DNOWS Header

Image Map

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Jessica Reiter Does A Double Take

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Jessica Reiter is doubling up on things in her life.

The energetic 21-year-old is not only completing a double major in International Relations and Political Science at the University of California Davis, but she also spends time coaching students at school and older adults and younger children in San Francisco Bay with Water World Swim.

Giving advice, helping out, lending a hand, Reiter was non-stop before, during and after today's 2-mile Alcatraz Classic for the Fastest in San Francisco Bay. Always doubling up on her duties with a smile.

Copyright © 2015 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Scott Garrison Heats Up To The Cold

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Scott Garrison was shivering from head to toe; his hands were very cold to the touch and his teeth kept chattering long after the race was over, but his heart was filled with joy.

The 61-year-old Bakersfield, California native was in San Francisco for his annual Alcatraz crossing.

"Oh, this [Alcatraz Classic for the Fastest] is so much better than those mass swims with 700, 800 people. From the wife's perspective, this is so nice," said his spouse of his 42:43 swim of 2 miles in 55°F (12.7°C) water. "Someone is watching over [Scott] and they are not going to lose track of people."

"I started swimming with the group, but then I ended up in a small group."

Despite the cold and his relentless shivering, Garrison was reflective of his annual journey northwards to San Francisco Bay. "[I do Alcatraz] because it is so peaceful, spiritual."

Copyright © 2015 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Seals Snarl, Swimmers Just Smile

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Open water swimmers talk about sharks and jellyfish all the time.

But there are plenty of other marine life in the world's oceans, lakes and rivers.

On the scary side of the equation, orcas, sea snakes, sea lions, alligators, and hippos are the denizens of the open water while on the more mellow side are whales, dolphins, turtles and manta rays stake claim in the same waters where swimmers ply their trade.

Veterans like Pedro Ordenes of Water World Swim have literally seen it all, from California to Chile, from Miami to the Galápagos Islands.

"Here in San Francisco Bay, the seals can be aggressive. They protect their territory. I was swimming one day and one of the big ones came right up to me. I grit my teeth at him and then he came up REAL close, grit his own teeth, and snarled right back to me. He was big and I learned to just smile and keep swimming. I gave him space."

Copyright © 2015 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Gary Workman Lives Up To His Name

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Gary Workman has a fan base at the finish of the 2-mile Alcatraz Classic for the Fastest. His son was on an Oru Kayak and his daughters and friends were on shore, cheering away.

"We were so excited," said Laura (15 on left) and Sarah (18 on right of dad above). "We didn't know where he was or what we were looking at, except we knew he wasn't swimming with a wetsuit.

It is so cool, we are so proud of him. He is a little crazy, we know

Crazy...and a pro. The 52-year-old swimmer from Cupertino, California can now call himself a professional swimmer after winning US$500 for being the first skins (bioprene) swimmer at the 2-mile Alcatraz Classic for the Fastest.

The 55°F (12.7°C) water didn't faze dad at all. While the other swimmers and his family were huddled in blankets under cloudy skies, Workman was living up to his name, helping out when and when he could after the race. "It was great, water was nice and my son was out there in a kayak."

Copyright © 2015 by World Open Water Swimming Association

David Swift Returns To His Aquatic Roots

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

David Swift was a competitive swimmer in his youth, but then laid off swimming for four decades. "For 40 years, I got out of swimming. I was living life, raising a family and working," he explains.

But then he hurt his knee and could not run anymore. The 60-year-old went back to his aquatic roots. "I started swimming again and got hooked. Open water swimming gives me the motivation to stay in shape."

Swift's words are echoed across the global open water swimming community where hundreds of thousands of former competitive pool swimmers find enjoyment in the tranquility and challenge of open water swimming, either for fitness or competition. "We have a lot of people doing our swims throughout the year," says Pedro Ordenes of Water World Swim. "Many of them are newcomers, but many of them are also former competitive swimmers, whether it is in San Francisco Bay, the Galápagos Islands or Miami."

Swift completed his sixth Alcatraz swim today at the 2-mile Alcatraz Classic for the Fastest from Alcatraz Island to the Alcatraz to St. Francis Yacht Club, finishing in 39:39.

Copyright © 2015 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Danika Thompson, Water Woman Wins

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Danika Thompson may not view herself as a pure swimmer, but she is certainly a water woman.

The 22-year-old lifeguard and former water polo player from San Clemente, California surfs, competes in paddle boarding both SUP and 10'6" prone paddling, surf skis, and does biathlons and lifeguard competitions in both cold and warm, calm and rough ocean waters with and without marine life.

"I'm not a swimmer, but I really enjoy the open water," she humbly admitted as her navigational IQ and streamlined body position while sighting were obvious.

And not surprisingly, today's relatively calm 55°F (12.7°C) water did not faze her a bit. She won US$500 for being the first skins (bioprene) swimmer across the finish line in the 2-mile Alcatraz Classic for the Fastest.

She carefully listened to the race instructions by organizer Pedro Ordenes and then took great lines from Alcatraz towards Aquatic Park and then caught the tidal flow to the St. Francis Yacht Club.

Copyright © 2015 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Drafting Towards Alcatraz Island

Courtesy of WOWSA during today's Alcatraz Classic for the Fastest .

Copyright © 2015 by World Open Water Swimming Association

From Rattlesnake To Alcatraz, Kristen Zeimitz Swims

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Kristen Zeimitz flew in from Englewood, Colorado just in time to catch the 2-mile Alcatraz Classic for the Fastest today, arriving in her San Francisco hotel after midnight.

But even with a 6 am check-in, the 35-year-old lifelong swimmer was ready to go.

The open water was familiar territory for the Alton, New Hampshire native. "We grew up on Lake Winnippisaukee. We have a family tradition to swim to Rattlesnake Island."

The island is about 1.5 miles from our house. We always talked about doing it. One year, we said, 'Why don't we swim to the island?'

My father drove us over in a boat and we swam back. Another year [in chop], my husband crashed into me with his canoe. It can get very choppy because of the winds

Justin (33), Eric (24) and Emily (22) annually join their older sister Kristen and the rest of the family, six years running.

But after a few hours sleep, Kristen woke up for the first time in San Francisco with her sights set on swimming from another island, Alcatraz to the St. Francis Yacht Club. She was one of the fastest swimmers in the field today, finishing in 37:31 and representing the Zeimitz family quite well.

Copyright © 2015 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Two Generations, Before And After

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Nader Radjy and his daughter Yasmin Radjy were walking along Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco, California when he decided that he wanted to see what the Dolphin Club in Aquatic Park was all about.

The father and daughter knocked at the door of the Dolphin Club and were given a tour, eventually becoming members. "We began to swim because I always thought about swimming from Alcatraz Island," recalled the prolific inventor from Palo Alto.

The pair started to train, but like many things in the open water, the unexpected occurred. "I dislocated my shoulder when I hit a buoy in the water."

His plans were necessarily put on hold. He waited patiently, recuperated, and eventually got back into the water

He entered the Water World Swim's 2-mile Alcatraz Classic for the Fastest, with his goal to swim from Alcatraz Island to San Francisco firmly in his sights. "It has been two years to the day [from the time of entering the Dolphin Club to completing his first Alcatraz swim]."

His daughter joined him in their achievement, bringing them closer than they ever imagined.

Yasmin, taking a totally different course than her father in today's race, completed the race in 43:48. Meanwhile, Nader put his head down at the start heading first towards Aquatic Park and then catching the tidal flow towards the finish at St. Francis Yacht Club. He unexpectedly met up with his daughter during the very last few strokes, surprising each other as he finished in 43:46.

Like father, like daughter. Swimming and smiling all the way.

Upper photo was taken before the race. Lower photo was taken after the race.

Copyright © 2015 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Racing Across The English Channel In The 1970s, 1980s

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

One of the Daily Mail races and the Billy Butlin Cross Channel International Swims are well-known historical races in the 1950s, there was another series of professional races held 40 years ago that were organized by the Saudi Arabian Swimming Federation together with the Channel Swimming Association.

The races were sponsored by His Royal Highness Prince Faisal Bin Fahd Bin Abdul Aziz who was a member of the International Olympic Committee.

According to International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame honoree Michael Read, the races took place August 14th 1975, August 18th 1976, August 21st 1977, August 28nd 1978 and August 24th 1979.*

During the first three years, the races were only open to Arabic swimmers, but the 1978 and 1979 races were opened up to include other swimmers. In 1979, there was a major international race with 18 swimmers representing 18 different countries with £1,000 in prize money for the winner. Some of world’s best marathon swimmers participated including John Kinsella of the USA (see photo above), Claudio Plit of Argentina (see photo on left), Michael Read of England and Des Renford of Australia.

One of the problems with the races was that there were money prizes, but the races had amateur swimmers competing with professionals which, at that time, was against the amateur rules of that era.

For the first three years, the event was called Arab Nations English Channel Race. In 1977, the results were as follows:

1. Nasser el Shazly (Egypt) 8 hours 45 minutes
2. Elsayed Elsadah (Saudi Arabia) 8 hours 52 minutes
3. Alawi Makki (Saudi Arabia) 8 hours 54 minutes
4. Ossama Rashad (Egypt) 10 hours 20 minutes

In 1978, Makki, an Honour Swimmer in the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame, turned the tables on his Arab rivals with a victory:

1. Alawi Makki (Saudi Arabia) 9 hours 54 minutes
2. Ibrahim Faidalla (Egypt) 10 hours 4 minutes
3. Marwan Saleh (Syria) 11 hours 15 minutes
4. Nazla Faidalla (Egypt) 12 hours 16 minutes

In 1979 and 1981, the English Channel races were organized by the Saudi Arabian Swimming Federation and the Channel Swimming Association. The 1979 results were as follows:

1. John Kinsella (USA) 9 hours 10 minutes
2. Claudio Plit (Argentina) 9 hours 45 minutes
3. Alawi Makki (Saudi Arabia) 9 hours 56 minutes
4. Cynthia Nicholas (Canada) 10 hours 10 minutes
5. Joke van Staveren (Holland) 10 hours 26 minutes

In 1981 results were as follows:
1. Claudio Plit (Argentina) 8 hours 58 minutes
2. Masry El Basam (Syria) 9 hours 10 minutes
3. Ian Muir (England) 9 hours 58 minutes
4. Cynthia Nicholas (Canada) 10 hours 11 minutes
5. Alawi Makki (Saudi Arabia) 10 hours 33 minutes

According to Sue Guesdon, Prince Faisal funded the Channel races as he was also supporting the International Long Distance Swimming Federation and the Maratona del Golfo Capri-Napoli at the time which doubled as the world championships. Egypt’s General Zorkani of the International Long Distance Swimming Federation was in charge of the logistics and operations of the English Channel races together with Ray and Audrey Scott with the assistance of official Channel Swimming Association observers.

Although most of swimmers in the front apparently swam in close proximity to each other, the finishing locations were spread apart along the French coastline.

First-hand accounts provided by Claudio Plit, Sue Guesdon and Michael Read.

Copyright © 2014 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Friday, May 22, 2015

Is Plastic Pollution Akin To The Broken Windows Theory?

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Doug Woodring wrote the following article in The Economist entitled Is plastic pollution akin to the broken windows theory?

Plastic pollution is back on the agenda at this year’s World Ocean Summit event, and rightly so. A report last year commissioned by the UN estimated the annual impact to the ocean from plastic pollution was US$13bn. This is not going to improve in a hurry. The World Bank expects the planet’s municipal solid waste to nearly double within 15 years, much of which will be in the form of single-use plastic items.

Population growth and rising consumption are drivers of this. Yet not many countries in the world are well-prepared for this increase in waste, as stresses on land and water quality mean that our old ways of getting rid of the “mess” are by no means infinite.

With these metrics in mind, it is worth considering whether plastic waste—one of the most visible and iconic of our modern consumption patterns—can be the trigger that will drive broader community engagement around environmental issues affecting our oceans and waterways.

The “broken windows” theory for policing high crime neighborhoods offers a good analogy for the potential of tackling plastic waste. This theory states that maintaining and monitoring our communities, exemplified by fixing all of the broken windows, helps create an atmosphere of order and lawfulness.

Applying the theory to the ocean, a systematic clean-up of plastic waste from rivers and beaches could perhaps create a sense of pride for that area, and its waters, leading to a greater likelihood of people doing the right thing in terms of recycling and waste disposal.

Civic pride and responsibility at the community level could spur action from the companies who are involved in using, selling and distributing plastic in the first place; this could encourage the widespread roll-out of bring-back programs, using reverse supply chains to re-capture some of the material that has been sold; increased use of recycled content in products; and being part of the "design-for-recycling" economy. By fixing the “broken window” that is plastic blight we see floating in the sea, not to mention on our streets and in our parks, who knows what chain of events this could set off? Ultimately it could enable us to address much harder environmental issues that seemed out of psychological reach because the low-hanging fruit (recycling and waste management) had not been addressed.

As we look ahead to the World Ocean Summit in June, the intersection of a new found respect for the ‘blue’ portion of our planet, and the realisation that plastic is a long-term survivor in our environment, is creating the perfect storm for innovation and collaboration in the modern, material world.

Cleaning up plastic waste could act as a very visible—and measurable—marker of our success, as well as a window on future possibilities.

The 4th annual Plasticity Forum will be held on June 8th and 9th in Cascais, Portugal, just two days after The Economist Events' World Ocean Summit, and as part of Portugal’s Blue Week.

New Swimmit App

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Swimmit is a new cool convenient app, created by Ivan Peralta, that helps swimmers and triathletes or anyone who enjoy the open water to create meetups, join meetups, create routes, discover routes, connect with swimmers, and offer a training log.

With the Swimmit app, swimmers can discover the best swimming routes near them, make friends with other swimmers, create personalized tracks with the track editor, and register their training sets and discover their performance trends.

For more information, visit Swimmit here.

Copyright © 2015 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Did You Hear About SwimEars?

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Hans Henrik is the founder of the Danish Open Water Swimming Association and CPH Swim in Copenhagen, Denmark - but he has always thought of a problem that many swimmers have.

Together with other passionate swimmers, the Dane who completed a 45 km island circumnavigation in Øresund called Amager Rundt in 2013 has created SwimEars.

"In early June we plan to launch a campaign on Kickstarter," Henrick explains.

"To succeed we depend on that enough people know about us and our project, and hopefully back us. We think we have a novel approach to ear plugs that is not known in the market right now is worth backing. It solves a problem that many swimmers faces.

SwimEars are specialized ear plugs for open water swimmers and triathletes that protect against ear inflammation and dizziness without affecting hearing and balance

More information will soon be released here.

Copyright © 2015 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Deepwater Spill Killed Dolphins In Record Numbers

Virginia Morell writes about how dolphins are being killed due to oil spills in her latest article here.

Breathe In

Photos courtesy of Tzirú Pérez from the Pacific Ocean coast of Costa Rica.

There are few sports where breathing is so important and such an integral part of the sport as [open water] swimming.

Breathe poorly in turbulent water and swallow water occasionally or get a stomach ache. Breathe without opening your eyes and lose the ability to laterally sight. Breathe effectively in rough water and never swallow water. Breathe efficiently in the open water and swim in a streamlined and balanced fashion.

Copyright © 2015 by World Open Water Swimming Association


Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Yesterday, renowned MIMS kayaker Richard Clifford confirmed with race director Morty Berger that the 2015 Manhattan Island Marathon Swim events will go on as planned.

Copyright © 2015 by World Open Water Swimming Association

First There Were 6, Now There Are 12

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

With sunny weather predicted for the three-day weekend, there will undoubtedly be tens of thousands of people flocking to Huntington Beach, California.

But there are reports of at least 12 denizens of the deep cruising around the area.

Sightings of Great White Sharks has been the topic of discussion in the news and among locals. More than a dozen 6-10 foot sharks were spotted 15-20 meters off shore from a police airplane flying above the area yesterday, an increase from six only a few weeks ago.

Photo by John Hollenbeck, an Orange County Sheriff’s Harbor Patrol sergeant, of a Great White 40 yards offshore in Huntington Beach where shark warning signs are now posted.

Copyright © 2015 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Marking Back, Shoulders And Hands

Upper photo courtesy of Tzirú Pérez for Cruce Aguas Abiertas Golfo Dulce by Joe Bernini in Costa Rica. Lower photo courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

The inking of black markers on the back, shoulders and hands are unique sensations for an open water swimmer.

Like the smell of diesel oil from an escort boat or the sight of a rainbow over the ocean, the pre-race marking is both something unique and familiar to open water swimmers.

Even as we look elsewhere, we can often guess what is being written on our backs.

1: The quick downward stroke of the numeral one is easy to understand and feel.

2: The smooth curve of the numeral two followed by a short line is also easy to guess.

3: The dual curves of the numeral three can be felt easily felt.

4: The numeral four is more difficult to feel because it can be printed in various ways.

5: The numeral five sometimes is also sometimes difficult to guess because it can be printed in various ways.

6: The numeral six is easy to guess with its quick curving motion.

7: The numeral seven is sometimes confused with the numeral one depending on who is doing the marking.

8: The numeral eight is easy to guess with its roundness.

9: The numeral nine can be confused with the numeral four depending on who is doing the marking.

Copyright © 2015 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Mum's On MIMS

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

One of the most organized swims in the world is the Manhattan Island Marathon Swim. The circumnavigation of Manhattan requires at least 11 governmental authorizations and clearances from the U.S. Coast Guard, state government of New York, the individual boroughs of New York, New York City and various other entities and government agencies.

It is certainly not a trivial exercise to organize the solo and relay swimming navigation around Manhattan Island, the heart of New York City. It takes year-round focus, a large budget, and a network of experienced collaborators and passionately supportive volunteers.

Originally organized by Drury Gallagher, MIMS' growth has been spearheaded by Morty Berger over the last few decades. Berger is a tireless event organizer who concurrently grew MIMS as well as the NYC Swim brand and series of events. In developing the swims around Manhattan, Berger also developed a committed network of escort pilots, kayakers and volunteers extraordinaire.

Berger not only work hard to provid data and information in an easy-to-digest manner, but he also incorporated real-time in-race navigation tracking systems and pre-race global webinars for the benefit of the swimmers and their crew members.

But unlike previous years, the amount of information about this year's event has been unusually limited as reported by swimmers planning to attend this year's races.


Copyright © 2015 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Samoa Swim Series, Simply Splendid

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

The Samoa Swim Series offers more than its tagline of '3 great swims in 3 days'.

It includes a parade, a school visit, side tours, a prize giving and two swims on the big island of Savai'i. Two swims will be held in Faga and Manase with an overnight stay at Tanu Beach Fales and other accommodation on the north coast of Savai'i. The third swim is at the Sinalei Reef Resort in Upolu.

There are also unofficial swims to cater for those who arrive before the series and those who want to stay after the series is over.

There is also the Pacific Open Water Challenge, 10 km and 5 km races over two days that precede the Series, and the Warrior Race to meet the demand by swimmers who want to participate in Samoa’s premier triathlon as well as in the Swim Series.

The total is one trip of non-stop athletic challenges over 9 days with the Warrior Race, the Pacific Open Water Challenge and the Samoa Swim Series.

Official Swims:
*Pacific Open Water Challenge 10 km - August 3rd at the Sheraton Aggie Greys Resort
*Pacific Open Water Challenge 5 km - August 4th, a point-to-point swim in Falefa Bay
*Samoa Swim Series Swim 1 - August 6th, point-to-point 2 km and 4 km swims at Faga lagoon, Savai'i
*Family Swim dash
*Team’s Relay: Kids & Family 400m swim (Manase) and 400x400 Teams Relay
*Samoa Swim Series Swim 2 - August 7th, point-to-point 2.5 km and 4 km swims from Fagamalo to Tanu Beach Fales at Manase
*Family Dash: 200m and 400m Kids & Beginners, 600 x 600 Teams Relay
*Samoa Swim Series Swim 3 - August 8th, point-to-point 2 km and 4 km swims from Mulivai Beach to the Sinalei beach
*Teams Relay and 200m and 400m Kids & Beginners Swim

Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, Prime Minister of Samoa and President of the Samoa Swimming Federation expresses his hospitality, "I would like to take this opportunity on behalf of the Government of Samoa, the Samoa Swimming Federation and the people of Samoa to warmly welcome swimmers and your family and friends traveling to the Samoa Swim Series."

For more information, visit here.

Copyright © 2015 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