find your way to Silicon Valley?

Cameron Bellamy: I have had the privilege of living and working in South Africa, Australia, China, the UK and now the USA. The latest change came about in 2015 when I decided to attempt the Strait of Gibraltar. I met Steve Walker in Tarifa, Spain and we ended up doing the swim together. We chatted a bit about work during the swim and on Skype numerous times over the following few months. Eventually we decided that I would come to San Francisco to help Steve set up a cyber security consulting company.

In addition to working together, Steve and I train together a great deal. We plan numerous swims together while in the office, and my relationship with Steve has immeasurably helped my swimming career.


Copyright © 2008-2017 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Brazilian Olympians Help Poliana Okimoto End Up On Top

Courtesy of Betina Lorscheitter, Copacabana Beach, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

There is no open water race in the world where the start and finish are as competitive or as important as the relay race at the Rei e Rainha do Mar (King and Queen of the Sea) in Copacabana Beach.

The annual made-for-television invitational race is broadcast to a live nationwide television audience by TV Globo in Brazil. TV Globo brings in drones, helicopters, underwater cameramen, FINA race officials, and several cameras to capture the mano-a-mano action from every angle. With dramatic announcing of the event and music blaring from speakers on the beach, the Rei e Rainha do Mar is always a spectacular race to witness.

Today, it was especially dramatic as this event was the final race by soon-to-be-retired Poliana Okimoto. The Olympic bronze medalist teamed up with Fernando Ponte, Allan do Carmo and Ana Marcela Cunha with great weather shining down on Rio de Janeiro.

While the Team Brazil (yellow) was stacked with Olympic studs, they had to fight it down on every single leg to win.

The five teams - racing for prize money - consisted of four elite swimmers who raced two legs each of a tight 400m loop course, running in and out of the surf.

The swimmers were partnered by country or continent with Brazil represented by two teams in addition to a team from Africa, the Americas and Europe. All of the swimmers had competed at the Olympics, FINA World Championships or international events like the FINA 10K Marathon Swimming World Cup or FINA Open Water Swimming Grand Prix.

The athletes - two men and two women - took turns running down the white sand beach into the Atlantic Ocean, followed by a series of fast dolphins under the crashing 2-foot surf and an all-out 400m sprint around giant 3-meter buoys in water.

On the second-to-final leg, Olympian Allan do Carmo pulled his team near the lead, but it was anyone's race to win on the final lap that boiled down to a showdown between Ana Marcela Cunha and Betina Lorscheitter. Both women have raced each other for years in Brazil and international races. Both athletes know each other's strengths and it was literally a matter of who would get that little edge in the run up the beach.

In a fitting end to a marvelously lengthy open water career that started on Copacabana Beach in 2006 at the Travessia dos Fortes, Poliana Okimoto was able to stand on top of the podium on her final race. For that, she needed her teammate Cunha to edge out Lorscheitter on the final steps of the race.

"The intensity of the athletes is always so beautiful to watch. Their passion for the sport is obvious," observed Steven Munatones. "The swimmers brought their finest talents to today's event. Whether first, second or last, they showed competitiveness in the water and sportsmanship after the race. Their mutually felt camaraderie is so genuine and pure."

3.2 km Relay Results
1. Team Brazil (yellow) 30:10
2. Team Brazil (green) 30:13
3. Team Europe 30:15
4. Team Africa 30:27
5. Team Americas 31:23

Copyright © 2008-2017 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Swimming From Sea To Ship To Shore

Courtesy of Mateo Jurić, Swim Cruise, Croatia.

For more information, visit www.SwimCruise.com or www.Instagram.com/SwimCruise.

To register, visit here or email Mateo.SwimCruise@gmail.com.

Copyright © 2008-2017 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Ana Marcela Cunha's Outstanding Comeback Of 2017

Courtesy of FINA, Sanya, China.

At the 2017 FINA World Aquatics Gala Soirée des Etoiles, Ana Marcela Cunha of Brazil was announced as the 2017 FINA Best Female Open Water Swimmer of the Year for the fourth time in the eight years of the award.

Her coach Fernando Possenti was selected as the FINA Open Water Coach of the Year.

Her comeback from spleen surgery and disappointment from 2016 Rio Olympics was dramatic and typical of her inherent toughness and competitiveness.

Over the course of 2017, she won her third 25 km world championship title and two bronze medals in the 5 km and 10 km races at the FINA World Championships in Lake Balaton, Hungary. On the FINA 10K Marathon Swimming World Cup circuit, she won legs in the Traversée internationale du lac Mégantic and in China's Chun'an as well as two silver medals in Traversée international du lac St-Jean and at the World Cup race in Hong Kong.

FINA posted an article about her lifestyle and training regimen here.

In addition to her recognition by FINA, the personable Brazilian was nominated for the 2017 World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year. Her fellow nominees include the following individuals:

1. Katherine Batts (Great Britain)
2. Dr. Caroline Block (USA)
3. Arianna Bridi (Italy)
4. Chloë McCardel (Australia)
5. Ana Marcela Cunha (Brazil)
6. Pat Gallant-Charette (USA)
7. Ludmila Maller (Russia)
8. Jaimie Monahan (USA)
9. Aurélie Muller (France)
10. Barbara Pozzobón (Italy)
11. Sarah Thomas (USA)
12. Julia Wittig(Germany)

Her nomination reads, "Ana Marcela Cunha is flat-out fast and non-stop: traveling, competing and medaling around the world. She finished 12th in the FINA World Cup race in the UAE, 5th in the FINA World Cup race in Argentina, fifth in the FINA World Cup race in Portugal, second in the FINA World Cup race in Canada, first in the FINA World Cup race in lac Mégantic, Canada, first in FINA World Cup race in China, first in the Campeonato Brasileiro de Aguas Abertas Brasilia, first in the 36 km Maratona del Golfo Capri-Napoli in Italy. Additionally, she earned three podium positions at the 2017 FINA World Championships in Hungary and finished sixth in the team race to bring her career total to 9 world championship medals.

For winning gold in the 25 km race and bronze in the 5 km and 10 km races in the world championships, for coming back from having her spleen removed in an early-season surgery to finish second overall in the 2017 FINA/HOSA 10K Marathon Swimming World Cup circuit, for her constant smile and affable spirit despite long flights, tough conditions and blistering fast races, Ana Marcela Cunha is a worthy nominee for the 2017 World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year.


To register and vote on the WOWSA Awards and the 2017 World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year here.

Copyright © 2008-2017 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Marc-Antoine Olivier, 2017 FINA Male Open Water Swimmer

Courtesy of FINA, Sanya, China.

At the 2017 FINA World Aquatics Gala Soirée des Etoiles, Marc-Antoine Olivier of France was announced as the 2017 FINA Best Male Open Water Swimmer of the Year. His coach Philippe Lucas was selected as the FINA Open Water Coach of the Year.

An interview with FINA is here.

His success has ricocheted across his France. “These are unforgettable memories for me, but it’s even more important for our sport. It’s hard to attract people and get them to talk about it if we don’t deliver results like this. It’s already growing considerably now.”

His performance at this year's FINA World Championships was also recognized and nominated for the 2017 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year.

The nominees for the World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year are as follows:

1. Barbados Open Water Swimming Festival with Kristina Evelyn & Zary Evelyn (Barbados)
2. Khitindra Chandra Baishya (Bangladesh)
3. Sven Eckardt (Germany)
4. India National Open Long Distance Swimming Championship Escort Rowers (India)
5. Margarita Llorens Bagur (Spain)
6. Igor Lukin (Russia)
7. Madswimmer by Jean Craven (South Africa)
8. Marc-Antoine Olivier (France)
9. Stephen Rouch (USA)
10. Jason Snell (UK)
11. Christof Wandratsch (Germany)
12. Wild Swimming Brothers (Great Britain)

His nomination reads, "Marc-Antoine Olivier had the best overall performance among the male open water swimmers at the 2017 FINA World Swimming Championships. The 21-year-old Frenchman kicked off his campaign in Lake Balaton in Hungary with a gold medal performance in the 5 km race, then backed it up with a bronze medal in the 10 km race, finishing only 0.7 seconds behind Olympic gold medalist Ferry Weertman. Then he culminated his week with a blazing fast anchor leg on France’s gold medal winning 5 km team race. His 12:08.7 leg over the 1.25 km course was the fastest split of the relay that France needed to hold off the Americans and Italians.

For rising to the occasion among the world’s fastest open water swimmers, for being consistently competitive and medaling in all three of his races with 2 gold and 1 bronze, for continuing podium performances after winning a bronze medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics, Marc-Antoine Olivier’s races at the 2017 FINA Championships is a worthy nominee for the 2017 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year
."

To register and vote on the WOWSA Awards and the 2017 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year here.

Copyright © 2008-2017 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Guillermo Bértola, Xavier Desharnais Talk About Traversée

Courtesy of WOWSA, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Guillermo Bértola from Argentina won the 63rd Traversée internationale du lac St-Jean in Quebec, Canada in a course record of 6 hours 19 minutes in 2017 less than 4 seconds over Canadian Philippe Guertin. It was the first time the race was conducted in wetsuits due to the new FINA Open Water Swimming Grand Prix rules and the first time Bértola won the overall season title of the FINA Open Water Swimming Grand Prix professional marathon swimming circuit, tied with Evgenij Pop Acev from Macedonia.

Xavier Desharnais from Canada won the 2014 Traversée Internationale du Lac St-Jean, tied with Macedonian Tomi Stefanovski in a dramatic finish in 7 hours 9 minutes. Desharnais defended his title in 2015 when he won outright over Canadian teammate Guertin at the 61st annual Traversée in 7 hours 20 minutes.

The two professional marathon swimmers talked about their respective victories in the Traversée from Rio de Janeiro where they will be teammates in the Americas team at the Rei e Rainha do Mar on Copacabana Beach tomorrow in front of a nationwide live television audience in Brazil on TV Globo.

Follow Bértola on Instagram at @guillermobertola and Desharnais on Facebook here.

Copyright © 2008-2017 by World Open Water Swimming Association

How Does An Olympic Champion Train?

Courtesy of Sharon van Rouwendaal under French coach Philippe Lucas*.

How does an Olympic 10 km marathon swimming champion train?

Through killer workouts at a killer pace at killer intervals with a killer mindset.

And occasionally a set of 20 x 200m butterfly.

"The first and last 200 in 2:28 and 18 others at 2:32 at 3:00...physically the hardest set I've ever done with Philippe Lucas," described Sharon van Rouwendaal, the 2016 Olympic 10K Marathon Swim gold medalist from the Netherlands.

Follow her on Twitter at @SvRouwendaal and on her website.

* He was selected as FINA's Open Water Swimming Coach of the Year for 2017.

Copyright © 2008-2017 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Sights And Sounds Of The Rei e Rainha do Mar

Courtesy of WOWSA, Copacabana Beach, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

With over 3,500 athletes participating in the sixth annual Rei e Rainha do Mar event (King and Queen of the Sea) on Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro, there were plenty of interesting sights and sounds.

From the over 200 people who braved the 16-18°C water in Copacabana Beach in the 10 km Super Challenge to the 850 swimmers who entered the 2.5 km Classic race, the event proved once again why it is one of the World's Top 100 Open Water Swims.



Giant turn buoys dotted the 1 km Sprint, 2.5 km Classic, 5 km Challenge and 10 km Super Challenge courses.



Guillermo Bértola at the finish line of the Rei e Rainha do Mar where 6 wireless receivers positioned around the finish line record the official times of the finishers.



Disabled athletes receiving their awards.



Women and girls go to the left towards the Rainha (Queen) sign; men and boys head to the right towards the Rei (King) sign near the start of the races.



Mascots dance to the music throughout the day.

Top 3 Female 5 km Challenge Results:
1. Ana Luiza das Neves Mourao 1:13:21
2. Raquel Lury Goto 1:20:00
3. Lygia Dinis C R Pereira 1:22:00

Top 3 Male 5 km Challenge Results:
1. Carlos Eduardo de Aguiar 1:07:06
2. Carlos Henrique de Oliveira Rosa 1:07:20
3. Daniel Costa Cunha 1:10:34

Top 3 Female 1 km Sprint Results:
1. Priscilla Lira Klaes 26:18
2. Pamela Barbosa Engel 26:23
3. Gabriela da Silva Alves 26:38

Top 3 Male 1 km Sprint Results:
1. Daniel Costa Cunha 13:42
2. Guilherme Augusto C de Araujo Aquino 14:06
3. Armando Lopes Junior 14:08

For more information, visit here.

Copyright © 2008-2017 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Celebrating The Career Of Poliana Okimoto

Courtesy of WOWSA, Copacabana Beach, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Poliana Okimoto gave a speech of gratitude and appreciation at the 2017 Rei e Rainha do Mar event (King and Queen of the Sea) on Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Pedro Rego Monteiro and Luiz Lima, organizers of the annual event, honored the Brazilian bronze medalist in the 2016 Olympic 10K Marathon Swim at the site on Copacabana Beach where she realized her Olympic dreams.

The event organizers initiated the Poliana Okimoto Trophy, a new annual award given to the male and females winners of the 10 km Super Challenge ocean swim at the Rei e Rainha do Mar event.

Top 3 Female Finishers:
1. Catarina Cucatti Ganzeli 2:26:52
2. Gabriela Ferreira Brant Moraes 2:34:01
3. Beatriz Soares Puciarelli 2:34:41

Top 3 Male Finishers:
1. Matheus Emerim Evangelista 2:08:04
2. Luiz Felipe Freire Lebeis Pires 2:10:32
3. Artur Pedroza 2:11:00

Many of the 3,500+ athletes who participated in the Rei e Rainha do Mar signed a big poster celebrating the career of Okimoto who will be retiring at tomorrow's final race. At the event, Okimoto was honored along with her mother and father [see below]. Her new biography, written by Daniel Takata Gomes and Hélio de la Peña, was just released and describes her successes, challenges and obstacles throughout her life and career [for more information, visit here].





For more information about the Rei e Rainha do Mar, visit here.

Copyright © 2008-2017 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Christiane Fanzeres On The 2016 Olympic Marathon Swim

Courtesy of WOWSA, Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Christiane Fanzeres, an information technologist and data analyst, served as the administrator responsible for open water swimming with the Brazilian Swimming Federation before she was named as the Marathon Swimming Technical Operations Manager at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

The 52-year-old former professional marathon swimmer who also successfully completed the English Channel in 2001 in 10 hours 14 minutes, was a member of the FINA Technical Open Water Swimming Committee. She recalls her experiences before and during the 2016 Olympics 10 km marathon swim.

Copyright © 2008-2017 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Guillermo Bértola Wins Beach Biathlon + Ocean Swim In Rio

Courtesy of WOWSA, Copacabana Beach, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Guillermo Bértola of Argentina won his 5th consecutive Beach Biathlon (1 km ocean swim + 2.5 km beach run) before winning the 2.5 km Classic ocean swim in Rio de Janeiro at the Rei e Rainha do Mar (King and Queen of the Sea) today on Copacabana Beach.

Top 3 Male Beach Biathlon Finishers*:
1. Antonio Ferraz Bravo Neto 25:30
2. Hugo Amaral Horta Barbosa 26:00
3. Marcello Netto 27:00

Top 3 Female Beach Biathlon Finishers:
1. Claudia Dumont 29:01
2. Juliana Trindade 31:06
3. Sandra Soldan 31:17

Top 3 Male 2.5 km Classic Finishers*:
1. Matheus da Silva Enrich Avellar 31.46
2. Daniel Soares da Silva 31:56
3. Luis Rogerio Lima Arapiraca 33:16

Top 3 Female 2.5 km Classic Finishers:
1. Rafaela Monilly Cardoso Pereira de Souza 34:19
2. Maria Fernanda de Oliveira da Silva Cost 37:33
3. Bianca Arapecida Ewald 37:37

For more information on the Rei e Rainha do Mar, visit here.

It has been quite a year for Bértola who was nominated for the 2017 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year along with the following men:

1. Evgenij Pop Acev (Macedonia)
2. Antonio Argüelles (Mexico)
3. John Batchelder (USA)
4. Guillermo Bértola (Argentina)
5. Avram Iancu (Romania)
6. Stéphane Lecat (France)
7. Dr. Lucky Meisenheimer (USA)
8. Lynton Mortensen (Australia)
9. Simone Ruffini (Italy)
10. Petar Stoychev (Bulgaria)
11. Sayed Ihsan Taheri (Afghanistan)
12. Ferry Weertman (Netherlands)
13. Philip Yorke (Great Britain)

The 27-year-old Argentine was nominated as follows, "Guillermo Bértola looks like an athlete with a hardened body and steely gaze. While he has been competing on the professional marathon swimming circuits for years, he has never risen to the top…until this year. The 27-year-old puts his mind in the right spot and aggressively attacks his training and professional marathon races around the world. This year, he won the overall title for the first time in his career, tying with Evgenij Pop Acev in the closest battle in FINA history. He won the 32 km Traversée international du lac St-Jean in Canada and finished 3rd in the 16 km Maratona del Golfo Capri-Napoli in Italy and the 33 km Ohrid Lake Swimming Marathon in Macedonia. He also competed in the FINA 10K World Cup circuit from Argentina to the UAE and competed in the 5 km team, 10 km and 25 km races at the 2017 FINA World Championships. For representing his country extraordinarily well as a personable, seriously-minded ambassador on the international swimming scene, for training hard and serving as an inspiration among young Argentine swimmers, and for winning his first career title on the FINA Open Water Swimming Grand Prix circuit, Guillermo Bértola is a worthy nominee for the 2017 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year.

To register and vote on the WOWSA Awards and the 2017 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year, visit here.

* results do not include invited professional athlete Bértola.

Copyright © 2008-2017 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Anna Olasz Remembers Rio de Janeiro

Courtesy of WOWSA, Copacabana Beach, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Anna Olasz, who finished 14th at the 10 km marathon swim at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games on Copacabana Beach.

The Hungarian swimmer who recently graduated from Arizona State University remembers her experiences in Rio de Janeiro at the recent Rei e Rainha do Mar (King and Queen of the Sea) at the same site of the Olympics.

Copyright © 2008-2017 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Michelle Macy Sets Two Records In Patagonia

Courtesy of Cristian Vergara, Patagonia, Chile.

Thought I'd write you a note to let you know of what is going on in Patagonia with regards to swimming.

On November 29th, American Michelle Macy broke Lynne Cox's record for the fastest female crossing of the Straits of Magellan in 58 minutes 13 seconds.

Macy broke the female record which stood for 41 years.

Hall of Famer Cox was the first person to have swam the Straits of Magellan in 1 hour 2 minutes in 1976, a record that stood for 25 years until another Hall of Famer, Gustavo Oriozabala from Argentina, swam across in 51 minutes 11 seconds in 2001.

A week later on December 7th, Macy also swam the Beagle Channel between Glacier Italia on Tierra del Fuego and Gordon Island in Chile, a 2 km crossing in 7.3°C (45°F) water in 33 minutes 51 seconds that established a new swim route that is offered by Patagonia Swim.

For more information on swims in Patagonia, visit here.

Copyright © 2008-2017 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Friday, December 8, 2017

As Cold As You Can Go In Hong Kong

Courtesy of Shu Pu, Deep Water Bay Beach, Hong Kong.































Race registration is open for the 6th Annual Cold Half 15 km winter marathon swim race and the 1.5 km Cold Plunge to be held on February 4th 2018.

The Cold Half is a solo race or 2-person relay while the Cold Plunge is held concurrently at Deep Water Bay Beach where both races will finish. "Hot outdoor showers, a warm-up post-race BBQ, and an award ceremony will be held afterwards at Victoria Recreation Club. The event proudly supports Ocean Recovery Alliance, a Hong Kong based ocean conservation and education charity.

Race registration for Cold Halfers and Cold Plungers is here. For more information, visit Facebook.

Copyright © 2008-2017 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Pushing It To Save A Life

Courtesy of American Heart Association, Orange County, California.

"Landing in John Wayne Airport in Orange County, California, I came across a great Hands-Only CPR training kiosk by the American Heart Association," said heart attack survivor Steven Munatones.

The creatively designed, easy-to-understand, interactive machines can easily teach travelers of all ages and from all walks of life how to conduct CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) within five minutes.

The American Heart Association, a voluntary health organization devoted to fighting cardiovascular disease, installed three Hands-Only CPR training kiosks at John Wayne Airport with the support from the Argyros Family Foundation, McCarthy Building Companies, the Anthem Blue Cross Foundation, and the CareMore Foundation.

Travelers waiting at the baggage claim at John Wayne Airport and 10 other airports around the United States can use their time wisely - learning how to grasp the simplicity and potential of an extremely valuable skill. The kiosk makes it so easy to quickly - and enjoyably - learn CPR. An animation explains where to place your hands on the chest of the dummy and how fast and how quickly deeply to push. If you push too slowly or too shallowly, the kiosk tells you. If you push too quickly or too deeply, the kiosk provides you with feedback.

After only a few tries, the skill is committed to muscle memory.

A skill that is literally lifesaving.

More than 350,000 cardiac arrests occur outside hospitals from homes to golf courses. About 70,000 people have heart attacks in public places such as airports and city streets. Knowing CPR - and enabling blood flow to the brain and vital organs of victim's body in the minutes right after a heart attack and before first responders arrive can triple a victim's chance of survival.

My son did the same for me. I just collapsed at home without warning. He came to my rescue at a time when my heart stopped and I was not breathing. He did what he had to do. He was and is my hero.

Other people can - and do - become heroes and heroines at the most unexpected times.

At McCarthy, we pride ourselves in building stronger communities and that includes helping to ensure the health and safety of those who live and work in the communities where we operate,” said kiosk sponsor Mike Bolen of McCarthy Building Companies. “This CPR kiosk will create thousands of potential lifesavers and we’re thrilled to play a part in making that happen.”

The Argyros Family Foundation is proud to help bring these life-saving CRP kiosks to Orange County,” said Julia Argyros of the Argyros Family Foundation. “CPR is proven to save lives.

Hands-Only CPR has two steps: when you see a teen or adult suddenly collapse, call 911. Then, push hard and fast in the center of the chest at a rate of 100 to 120 beats per minute until help arrives.

Hands-Only CPR helps saves lives. Bystander CPR, especially if administered immediately, can double or triple a cardiac victim’s chance of survival, which is why the Hands-Only CPR education available at the kiosk is so valuable,” said Brian Ternan of Anthem Blue Cross. “Now, in just a matter of a few minutes, John Wayne airport travelers will learn a skill that can potentially make a lifesaving difference in the lives of Orange County residents and beyond.”

The kiosk has a touch screen with a short video that provides an overview of Hands-Only CPR, followed by a practice session and a 30-second test. With the help of a practice manikin in the form of a rubber human torso, the kiosk gives feedback about the depth and rate of compressions, as well as proper hand placement – factors that influence the effectiveness of CPR.

In only about five minutes, travelers who may have some downtime at the airport can learn how to perform CPR,” said Orange County Supervisor Michelle Steel.

Since the program started, more than 61,000 visitors have used the kiosks. “Our nation’s airports have proven to be a great way to extend our educational campaign to train people on the lifesaving skill of Hands-Only CPR and, help meet the Association’s goal to double bystander response by 2020,” said Kathy Rogers of the American Heart Association. “By expanding the availability of the training kiosks, we’re hopeful that more people will feel confident to administer Hands-Only CPR on a stranger or someone they love.”

Researchers evaluated data from the American Heart Association’s pilot kiosk at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport during a 32-month period. The study showed nearly 23,500 visitors used the kiosk from 2013 to 2016. “Only 46% of people who suffer an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest receive bystander CPR before professional help arrives,” described Rogers. “The airport kiosks have proven to be an invaluable approach to introduce CPR to people, making it more likely they’ll respond if they encounter a cardiac arrest victim outside the hospital.”

Whether that is on a beach, at a pool, at an open water swimming event or any other dryland location.

Copyright © 2008-2017 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Roger That, Parsons In The Open Water

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Roger Parsons was born in Leeds, Yorkshire, England in 1944. Soon thereafter in 1947, he learned how to swim.

70 years later, he is still involved in the water and continues to serve on the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame selection committee.

Initially coached by his father Fredrick James Parsons, he started to train with his sister Dorothy in 1951.

A year later, he became a junior member of Leeds Gents Swimming Club. He specialized in breaststroke as the Leeds and District Schools champion between 1954 and 1956. By 1957, he was selected to become youngest member of the Leeds Olympic Training Scheme.

He set breaststroke records and continued to win races through 1971 with the Sea Cadets, Royal Navy, Middle East Land Forces, The Combined Services and won the Award of Merit from the Royal Lifesaving Society.

But in 1972, his aquatic career transitioned from the pool to the open water when he swam in his first open water competition: Portsmouth Clarence Pier to Southsea Pier. A year later in 1973, he joined the British Long Distance Swimming Association and competed in the majority of the BLDSA and affiliated club events for the next decade. He was undefeated in all the breaststroke events during that decade.

In 1974, Parsons was appointed as a Tutor for the Royal Life Saving Society and the Swimming Teachers Association. He had a dual role as a competitor and coach of the British Long Distance Swimming Team at the Hapoel Games held in Israel.

He developed the idea that a BLDSA Captain Webb Centennial Relay Championships across the English Channel, from France to England, should be held in 1975 in order to celebrate the centenary of Captain Webb’s first crossing across the English Channel in 1875 where 12 teams competed.

For the next three years leading up to 1977, Parsons served as a Swimming Coach and Administrator for the Royal Navy Amateur Swimming Association. Between 1975 and 1982, he competed in Belgium, Zeebrugge/Blankenberg, and the Damme-Brugge International.

1976 was a pivotal year for him when he married fellow British swimmer, organizer and administrator Val Taylor. Over the next decade, he continued to expand his role in the sport:

* he became a Life Member of the Solent Swimming Club
* he was elected as Assistant International Secretary and a member of the Executive Committee of the British Long Distance Swimming Association
* he was elected as a Life Member of the Royal Navy Amateur Swimming Association in 1977
* he became National Development Officer of the Swimming Teachers Association of Great Britain between 1977 and 1979
* he became the BLDSA representative at the Central Council of Physical Recreation Water Sports Committee between 1981 and 1987
* he created The Champion of Champions in 1982. The three events (1 mile + 3 miles + 5 miles) on the same day was designed to define which swimmer was better: the fastest swimmers or the ones with the best endurance. Together with his wife Val Parsons, they managed the event between 1982 and 1988 until they moved to Spain.
* he and Val started a 2-mile event in Sandwell as part of the Sandwell Sports Festival
* he and Val were jointly honored with the BLDSA James Brennan Award for their Outstanding Service to the Sport
* he organized the swimming leg (England to France) of the 1984 and 1985 London to Paris Triathlon competition in 1984 as well as sponsored and coached a 4-person BLDSA from Marble Arch London to Dover on the first day, swimming across the English Channel from England to France on the second day, and cycling from Cap Gris Nez to Rouen and onto Paris on the third day
* he became Vice Chairman of the C.C.P.R. Water Sports Committee and member of the C.C.P.R. Executive Committee in 1986
* he chaired the meeting between British Triathlon Association, the Amateur Swimming Association, Amateur Athletics Association and British Cycling Association that recognized triathlon as a separate sport
* he organized the swimming section of the 1st London, the 1st Welsh and the 1st Scottish Short Course Triathlons
* he became the senior swimming coach to the British Triathlon Association in 1986
* he became a Life Member of the British Long Distance Swimming Association
* he organized the swimming section of the 1987 European Short Course Triathlon at Milton Keynes, England
* he served as Temporary Secretary of the British Triathlon Association during 1987
* he was representative of the British Triathlon Association at the conference to form the European Triathlon Union in Amsterdam, Netherlands in 1987
* He received a special Long Service Recognition Award by the British Long Distance Swimming Association in 1989

His scope of work increased when he served as the Secretary of the FINA Long Distance Swimming Commission between 1986 and 1991. He also drafted the LEN Rules for Long Distance Swimming in 1987 as the request of Norman Sarsfield, LEN Secretary. Part of his tour of duty included attending the 25 km swimming championships at Stari Grad on the Island of Hvar in Yugoslavia in 1988. He later served as the Meet Director and Chief Referee at the 1st LEN Long Distance Swimming Championships at StariGrad, Hvar, Yugoslavia in 1989.

In 1990, Parson attended meetings of the FINA Long Distance Swimming Commission in Perth, Australia and officiated at a trial 25 km race. The race was a test of the proposed 1991 FINA World Championship 25 km course in the Swan River.

His wife recalls those visionary times. “At meetings in Naples, Italy, Roger put forward for consideration a proposal that if the International Long Distance Swimming Federation and the World Professional Marathon Swimming Federation were to amalgamate, then it may be possible to get FINA and the respective national governing bodies to agree to use their existing events as a World Series into which new national federation events could over time incorporate their own marathon events.

At meetings in Canada in August, it was agreed that a World Series was practical and could be put together using existing International Long Distance Swimming Federation events. Roger made a full report to the FINA with recommendation that a pilot World Series take place starting in the summer of 1991. Roger was the leading force in all of this, and was instrumental in bringing together all of the marathon swimming events, the promoters, and the national federations to get cooperation between each other, get a united agreement and a working plan for the World Series.

It was at this point that we decided that a successful Open Water World Series could open the door for the rapid inclusion of Long Distance Swimming into the Olympic program either under the FINA general program or as a stand-alone sport. After consultations with Dale Petranech, Dale agreed that this could also be a good way to accelerate open water swimming as a national activity too.

We saw a momentous possibility for the future good and development of the sport. In our desire to see this come to fruition, we financed all our travel costs to visit and share the vision and enthusiasm, attend meetings, assist and encourage each and every promoter and event, and to do whatever we could do, wherever it was, in the world
.”

The timing and opportunity was right. “It was driven by a deep passion by people with a wealth of knowledge who did not care who got credit,” observed Steven Munatones. “Their efforts truly were for the swimmers, by the swimmers.”

Parsons attended meetings of the FINA Long Distance Swimming Commission in Perth, Australia during the 1991 FINA World Championships and served as an official at the 1st FINA World Championships. “At a seminar on Long Distance Swimming which took place in Perth, we offered to assist any national association to stage, organize or administrate for long distance swimming in their respective countries, without payment for their services,” recalled Val.

Trevor Tiffany, the Vice President Swim Canada, asked the Parsons to come to Canada and set up Long Distance Swimming in the Provinces as part of the Swim Canada program and also, on behalf of Swim Canada, to organize the Pan Pacific Swimming Championships 25 km open water race that was held in Edmonton, Alberta in August 1991. “Roger accepted the invitation to take on the post of Organizer for Swim Canada's Open Water Swimming program. He organized the 25 km for the Pan Pacific Swimming Championships which were held at Sylvan Lake, Alberta. We volunteered at Swim Canada for a minimum of one year.”

The pair continued traveling to attend the other marathon events that were interested in discussing the possibilities of being part of a World Series competition. From Australia, they travelled to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and attended meetings with the Brazilian Swimming Federation, then to Salvador, Argentina, and many more meetings.

Initially they moved to Ottawa in the Swim Canada national offices, but a month later, the committee of La Traversee International du Lac Memphremagog offered free office space from where Roger could do his work for Swim Canada and help form the International Marathon Swimming Federation that incorporated the International Long Distance Swimming Federation and the World Professional Marathon Swimming Federation.

Between 1991 and 1993, Parsons served as the General Secretary of the International Marathon Swimming Federation and attended every IMSF World Series event and set up, calculated and compiled World Rankings at the end of each event.

They were described as “two special people of absolute integrity who are devoted to the cause, who are incredibly hard working, and who can always be relied upon. They are totally independent, passionate in their endeavours to always fight for, and to do whatever they can that is only ever in the best interests of the swimmers, the promoters and the sport as a whole and who have no axes to grind either personally or politically.”

In Santa Fe, Argentina, the 1st General Meeting of the International Marathon Swimming Federation was held on 31st January 31st 1992. They travelled from their home base in Spain to run the IMSF and the World Series as well as the 4th FINA 25 km World Cup that was held in lac St-Jean, Canada.

Roger and Val were presented with a Special Recognition award by Swimming Natation Canada in recognition of their contribution to the development of the Open Water Swimming program in Canada and their efforts to organize the open water races at Pan Pacific Swimming Championships on behalf of Swim Canada.

Between 1993 and 1996, Parsons served as the General Secretary of the International Marathon Swimming Association and as Meet Director for every race on the FINA Marathon Swimming World Series. FINA becomes involved for the next World Series which was staged as the FINA Marathon Swimming World Series.

With IMSA President Pierre Otis, the Parsons created the official handbook for the International Marathon Swimming Association.

The message in the IMSA Marathon Swimming Handbook by President Pierre Otis stated, “I take the opportunity to thank the General Secretary, Mr. Roger Parsons and Valerie Parsons who have invested a lot of energy to realise this guide. Their contribution has been precious during these years of change. Their professional and personal investment in the IMSA stays indissociable with the growth of the Association and its credibility in the world.”

Val remembers those times in 1996. “With FINA fully involved in its World Open Water Swimming Championships and the World Series, the FINA Bureau agreed to apply to the IOC to include open water swimming as part of FINA's Olympic Swimming Program. To our delight, this application was duly accepted in 2005.”

After over 20 years in the sport, dedicated to the race promoters and swimmers, they retired from their administrative work with the International Marathon Swimming Association because they felt that their initial objectives had been achieved.

Roger was honoured by the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame with a Coach and Honour Contributor Certificate of Merit in 1997, with the recognition “for their hard work, their enthusiasm, their devotion and integrity throughout the last twenty years, and for their tremendous contribution to the world development and the history of Open Water Swimming and for always being such wonderful ambassadors for the sport.”

In 2004, both Roger and Val Parsons were jointly honored by the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame with the Irving Davids-Captain Roger Wheeler Memorial Award. Roger was invited to become a member of the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame selection committee in 2006.

Copyright © 2008-2017 by World Open Water Swimming Association

The Legacy Of The Parsons

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach.

In 2017, Valerie Parsons was invited to join the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame selection panel.

It has been several years since Parsons has been in the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame limelight - or even the swimming community as she once was. Previously in 2004, she and her husband Roger Parsons were jointly honored by the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame with the Irving Davids-Captain Roger Wheeler Memorial Award.

In 1989, the Parsons were inducted as Honour Administrators in the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Valerie's journey to the open water swimming world began at the age of 11.

Between 1966 and 1971, she specialized in sprint to middle-distance freestyle in Staffordshire County and the Midland District where she set many records. In 1967, she represented her native Great Britain in a dual meet against the USA at Crystal Palace London in the 440-yard freestyle.

By 1971, she was making an impact on the British Long Distance Swimming Association scene. She swam three long distance championships, winning them all while setting records including at the ASA 5 mile at Trentham where only the overall men's winner beat her by 90 seconds. During this time, she was still fast enough in the pool to finish seventh in both the 200m and 400m freestyles at the British National Championships.

In 1972, she really started to come into her own, winning 14 long distance championships in the UK where she set eight records. In six of the races, she finished first overall, beating all the men.

By 1973, she started her role in administration when she was elected to the National Executive committee of the British Long Distance Swimming Association while winning 11 of 13 long distance championships in the UK, including winning two overall, finishing second in two, and setting five more records.

This year, she competed in her first international race, the 3 km Sluis Holland (5th of 64), 4.5 km Damme-Brugge (2nd of 39) for which she was selected and put on a shortlist for the Walsall Sports Personality of 1973. After the public vote, she was runner up to a famous football personality.

In 1974, she was elected as British Long Distance Swimming Association International Secretary. "I found it frustrating that there seemed to be no international coordination of what long distance swimming races were being organized around the world, and even more annoying – that were was this uncrossable divide between amateur swimmers and their events, and the professional swimmers and their events.

My dream and passionate hope was to see that divide banished and all swimmers be able to compete openly and equally against one another - and that eventually we would see open water swimming in the Olympic Program.

So I started to compile a comprehensive list of all open water swimming events around the world and share this information back to everyone. I also took the FINA handbook and wrote to all of the Member Federations with a questionnaire asking if they were running events, would they send full information, and if entries would be welcome from swimmers from other nations.
"

She also asked all event organizers and governing bodies if they would be interested to attend a meeting or forum if one were organized. "I wanted to try and get national governing bodies of swimming to acknowledge open water swimming within their national programs and break down the existing barriers," she explained.

"In many countries, it was forbidden for amateur swimmers to compete in professional events that offered prize money or that were not organized or sanctioned by the national governing body. They could lose their amateur status and be banned.

I paid the membership fee for my father to become a member of the World Professional Marathon Swimming Federation so I could receive by mail the information on the professional events and their organizers, so I would not endanger my amateur status
."

That year, she won 12 of 13 long distance championships in the UK, setting 3 more records. She set a new All Comers Record for the individual course Double Solent (UK) Portsmouth to the Isle of Wight and back in 3 hours 21 minutes 4 seconds. Her international swims that year included victories in the 15 km Sea of Galilee Hapoel Games in Israel and 3 km Eilat Bay Hapoel Games in Israel, second in the 25 km Windermere International, and third in the 15 km River Ebro International in Spain. Her second place finish at the British Long Distance Swimming Association Windermere International was the first time a British male or female had earned a podium position at those championships.

She was presented with a Special Award from the Staffordshire County ASA in recognition of her outstanding record-setting swims. The Midland District ASA described Valeria as the 'Bobby Charlton of swimming...the type of person who can set an example as a great sporting competitor.'

She was honored as the 1974 British Long Distance Swimming Association Swimmer of the Year in a career where she won 38 of the 43 races she entered, finishing second in three and was forced to retire from the other two. "My pride and joy of these years was that I managed to beat all of the men in 17 of the races."

While she retired from competitive swimming due to business commitments, but she vigorously continued her administrative work and her worldwide quest in coordinating and compiling a worldwide list of open water swimming events. She passed along this invaluable information to everyone who was interested.

During the 1976 season, Valerie started the British Long Distance Swimming Association International Trials that has served as the British national team qualification race. Over the next five years, she served as the Organising Secretary until 1981 after which the results of the Champion of Champions event was used as the new criteria for any selection of swimmers for international representation.

She continued to give back to the sport in innumerable ways including serving as secretary of the Great Britain Selection Committee, a post to which she was reelected each year until 1989.

In 1989, she and husband Roger Parson emigrated to Spain. Her legacy in Great Britain was set:

* she was unbeaten in all the masters age group events that she had ever competed in the UK
* she was also the only British swimmer to win the tidal (11-12 mile) Morecambe Cross Bay Championships five times from Grange over Sands to the Stone Jetty at Morecambe
* she was runner-up in the Miss Sportsworld competition at the Speedo headquarters in Nottingham
* she won two long distance championships in the UK and finished fifth in the 5 km Blankenberge Belgium and fourth in the 4.5 km Brugge Belgium in 1977
* she served as the Great Britain National Team Manager between 1977 and 1983, and at the 1986 FINA World Cup event in Egypt
* she organized the 1978 Windermere International 25 km championships
* she served on the organising committee at the 1982 and 1986 Windermere International 25 km championships which became the first FINA World Cup event
* she received the 1979 BLDSA James Brennan Award, the highest award that can be presented to an officer of the BLDSA for Outstanding Service to the Sport
* she was Secretary of the Silver Jubilee Committee during 1980
* she started and organized the all age-group International One Hour Postal Swim in 1981
* she received the BLDSA James Brennan Award with her husband Roger in recognition of their joint Outstanding Service to the Sport
* she became a Life Member of the BLDSA in 1986
* she was the president of the British Long Distance Swimming Association in 1986-1987
* she was Great Britain Team Manager at the 2nd FINA 25 km Long Distance Swimming World Cup in Egypt in 1986
* she organized the swimming section of the European Short Course Triathlon at Milton Keynes, England in 1987
* she attended the 25 km Long Distance Swimming Championships in Starigrad on Yugoslavia's Hvar Island where the First LEN (Ligue Européenne de Natation) European open water swimming event was held in 1989
* she received a special Long Service Recognition Award by the British Long Distance Swimming Association in 1989

"Apart from being a good fund raiser for the BLDSA, it was an excellent platform to publicise the association, and more importantly introduce long distance swimming to a much wider range of participants, and hopefully bring in new members to the association," she explained. "We had over 1000 entries in that first year where I was the secretary and administrator from 1982 to 1986.

Roger and I proposed the manufacture of a limited edition of solid silver BLDSA medallions with beautiful blue enamelling detail. Each medallion was hallmarked, numbered, and presented with a certificate of authenticity. These were sold as a special commemorative souvenir to members of the BLDSA. 47 medallions were ordered and manufactured. A truly limited, and now very rare item within the Association.
"

Her talents were also culinary in nature. "In March 1982, the BLDSA held its Silver Jubilee Annual Dinner. I baked a special cake 30 cm x 15 cm in size, beautifully decorated with a complete raised icing map of Lake Windermere across the top, the badge of the BLDSA, silver medallions and swimmers around the edge."

She recalled a new event, The Champion of Champions, masterminded by her husband Roger. "The idea was to solve the argument as to who was better – the fastest swimmers or the ones with the best endurance. It was made up of a series of three events on the same day, 5 miles, 3 miles and a 1-mile race with short gaps between each one."

The duo ran a very successful event in the first year and the following six years until they emigrated to Spain.

They also started another new event in Sandwell near Birmingham as part of the Sandwell Sports Festival. "This was a 2-mile Championship with Junior, Senior and full Masters Category age group competitions."

In 1984 and 1985, Valerie and Roger organized the swimming leg from England to France of the London to Paris Triathlon events from Marble Arch London to Dover on the first day, swimming in a relay from England to France on the second day, and cycling in relay from Cap Gris Nez to Rouen, then finally in team pursuit to Paris on the third day.

In 1986, she continued to branch out to multi-sports event and assisted Roger in organizing the swimming sections of the 1st London, the 1st Welsh, and the 1st Scottish Short Course Triathlon Championships.

1986 was an important year when the 1st FINA 25 km Long Distance Swimming World Cup event was held in Lake Windermere and she hosted the FINA Long Distance Swimming Commission for the FINA meetings. "At these meetings, and every meeting that Roger was involved in for the next 11 years, I was also there, diligently writing a precise record of all the discussions taking place - so that Roger would have complete freedom to participate in and fully contribute his knowledge and wisdom at this important time. The official minutes were compiled based on our written record."

In 1989, Valerie resigned from all posts with the BLDSA due to her emigration to live in Spain.

Between 1989 and 1991, open water swimming was moving towards integration within the FINA World Championships. "Preparations for the long distance swimming event in the 1991 FINA World Championships were taking place. A trial 25 km race was held to test the proposed World championship course in the Swan River.

In May, on invitation of Lello Barbuto, president of the International Long Distance Swimming Federation, and organiser of the ILDSF World Championships Maratona del Golfo Capri-Napoli, we attended their championship. Representatives of La Traversée internationale du lac St-Jean and La Traversée Internationale du Lac Memphrémagog also attended plus representatives of the swimmers. We had a series of ad hoc meetings. At these meetings we were very impressed at the level of organization and dedication shown by the promoters attending.

This was where Roger put forward for consideration, a proposal that if the International Long Distance Swimming Federation and the World Professional Marathon Swimming Federation were to amalgamate, then it may be possible to get FINA and the respective national governing bodies to agree to use the existing events as a World Series into which new national federation events could - over time - incorporate their own marathon events. At meetings in Canada in August, it was agreed that a World Series was practical and could be put together using existing ILDSF events. Roger made a full report to the FINA with recommendation that a pilot World Series take place starting in the summer of 1991.

It was at this point that we decided that a successful Open Water World Series could open the door for a rapid inclusion of Long Distance Swimming into the Olympic program either under the FINA general program or as a stand-alone sport.

After consultation with Dale Petranech, we agreed that this could also be a good way to accelerate Open Water Swimming as a national activity too.

We were so passionate after seeing such a momentous possibility for the future good and development of the sport, in our desire to see this come to fruition that we agreed to personally finance all of our travel costs to visit and share the vision, enthusiasm, attend meetings, assist and encourage each and every promoter and event, wherever they were in the world. It was an opportunity that could not be missed.

In 1991, I flew with Roger to Australia for the first FINA 25 km race held in the Swan River, Perth, as part of the FINA World Championships. Another step towards the Olympic dream.

At a seminar on Long Distance Swimming which took place in Perth, we offered to assist any national association to stage, organize or administrate for long distance swimming in their respective countries, without payment for their services. Two representatives from La Traversée Internationale du Lac Memphrémagog attended the seminar on Long Distance Swimming and in meetings afterwards they persuaded us to agree to go to Magog in the summer to attend their competitions.

Trevor Tiffany, Vice President of Swim Canada, approached to ask if we would come to Canada and for Roger to set up Long Distance Swimming in the Provinces as part of the Swim Canada programme and also, on behalf of Swim Canada, organize the 25 km Championships at the Pan Pacific Swimming Championships to be held at Edmonton, Alberta in August 1991. Roger accepted the invitation to take on the post of organizer for Swim Canada's Open Water Swimming program. He agreed to voluntarily help Swim Canada for a minimum of one year.

Roger organised the 25 km Championships for the Pan Pacific Swimming Championships which was held at Sylvan Lake, Alberta, Canada. I assisted Roger and was a race official on the day.

We then continued traveling to other marathon events that were interested in discussing the possibilities of being part of a World Series competition. From Australia, we traveled to Rio de Janeiro in Brazil and attended meetings with the Brazilian Swimming Federation, then to Salvador attending the marathon race there, then Argentina for the Maratón Acuática Internacional Santa Fe - Coronda and other meetings around the world.

We flew to Canada where we moved to Ottawa. Roger worked in the Swim Canada national offices, but a month later the committee of La TTraversée Internationale du Lac Memphrémagog with their event offices in Magog, offered free office space from where Roger could do his work for Swim Canada, and also work on the preparations for upcoming meetings.
"

In July 1991, the International Marathon Swimming Association was formed, incorporating the International Long Distance Swimming Federation and the World Professional Marathon Swimming Federation.

Swimmers, coaches and race organizers around the world described the pair as two special people of absolute integrity who are devoted to the cause, who are incredibly hard working, and who can always be relied upon. They are totally independent, passionate in their endeavours to always fight for, and to do whatever they can that is only ever in the best interests of the swimmers, the promoters and the sport as a whole and who have no axes to grind either personally or politically.

Between 1991 and 1993, the pair continued to travel and work at every International Marathon Swimming Federation World Series event around the world.

Valerie was officially elected to the position of Administrative Secretary of the IMSA in Santa Fe, Argentina at the 1st General Meeting of the International Marathon Swimming Federation on January 31st 1992.

"After returning to Magog, Canada in February 1992, we had to return to Spain where we continued our work running the IMSF and the World Series. We also attended the 4th FINA 25 km World Cup that was held in lac St-Jean."

The husband-and-wife team was presented with a Special Recognition award by Swimming Natation Canada in recognition of their contribution to the development of the open water swimming program in Canada and their joint efforts to help organize a successful open water championship in the Pan Pacific Games on behalf of Swim Canada.

"In 1993, FINA became involved for the next World Series which was staged under the title of FINA Marathon Swimming World Series 1993-1994. Roger was the Meet Director for all the FINA World Series events and I continued to assist whenever and wherever needed, including continuing to help calculate and compile updated current World Rankings after each and every event. Together with the President of IMSF Pierre Otis, we began working on an official handbook for the IMSA.

Through 1994 and 1996, we continued to travel to every World Series event and attend every General Meeting
."

In 1995, the first Marathon Swimming Handbook of the IMSA was published. In the message from the President Pierre Otis wrote, “I take the opportunity to thank the General Secretary Roger Parsons and Valerie Parsons who have invested a lot of energy to realize this guide. Their contribution has been precious during these years of change. Their professional and personal investment in the IMSA stays indissociable with the growth of the Association and its credibility in the world.

By 1996, FINA had become fully involved in the open water swimming events at its World Championships and the World Series. The FINA Bureau agreed to apply to the IOC to include open water swimming as part of FINA's Olympic Swimming Program, and to our delight, this application was duly accepted in 2005.
"

After completely devoting their lives for over 20 years to the sport of open water swimming, supporting race promoters and the swimmers, the Parsons decided that it was time for them to retire from their administrative work. There were other enthusiasts who took over their legacy and continued the future development with their initial objectives now achieved.

"I could now say that open water swimming was embraced as truly open; all swimmers compete equally against one another and open water swimming is now included as an event in the Olympic Games. It is a wonderful conclusion to the past."

Copyright © 2008-2017 by World Open Water Swimming Association

A Thank You Gift from WOWSA


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1-Year Anniversary of the monthly Open Water Swimming Magazine
by giving you a free copy of the anniversary issue.

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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...
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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.
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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:
https://www.worldopenwaterswimmingassociation.com/preview-open-water-swimming-almanac


The trends are very clear.
The tide is rising for open water swimming.

SponsorMySwim.com

Open Water Swimming Event Sanctioning

World Professional Marathon Swimming Federation

Open Water Race Calendar

Coaches Education Program