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Thursday, March 22, 2018

Gary Emich Logged Among Heroes

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Back in 1993, Gary Emich did his first Alcatraz Island swim and then started doing the same crossing an average of one Alcatraz Island swim a week for 20 years.

Emich is now in the International Swimming Hall of Fame - or at least the documentation in his unique Alcatraz Island logbook is.

Over the decades as he inched towards his Millennium Swim, Emich has faced conditions that ranged from tranquil to treacherous.

But his relentless march to his 1,000th crossing was highlighted by a rivalry with Steven Hurwitz, a local swimmer and a like-minded colleague at the South End Rowing Club.

The men went back and forth, tormenting one another while vying to see who could have the greatest number of Alcatraz crossings.

When one man went on vacation or had other responsibilities to care for, the other took off to The Rock and swam back. But cooler minds prevailed and selfless egos came to the fore as Emich and Hurwitz entered into a gentlemen's agreement to jointly accomplish their 1,000th crossing.

"We are both founding members of the Alcatraz Swimming Society (ASS)," explains Emich. "When I reached 1,000, I went into semi-retirement and became ASS Emeritus while Steven continues to rack them up and is now upwards of over 1,150 swims."

Both their joint 500th and 1,000th crossings coincides with the anniversary of the famed escape from The Rock by Frank Morris and John, Clarence, and Alfred Anglin [see documentary below].

"The 1000th crossing for the swimmers [was] a symbolic victory for all those who yearn for freedom – those who have tried to accomplish what doubters said couldn’t be done and those who literally tried to escape the Rock against all odds,” said Hurwitz, a father of two and President of Bay Area Herbs & Specialties, a premier supplier of fresh culinary herbs and specialty produce.

"From the days of Gertrude Ederle when the Olympian and other top women of her generation were trying to become the first to accomplish a feat in the open water, channel swimmers and marathon swimmers are usually competitively vying with one another to become first in some particular body of water," said Steven Munatones. "Many swimmers do not want to publicly announce their plans ahead of time because they fear another swimmer will try and complete a first-time swim before them. But Gary and Steven are true gentlemen and true watermen who put aside their competitive urges and egos to jointly achieve a first. It was an honorable gesture and remarkable achievement."

Copyright © 2008-2018 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Kim Swims Hits Annapolis

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

The Golden Gate Award-winning film KIM SWIMS heads from its celebrated kickoff at the 15th International Ocean Film Festival in San Francisco, California to the East Coast at the Annapois Film Festival on March 22nd-25th.

The film by Kate Webber about protogonist Kimberley Chambers will be shown on March 23rd and 24th. For tickets, visit here.

Copyright © 2008-2018 by World Open Water Swimming Association

2018 UANA Pan American Masters Championships

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

International Swimming Hall of Famer Rowdy Gaines and International Marathon Swimming Hall of Famer Yuko Matsuzaki of Japan will present the details of the upcoming UANA Pan American Masters Championships that will be held in July and August in Orlando, Florida with over 5,000 athletes expected to compete.

The water polo, diving, synchronized swimming, pool swimming and open water swimming competition will be held between July 29th and August 10th.

The 1.5 km and 5 km races will be held separately on August 5th at the venue to be announced later.

For more information, visit here.

Copyright © 2008-2018 by World Open Water Swimming Association

What Should A Museum Of Open Water Swimming Offer?

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

"When I first entered the International Surfing Museum and the Walk of Fame in Huntington Beach, California, I always thought it would be great to create something similar for open water swimming," thought Steven Munatones.

The museum showcases the history of the sport through videos, photos and all kinds of content. The site, close to the Surfers’ Hall of Fame offers an ongoing series of events and exhibits and showcases all kinds of products like surfboards and gear owned by famous surfers, watermen and waterwomen over the decades. Historical photos and old-time videos line the museum walls that trace the lineage of the sport from times long past to the contemporary world."

The museum is collectively supported by its founder, donors, individual and lifetime members, and thousands of annual visitors.

Natalie Kotsch (1937 – 2014), a local real estate entrepreneur, was the founder. Her passion was clearly born from the heart when she moved from Canada to Hunting Beach. Not only did she never surf before she moved to Huntington Beach, but she also did not surf after her dream was realized in 1987.

"The International Surfing Museum is near the Surfers' Hall of Fame where hundreds of thousands of visitors annually walk over concrete slabs with the footprints and handprints of the world's best surfers along Pacific Coast Highway next to the Huntington Beach Pier. Collectively, the Museum and Hall of Fame enable surfers and non-surfers alike to better understand and appreciate the sport, history and luminaries of surfing," explains Munatones.

"Similarly, I have long dreamed about an open water swimming museum that would enable swimmers and non-swimmers alike to learn more about ocean swimming, marathon swimming, channel swimming, stage swimming, relays, lake swimming, river swimming, circumnavigation swimming, expedition swimming, disabled swimming, competitive open water swimming, wild swimming, high-altitude swimming, eco-swimming, professional circuits, charity swimming, ice swimming, winter swimming, and adventure swimming as well as the trends, products, services, personalities, pilots, administrators, coaches, observers, kayakers, governing bodies, rules, demographics, books, films, blogs, conferences, camps, sea treks, swimcations, clinics and other happenings in oceans, seas, lakes, rivers, dams, canals, channels, fjords, estuaries, lochs, coves, firths, straits, bays, and harbors around the world - from Northern to Southern Hemisphere, from tropical waters to both of the polar regions.

The mission of this open water swimming museum would be to educate, entertain, and enthuse those who currently venture beyond the shore - and those who support them.

Exhibitions could cover famous races and crossing, and topics including escorting, feeding, positioning, drafting, training, rescues, hypothermia, hyperthermia and afterdrop. A library would house books, pamphlets, brochures, posters, manuals, observer reports and marine charts that have been published, printed and used over the generations.

With modern and future technologies, the museum can also offer the ability for a person to be able to look up and see through video or AI any open water venue in the world.

For example, most swimmers in the world have never been to or even know what the English Channel from the perspective of a swimmer on Shakespeare Beach or the pier at Aquatic Park in San Francisco Bay or Bondi Icebergs Pool in Sydney or what the 2008 Beijing Olympic 10K venue looked like - or what the aQuellé Midmar Mile in South Africa or the Sun Moon Lake International Swimming Carnival look like.

Technology and the support of swimmers around the world would allow museum visitors to create such an experience for its visitors.

Having photos of the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame honorees is great - but how much more enjoyable and educational would it be to see short videos of each honoree talking about their greatest or most difficult swims?

Copyright © 2008-2018 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Practicing The Mellouli Double In Tokyo

Courtesy of Pan Pacific Championships, Tokyo, Japan.

The 2018 Pan Pacific Championships will be held at Tokyo, Japan between August 9th and 13th. The 10 km marathon swim will be held on August 13th in Odaiba Marine Park, the same location for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic 10K Marathon Swim.

The men will start the 8-loop 1.25 km course at 7:30 am with the women starting 2 minutes later.

"It is interesting to note that the men's 1500m freestyle and women's 800m final is scheduled for August 9th, four days before the 10 km race," observed Steven Munatones. "This is a great and unique opportunity for crossover swimmers like Jordan Wilimovsky to get experience 'doubling up' at Pan Pacs - racing in both the 1500m and the 10 km over a short period against world-class competition - before they might want to try the 'Mellouli Double' again at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

It will also be interesting how many of the elite world-class marathon swimmers outside of the Pacific Rim nations will elect to compete in this 10 km race in Odaiba Marine Park.

For more information about the event, visit www.panpacs2018.com.

Mellouli Double Swimmers In Olympic History:
* 2008 Beijing Olympics: David Davies (Great Britain)
* 2008 Beijing Olympics: Petar Stoychev (Bulgaria)
* 2008 Beijing Olympics: Spyridon Gianniotis (Greece)
* 2008 Beijing Olympics: Keri-Anne Payne (Great Britain)
* 2008 Beijing Olympics: Cassandra Patten (Great Britain)
* 2008 Beijing Olympics: Andreína del Valle Pinto Pérez (Venezuela)
* 2008 Beijing Olympics + Paralympics: Natalie du Toit (South Africa)
* 2008 Beijing Olympics: Kristel Köbrich (Chile)
* 2012 London Olympics: Éva Risztov (Hungary)
* 2012 London Olympics: Erika Villaécija García (Spain)
* 2012 London Olympics: Cecilia Biagioli (Argentina)
* 2012 London Olympics: Oussama Mellouli (Tunisia, shown above)
* 2012 London Olympics: Daniel Fogg (Great Britain)
* 2016 Rio Olympics: Jordan Wilimovsky (USA)
* 2016 Rio Olympics: Sharon van Rouwendaal (Netherlands)
* 2016 Rio Olympics: Éva Risztov (Hungary)
* 2016 Rio Olympics: Oussama Mellouli (Tunisia)

Copyright © 2008-2018 by World Open Water Swimming Association

When Does It All Begin?

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

When a solo swim or marathon relay has never been completed before, when does its history start?

In the open swimming world, especially with a channel swim, marathon swim, circumnavigation swim, success is not always achieved on the first attempts. Although there are many exceptions, unprecedented swims - especially long, rough or cold water courses - take time to see success. That is, attempts were tried before the English Channel or Molokai Channel or the Cook Strait was ultimately crossed. Similarly, only 1 swimmer out of 105 people (George Young) who attempted in the Catalina Channel for the first time in 1927 made it.

It takes time and a whole lot of effort for humans (including pilots, navigators, crew members and swimmers) to figure out how best to traverse a waterway.

"For these reasons, I think the history in the open water swimming world does not begin when the first swimmer successfully reaches land - or the finish - on the first crossing," commented Steven Munatones shown above with Mark Warkentin and Kalyn Keller in Melbourne, Australia. "Instead, the practical history of crossing any waterway begins in the when someone first dreams of swimming from point A to point B."

With so much of Planet Earth and its waterways yet to be crossed or circumnavigated, the annals of open water swimming have many, many more chapters to be written by swimmers of all ages and abilities.

Copyright © 2008-2018 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Add Another Open Water Event To The Olympics

Courtesy of The Inertia, Tokyo, Japan.

40 surfers will represent 10 different countries in the 2020 Games in Tokyo.

The International Olympic Committee announced 20 male and 20 female surfers, including will represent 10 countries surfing’s Olympic debut at the 2020 Games in Tokyo. Like the Olympic 10K Marathon Swim, there is a maximum of two surfers per gender per country.

The outcome was a result of decisions made by the World Surf League and International Surfing Association.

All surfers selected must participate in 2019 and 2020 International Surfing Association World Surfing Games in order to qualify for the Olympics. The first 10 eligible men and first 8 eligible women at the 2019 World Surf League Championship Tour, the first 4 eligible men and first 6 eligible women at the 2020 ISA World Surfing Games, the top finishing eligible surfer of each gender from Africa, Asia, Europe and Oceania at the 2019 ISA World Surfing Games, the first eligible man and woman in the surfing competitions at the 2019 Pan American Games will qualify, and one man and one woman from Japan qualify. If the Japanese surfers qualify through the Olympic qualifications, then their slots will be reallocated to the highest ranked eligible surfers from the 2020 World Surfing Games.

All eyes in Japan will undoubtedly be on Kanoa Igarashi who was born in Japan and is a well-known star there, but he really came into his own in Huntington Beach, California [shown above].

Copyright © 2008-2018 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Living The Dream In The Open Water

Courtesy of Hank Wise of Rocket Fish Swimming, Long Beach, California.

I've parked and locked my van. Backpack loaded, I've walked through the tunnel under Pacific Coast Highway to the beach and now, I'm looking out at the vastness of the Pacific Ocean. The day is a perfect weekday morning with warm sun and nearly windless, breathy offshore calm, virtually empty white sand beach except for a few keep-to-themselves joggers and scurrying sandpipers.

The beach has a reverent silence, quiet and perfect. It's like an arena of a beach with the tall sandstone cliffs covered in native desert scrub on one side and a large grey-stone sheer cliff on the other.

An inconspicuously silent and sturdy white lifeguard truck with a yellow paddleboard racked on top rolls by and keeps going. Small, hollow shorebreak waves punctuate the silence as they clap down onto the wet sand, white water rushing and retreating back naturally. This is the backdrop scene in which my open water, immersive-communion-with-nature swim takes place.

I've connected to this beach, this clear water, these cliffs since I was young and now, in this moment, I am fortunate enough to be connecting to this scene again. This is a valued and honored moment in time. I quietly put on my prescription goggles - the windless, mid-morning sun warming my shirtless back. The day gets quieter, the sun shines brighter, the training swim meditation transition is quietly and peacefully beginning. I'm in it and simultaneously observing myself in the middle of this nature experience.

At the front of my mind, the pre-training swim is filled mindfulness and gratitude on this spectacularly glassy and gorgeous day. It seems almost too fortunate that my mind, body and spirit are all healthy and hearty enough to go and swim in this arena. It seems unlikely that my busy work and family schedule would allow for this special time and place amidst this gorgeous nature. And yet, with planning, there is a time and place for everything, and this moment has been planned and there is no guilt and no other place to be. Only here and now.

The cool shock of the water temperature is the standard welcome. The ocean surface texture is smooth and the uncommon commonness of the clarity of the water is remarkable. A small fish inspects my toes as I stand waist-deep and prepare to swim. Just here, on this beach and in this water, soon to be swimming for a few hours - shallow water, with a prime view of the sea floor - its rocks, shells, fish and endless sandlines. Recent and distant colorful and textured memories of swims and surfs here melt into the now. An orange fish swims above lush green gently waving sea grass rooted to a red and brown flat rock underneath.

I lose myself in this living swim dream, now and then checking my "progress" with my waterproof watch. I know where my 1/2 hour and hour marks are to be and I fuel up by drinking my fees once an hour. And then it is back to the dreamtime and quietly connecting to the infinite - experiencing with body, soul and spirit the godliness of nature, the immersed peace and quiet of a training swim on a sunny, clear water, small swell, windless morning on this white sand, timeless beach.

Additional dreams by open water swimmers are here.

Copyright © 2018 by Hank Wise

How Far Is A Lap In A Pool?

Photo courtesy of Jesse Skoubo of the Gazette-Times of Jordan Selker holding a lap counter for Brandon Shreeve in Corvallis, Oregon.

Open water swimmers often train in pools as well as in lakes and oceans.

Marathon swimmers and competitive pool swimmers are known for doing tough sets like 100x100 in 25-yard, 25-meter or 50-meter pools.

But the question was raised - and answered comprehensively - by Evan Morrison, how far is a "lap" of a pool?

Is a lap one full length of a pool (no matter its length) or does a lap refer to two lengths of the pool? Morrison gives a comprehensive review of the term here.

"Some people who I workout with, say that a 400-meter swim in a long-course 50m pool is 4 laps and there are 10 laps to a 500-yard swim which is 20 lengths of a 25-yard pool," says Steven Munatones. "But I grew up in Southern California where competitive swimmers refer to one lap as one length of a pool. It is most often seen during competitive swimming competitions in the distance freestyle race where swimmers are reminded of the number of lengths of the pool they have swum with lap counters.

Competitive swimmers and coaches count 20 laps for a 500-yard swim in a 25-yard pool and 30 laps for a 1500-meter freestyle in a 50m pool. That is how I was taught back in the 1960s and 1970s.

Plus, if a lap is defined as two lengths of a pool, how do you define one length of a pool? A half-lap?

Copyright © 2008-2018 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Alan Viana + Natália Alonso = Travessia do Leme ao Pontal

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

A day after the Dragão do Mar successfully completed its duo relay of the Travessia do Leme ao Pontal, Alan Viana attempted the point-to-point course along the Brazilian coast.

On March 19th, it was Viana's turn to take on the 36 km challenge.

Previously, Viana had experienced a DNF when his first attempt had to be aborted by a storm that approached the city of Rio de Janeiro. But he waited and remained in the area for six more days for a second chance.

Viana began his attempt at 2 am starting off on a strong pace of 4.9 km per hour with 76 strokes per minute in the 28ºC Atlantic where he enjoyed only a few ocean ripples, little current and calm winds.

But after six hours of a high pace, his back started to act up that caused much concern among his support team. Twice he stopped to stretch, further increasing concerns aboard his escort boat.

They made a strategic decision to ask Viana to swim on the left side of the boat. He was able to regain his strong rhythm and finally caught some advantageous ocean swells as he entered the beach area of Barra da Tijuca that pushed him southwards in the direction of his arrival on the beach of the Pontal.

He completed a bioprene course record of 7 hours 22 minutes.

After receiving his trophy on the beach, he surprised everyone with a marriage proposal to his girlfriend Natália Alonso who had accompanied him on the escort boat.

Upper photo of Viana with his fiancé Natália Alonso. Lower photo shows hands of future matrimony on the Leme to Pontal Swimming Association.

For more information about the Travessia do Leme ao Pontal, visit here.

Copyright © 2008-2018 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Dragão do Mar Completes Travessia do Leme ao Pontal

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

Dragão do Mar failed in their first attempt of the 36 km Travessia do Leme ao Pontal in Brazil in December 2017 when they swim into a thick fog at the edge of the city of Rio de Janeiro.

But the duo relay of José Eduardo Ferreira and Rodrigo Barroso Fonseca continued to train, dream and plan their next attempt with the Leme to Pontal Swimming Association.

The duo got to the start of the Travessia, but then had to wait for three days as rough conditions raged on. With their window of opportunity rapidly dwindling, they caught a bit of luck and started their 36 km swim at 11 pm on March 18th.

Ferreira and Barroso had to swim through some tough conditions on their way towards the Pontal, each rotating one-hour legs as they hit oncoming currents and strong winds. But Dragão do Mar finally reached their goal after 10 hours 49 minutes and became the first swimmers to complete the swim from the Brazilian northeast.

Upper photo shows sunrise on the edge of the city of Rio de Janeiro with José Ferreira in the water. Lower photo shows José Ferreira (left), Ricardo Ferreira, LPSA observer (center), and Rodrigo Barroso (right).

For more information about the Travessia do Leme ao Pontal, visit here.

Copyright © 2008-2018 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Monday, March 19, 2018

A Legacy Of Love Honoring Anne Cleveland

Courtesy of Pat Robbins, La Jolla Light, California.

The legacy of Anne Cleveland, an International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Honor Swimmer from La Jolla, California, continues on.

But Sandy Erickson née Coggan and the Aquatic Board at the Coggan Family Aquatic Complex at La Jolla High School have agreed to create a large mosaic mermaid in commemoration of Cleveland at the 50m outdoor pool, one of the most heavily used aquatic complexes in San Diego and her alma mater.

After battling pancreatic cancer and decades of inspiring and mentoring many swimmers of all ages, Cleveland passed away at 61.

The mosaic will be a touching and appropriate tribute to Cleveland who was the first female on the La Jolla High School swim team, served as a swim coach at the school and other luminaries of the sport.

Donations can be sent to Pat Robbins at 314 Ricardo Place, La Jolla, CA 92037, USA in the form of a check made out to (mosaic artist) Jane Wheeler. Alternatively, financial contributions can be sent on the GoFundMe site.

Copyright © 2008-2018 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Will You Still Be Swimming In The Year 2050?

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Photo shows International Swimming Hall of Fame and International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame dual inductee Michael Read at the 16 km Faros Maratón professional marathon swim in Croatia in 2015.

In 1950, when Hassan Abdel Rehim from Egypt won the Daily Mail race across the English Channel in a record time of 10 hours 50 minutes, there were 205 million people who were 60 years or over around the world.

In 2014, when Dr. Otto Thaning became the oldest individual in history to cross the English Channel in 12 hours 52 minutes at the age of 73, the number of people over the age of 60 had increased nearly fourfold to 810 million.

In 2050, when Chloë McCardel will be 65 years old (with presumably more than 24 English Channel crossings that she has currently achieved), the number of older people on Planet Earth is projected to reach 2 billion.

The demographic trends around the world are changing so much that people older than the age of 65 will outnumber children under 5 years according to the U.S. Census Bureau by the time of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. By 2050, people 65 years and older are estimated to comprise of 15.6% of the world population while the children under 5 years will only comprise of 7.2%.

Societies around the world are in the midst of the most dramatic demographic change in modern history. And the future is best seen through the lenses of demographic experts in Japan whose population peaked in 2010 at 128 million people. By 2050, 40% of Japan’s population is projected to be older than 65 years. Currently, 25% of Japan’s population is already older than 65 and its median age is nearly 46.

Unlike many land-based sports, swimmers often swim well into their golden years. In the swimming world, the number of quinquagenarians (people in their 50’s), sexagenarians (people in their 60’s), septuagenarians (people in their 70’s), octogenarians (people in their 80’s), nonagenarians (people in their 90’s) and centenarians (people over 100) continues to increase - as a rapidly increasing rate.

In 1979, American Olympic coach Doc Counsilman became the then-oldest person to swim across the English Channel at the age of 58. That English Channel age record increased when 73-year-old South African Dr. Thaning broke 71-year-old Australian Cyril Baldock's previous record. Dr. Thaning said afterwards, "My wish was basically to promote the idea that people over the age of 70 can do things like this if they look after themselves and work hard."

Channel swimmer, health authority and renowned physician Peter Attia has written extensively about how one's lifespan and healthspan can be increased through healthful nutrition, periodic fasting, improved sleep and stress management. His Nerd Safari summarizes myriad research on a wide variety of topics here.

But for many (most?) swimmers, swimming will remain a part of their exercise program and lifestyle.

Looking forward to the year 2050, will Ferry Weertman (58 years old), Maarten van der Weijden (69), Kimberley Chambers (74), Ger Kennedy (81), Lewis Pugh (81), Yuko Matsuzaki (88) Ned Denison (92), Elizabeth Fry (91), Antonio Argüelles (91), Pat Gallant-Charette (99), Jim McConica (100), and Michael Read (109) still be swimming in 2050?

Pat Gallant-Charette predicts her continued involvement in the sport, "If I’m still kicking in 2050 at the age of 99, I will be swimming. I have no intentions of retiring from marathon swimming. Last year at the age of 66, I set three records for the oldest woman to swim the English Channel, the Molokai Channel, and across Lake Ontario. It was my strongest year in swimming. I am looking forward to many future years of marathon swimming."

Darren Miller, one of the few people who have completed the Oceans Seven, says, "My personal desire, and something I’ve thought about for quite some time, was to set the oldest English Channel crossing one day. Since I would estimate the age of that crosser to be well into their 80s by the time I get up there, I tell audiences that I have set a long term goal of crossing the English Channel in the summer of 2073, or during my 90th birthday year. I am looking forward to my wife, Alli, crossing with me well...but then again, she’ll only be 86 at the time."

International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Honor Swimmer Penny Palfrey from Australia says, "So long as I'm able and have opportunity, I hope to swim well into my golden years to some degree. I quite fancy being able to amble into the water at the back of the pack and follow the crowd around the swim buoys. In 2050 I'll be 88. My grandmother is over 104 years old, so here's hoping!"

Masters world record holder and veteran ocean swimmer Jim McConica who recently lost his home in the California fire says, "I lost about a month of water time due to the Thomas fire. I am just now getting my mileage and conditioning back. Last Friday and Saturday combined, I was finally able to get in 16,000 yards with some tempo.

Long term, I do hope to swim until I die. We are very fortunate in Ventura [California] to have a top-of-the-line 50 meter pool as well as the ocean. Our long distance group is outstanding. We are all friends. The group support makes success both possible and fun. This environment should give me every chance to continue swimming for a very long time.

Years ago I was quoted as saying I hope to swim until I am 120 and have people say I swim like an 80-year-old. That is still my hope.

The loss of my home has been more than tough. In minutes, forty years of history, work and memories went away. I try to stay positive, thinking I can only worry about things I can control. The rebuild process is creating its own challenges. Swimming has always been a positive force in my life. I feel very fortunate to have that stability, particularly now

International Swimming Hall of Fame and International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame dual inductee Michael Read says, "I hope [to continue swimming]. I still have ambitions unfulfilled and I still need time to be able to accomplish them, So much to do, alas, so little time to do it."

International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Honor Swimmer and United Nations Patron of the Oceans Lewis Pugh agrees, "[I plan on swimming] till my last day."

Oahu-based veteran channel swimmer Bill Goding predicts, "In 2050 I will be 97 years old. I do plan on continuing swimming till then, mainly for the health benefits and the advantage of it being non weight bearing, yet still exercising all the muscles. And, maybe by then I might break a world record of some event, but I have a feeling the competition will be tough."

58-year-old Mexican Oceans Seven swimmer Antonio Argüelles thought he was old at the age of 40 when he first swam the English Channel in 1999. "Ximena came along and I thought it would be the last time she could see me drift into the water or emerged at the other end. While swimming, I thought about how great it would be to celebrate her birthday in Paris days later.

As I was immersed in that thought, a big wave splashed in my face and swallowed the most salt water in my life. A big lesson was thought; do not let your mind wander while you swim. After 18 hours 19 minutes, I swore by the Virgin of Guadalupe that I would never do ocean swimming again. Ten years later, trying to accomplish the Triple Crown of Open Water Swimming in one season, I had only one day left in my window to swim the Channel, when Mike Oram told me that even when the weather was not good, he would give me a chance to feel the water.

I went in knowing that if I failed that day, my quest was over. As the waves pushed me side to side, I remember thinking that this was my last swim, that I had to give all I had because I was 50 and my days were over. Once I reached the other side, I thanked the ocean Gods and promised never to go back to swimming.

My quest for Everest ended with a broken femur and rehabilitation in the water. Oceans Seven was born somewhere there and a new light was brought into my life. In my last swim across the North Channel, the odds were against me. Quinton Nelson told me the day before my window ended that swimming was almost impossible. That night I went to bed with two thoughts in my mind: (1) if I did not swim I would be able to enjoy one more year training, and (2) if I had the opportunity I would finish.

The morning after the swim Lucía and I had breakfast, she asked me if I was happy. When I said I did, she made me promise that for two years I would not embark in any other crazy journey. She wanted our family to have vacations that did not include swimming. I agreed and next Wednesday we are leaving on a trip to Poland, Hungary and Croatia for three weeks.

In the future, I have booked an attempt for a double crossing of the English Channel in 2020, mostly inspired by Sal Minty-Gravett and Liz Fry's successful crossings. Then there is the Farallon Islands and always, at the top of the clock, a Catalina Channel crossing. California is my second home, so if I am alive at 91, I wish I had finished a swim with one of my grandchildren the previous year.

Sal Minty-Gravett who will attempt another English Channel crossing in her sixth consecutive decade in the year 2020 says, "I will be 93 in 2050, but I clearly hope I will still be sea swimming - but I doubt that I will be swimming the Channel still - but who knows?!?"

Ice swimming record holder Rory Fitzgerald says, "As someone once said, 'I plan to live forever...so far, so good...' So in 2050 I shall probably be, at 92, the oldest adolescent in the pool. I certainly plan to keep swimming, chasing the likes of Ned Denison and Ram Barkai for those age group records and titles in the water. Maybe by then I shall have figured out some of the flaws in my stroke technique and be able to mitigate the wear and tear injuries that are so prevalent amongst the growing population of silver swimmers.

But I say bring it on – I shall be looking for podium finishes as long as I am still able to climb onto the podium...

Same with International Ice Swimming Association founder Ram Barkai, "I'll be 92 years old in 2050. If I'm alive, I'll be swimming."

British Ice Ironman Andrew Ainge says, "I will be 80 in 2050 and probably still chasing my final Ice Seven swim."

Catalina Channel record relay member Dr. Lyle Nalli admits, "2050 would put me at 90 years old. Will I be swimming? Most likely. Swimming the mile? Not sure. 100 meters seems a long way to swim for the nonagenarians I watch swim."

Swim Across America CEO Rob Butcher says, "I just turned 45 and I hope to still be going in 50 years, go get some records in the 95-99 age group."

George Corones of Australia is certainly showing the way:

Copyright © 2008-2018 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Making A Big Splash In Hong Kong

Photo of Nadine Bubner, Francois Thouvenin, Nathan Colless and Mary Joy de Castillo by Mhelz Catamin.

Photo of Mercy Cejas and Mai-Britt Alfheim by Mhelz Catamin.

Photo of Alison and Sophie Cheng with 2016 Rio Olympian Camille Cheng on right by Mhelz Catamin.

Report courtesy of Libby Alexander, Splash Foundation, Hong Kong.

March 18th's charity event in Hong Kong raised over HK500,000 for the Splash Foundation, Hong Kong's only charitable swim school for domestic workers and low-income kids.

Co-founder Libby Alexander explained, "Nearly 300 swimmers in 44 relay teams took part, racing the clock to see how many laps they could swim in 30 minutes. Companies, families, schools, swim clubs, and migrant workers have given adults and kids from marginalised communities in Hong Kong opportunities to learn to swim as a result.

Our aim was to bring together people from different backgrounds who share a love of swimming. It was amazing how the Hong Kong community pulled together to create a special day for our Splash graduates, who every other day of the week give so much to Hong Kong families.

The course record was smashed by Olympians, Camille Cheng, Sandy Chan, Hannah Wilson and 'Splashers' Lynly Flores and Richmond de Los Reyes.

The event, hosted by Canadian International School, brought together experienced swimmers with Splash graduates, some of whom had only learned to swim in the last few months.

"Today is the best experience ever," said Vilma Domaoal. "I never thought I would have the chance to swim in the same race as Olympians."

The Splash Dash Relay was sponsored by leading international law firm, Herbert Smith Freehills, and organised by Splash that is dedicated to bringing swimming opportunities to migrant workers, refugees and underprivileged young people in Hong Kong.

Linh Carpenter, Race Director and Senior Splash Coach said, "In the space of three years we have taught more than 1,200 people to swim; some of whom, for one reason or another, never had the means nor the opportunity to do so before. Many people today were swimming in their first competitive race. It was the culmination of their remarkable determination to learn an invaluable life skill. Today, they showed the rest of Hong Kong what they can do."

For more information on Splash Foundation, visit www.splashfoundation.org.

Copyright © 2008-2018 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Sunday, March 18, 2018

How Do You Define Warm And Cold In The Open Water?

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Swimmers who train daily in Ireland and Scotland may have a different perspective and definitions of water temperatures than swimmers who reside in the Cayman Islands or Fiji, but when we think about the global perspective of open water swimming, these definitions and water temperature ranges seem like a good compromise among swimmers around the world:

Water Temperature Ranges:
Ice: 0°C - 5°C or 32°F - 41°F
Very Cold: 5.01°C - 10°C or 41.02°F - 50°F
Cold: 10.01°C - 15°C or 50.02°F - 59°F
Moderate: 15.01°C - 20°C or 59.02°F - 68°F
Warm: 20.01°C - 25°C or 68.02°F - 77°F
Very Warm: 25.01°C - 30°C or 77.02°F - 86°F
Hot: 30.01°C - 35°C or 86.02°F - 95°F

Copyright © 2008-2018 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Back to the Beach For 10 Years

Courtesy of Jane Cairns, East Beach, Santa Barbara, California.

The Reef & Run Series series in Santa Barbara, California returns for its 10th season in 2018.

The theme is Back to the Beach for the series that begins on Thursday, June 7th and continues each Thursday until August 23rd. The events start every Thursday at 6:30 pm at the Cabrillo Bathhouse at East Beach. The Boat to Beach race, for which participants must qualify, will be held on August 30th. The season pass covers the 12 weekly events, but not the Boat to Beach race.

Early Bird Season Passes are available for US$100 to enjoy the races and post-race live bands and after-party food. Walk-up entry fees for each individual event during the season remains $15 per night.

The proceeds donated in 2017 bring the total to US$10,200 given to the local Junior Lifeguards program in the last six years and US$9,000 to the Nick Johnson Memorial Fund in the last four years.

For more information, visit ReefandRun.org.

Copyright © 2008-2018 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Diego López Wins Swim For Haiti Before Continents Seven

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Just prior to setting off on his Continents Seven global tour, Diego López Dominguez defended his title by winning the 10 km race at the Swim for Haiti event on January 28th for the second year in a row.

From Haiti, he returned to New York and then worked his way to the 25 km Port to Pub race in Western Australia by training in Waikiki Beach (Hawaii), Tauranga (New Zealand), Sydney (Australia), and during finishing third overall in the 2.6 km Sand to Surf race in Mount Maunganui (New Zealand) in his build-up to the Port to Pub.

The 2018 Hotel Rottnest Port to Pub was cancelled due to exceedingly rough water conditions, but López is still pushing forward with his plans. "On the way back, I chose to fly via the Atlantic Ocean, so this will represent my second Round-The-World trip in six months - this time westbound and in 12 days."

Official 10 km Results:
1 Diego López Dominguez (Spain) 2 hours 28 minutes
2 Devon Peavoy (Canada) 2 hours 53 minutes
3 Bill Ireland (USA) 3 hours 0 minutes
4 Naomy Grand'Pierre (Haiti) 3 hours 8 minutes
5 Maureen Holohan (USA) 3 hours 21 minutes
6 Dr. Marc Bisseck (USA) 3 hours 25 minutes
7 Benjamin Tam (USA) 4 hours 1 minutes
8 Oliver Lee (USA) 4 hours 30 minutes
9 Kristine Buckley (USA) 4 hours 55 minutes
DNF Gary Emich (USA)
DNF Callum Giblett

Official 1.5 km Top 10 Results
1 Spencer Driscoll 16:00
2 Danielle Bisseck 19:00
3 Antony Noel 20:00
4 Fritz Ariel Moise 22:00
5 Salim Loxley 24:00
6 Genevieve Duvivier F N 0:25:00
7 Richard Fournier 25:00
8 Papy Dossous 25:00
9 Alejandro Allonce 26:00
10 Susan Bisseck 27:00

The Swim for Haiti event raised money for Watering Minds, an organization that subsidizes clean water for schools in Haiti.

To follow López on the Continents Seven, visit here.

Copyright © 2008-2018 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Dreaming About The Open Water

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Open water swimmers often experience dreams of swimming in the ocean.

Their dreams range from intensely interesting and thoroughly enjoyable to simply frustrating and downright scary. Sometimes, swimmers have described swimming effortlessly in very cold water, but they feel comfortably warm.

Conversely, swimmers have experienced nightmares where something was holding them underwater and they did not have the strength to get to the surface.

Some examples are below:

Ram Barkai (founder of the International Ice Swimming Association from Cape Town, South Africa): "When I watch BBC Earth and Planet Blue and all these beautiful oceans documentaries, I dream about swimming underwater, in the waves under the ice as if I was one of them. Some look at the sky and some want to fly like a bird. I dream of swimming under the ice like a seal. It is not the power of a water epic predator that attracts me; it is the freedom of being able to breathe under water and not feeling the ice."

John Mix (founder of FINIS from northern California, USA): "A recurring dream of mine is swimming underwater in big open blue water 10-20 foot depth looking up into the outside world - is total euphoria with no need to get air, just endless beauty, really weird but the dream has happened so many times and I always wake up thinking OMG that was so awesome."

Steven Munatones (founder of the World Open Water Swimming Association from southern California, USA): "I often experience dreams of swimming in the ocean. Sometimes, I see myself swimming so fast that I elevate out of the water and skim over the surface with a surreal grace. Other times, I find myself swimming endlessly and unsuccessfully against an oncoming current. Very rarely, I dream about swimming UP a waterfall. Unusual perhaps, but always interesting."

Pat Gallant-Charette (channel swimming record holder from Maine, USA): "I have this recurrent dream. I’m nearing the finish line of a very lengthy marathon swim and the current is about to change. I pick up the pace and kick! kick! kick! The problem is my kicking in bed wakes me up. I always have a good chuckle and fall back to sleep."

Linda Kaiser (International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame inductee from Hawaii): "Whenever I dream of ocean swimming, I have a big shark swimming next to me. I believe it is my father, my aumakua."

Anthony McCarley (motivational speaker and channel swimmer from Pennsylvania, USA): "I think because of my sleep apnea problems, I don’t dream the same as most people. I have been trying to think of a swimming dream or nightmare, but other than ones that have really happened, I can’t think of a recent one. However, when I was a kid, I often had nightmares of drowning. Can’t tell you how often I had them, but a lot. One of the reasons why I forced myself to learn to swim at age 13 was to combat that nightmare and fear."

Nuala Moore (ice swimmer from Ireland): "I swim through my plans in my thoughts when I go to bed. Often times, I wake up having completed my swims. I go through all the possible difficult scenarios of my swims. In the last few weeks in particular, I swim through the open water scenarios that I may face south of Cape Horn and go through all my possible eventualities. The winds are big and the swell so I guess I was subconsciously focusing on it.

I woke myself up the last morning with a jolt swimming in rough conditions saying “I’m in, I’m in” as the team were hauling me into the boat. Being separated from the zodiac and being unable to get out of the water, are two of the greatest challenges for me. The teams need to know how to respond to both and I need to be able to handle the moment when it happens. I close my eyes at night and go through all the strategies that will need to be prep’d for and I prepare.

The realization that I was in bed and not in the water made me smile as I rolled over and went back to sleep

What kinds of dreams have you had?

Copyright © 2008-2018 by World Open Water Swimming Association

From Neoprene To Bioprene In The Extreme

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Ice Ironmen and Ice Ironwomen are the most rare of aquatic athletes - they can push themselves to the extreme in triathlons and ice swimming. In order to become an Ice Ironman or Ice Ironwoman, these athletes must complete both an Ice Mile and a full Ironman triathlon.

Andrew Ainge, a 47-year-old extreme athlete from Leeds, England, is the latest member of the club.

After completing a number of half and full Ironman triathlons, Ainge ditched his neoprene wraps and went full bore bioprene in the open water swimming world.

Starting in January last year, he began hard-core hardening training and completed Ice Kilometers and other cold water swims in water temperatures ranging from 1.5°C to 9.3°C up to 2.5 km. After ripping off a 19 minute 56.2 second Ice Kilometer at the International Ice Swimming Association Great Britain Championships in Doncaster, he was ready to take on an Ice Mile.

He returned to the 10 Mar 2018 Hatfield Outdoor Activity Centre in Doncaster and completed his first Ice Mile in 40 minute 15 seconds in 3.6°C water to become an Ice Ironman.

He describes his next evolution as an endurance and extreme athlete. "I seem to have become addicted to cold water swimming and am now training to swim the English Channel in 2019. I never would have guessed a year ago that I would be ice swimming. Totally bonkers."

Copyright © 2008-2018 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Extreme Baltic Challenge Kicks Off From Tolkmicko

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Viktor Bogdańskiego and Wojciech Kostrzewa finished 1-2 at the 2017 Challenge Tolkmicko-Krynica Morska, an 8 km course from Tolkmicko to Krynica in Vistula Lagoon in the Gulf of Gdańsk, Poland between June 23rd and 25th for both soloists or teams.

Extreme Baltic Challenge event director Sebastian Karaś [shown on left] explains the event, "With anticipated strong winds and 18-20°C water temperatures, most swimmers take between 2.5 and 3 hours to complete the course.

The entry fee includes an escort boat with pilot with safety crew (including a paramedic) and room on the boat for two additional support crew members

For more information, email Kontakt@Balticchallenge.Com.Pl or visit here for the English-language page.

Karaś and his event partner Maciej Stachowicz organize not only the 8 km Challenge Tolkmicko-Krynica Morska, but also the 12 km Challenge Rewa-Jastarnia, the 18 km Challenge Gdynia-Hel and the 100 km Challenge Kołobrzeg-Bornholm as part of the Extreme Baltic Challenge series.

Copyright © 2008-2018 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Dutch Duo Dominate In Doha

Courtesy of FINA, Doha, Qatar.

The Dutch duo of Sharon van Rouwendaal and Ferry Weertman [shown above] won the first stop on the FINA/HOSA Marathon Swim World Series in 2 hours 2 minutes 24.4 seconds and 1 hour 52 minues 41.6 seconds respectively.

The 2016 Olympic champions from the Netherlands kicked off their 2018 open water swimming campaign with powerful performances over a field of global stars from 24 countries in Doha, Qatar.

Van Rouwendaal sprinted home over Germany’s Leonie Beck by 0.8 seconds with German teammate Finnia Wunram closely behind in 1.5 seconds later.

Italy had four teammates in the top four, led by Olympic pool swimmer Martina De Memme in fifth. While long-time veteran Angela Maurer finished 22nd at the age of 42, only 49 seconds behind the winner.

On the men's side, Ferry Weertman finished first in 0.9 seconds over France’s David Aubry with Italy’s Simone Ruffini coming in 0.2 seconds later. It was clear that Weertman fully intends to continue his winning ways in this quadrennial after his 2016 Olympic victory and 2017 world championship victory.

"It is going to be very difficult to beat Ferry down the finish this year and in the foreseeable future," predicted Steven Munatones. "His pool swimming times this past winter point to his flat-out speed. Combined with his stamina, strength and savvy, his speed enables him to stand on top of the podium after every race he focuses on. With his 1:46.52 in the 200m freestyle, 3:44.38 in the 400m freestyle, and 15:06.31 in the 1500m freestyle at the Dutch national championships last December, Feery is ready to show off his talents throughout this coming summer."

In a nod to other swimmers to watch during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics quadrennial, Italy's Gregorio Paltrinieri 1500m specialist finished fifth while Japan's Yasunari Hirai was the only non Dutch-German-Italian-French man to finish in the top 10.

Official Women's Results:
1. Sharon van Rouwendaal (Netherlands) 2:02:24.40
2. Finnia Wunram (Germany) 2:02:26.70
4. Martina de Memme (Italy) 2:02:26.90
6. Arianna Bridi (Italy) 2:02:28.30
8. Oceane Maryse Jeannie Cassignol (France) 2:02:30.80
9. Giulia Gabbrielleschi (Italy) 2:02:32.00
11. Lara Grangeon (France) 2:02:34.10
13. Alice Dearing (Great Britain) 2:02:34.80
15, Adeline Furst (France) 2:02:58.70
16. Lisa Lydie Madeleine Pou (France) 2:03:02.00
17. Esmee Vermeulen (Netherlands) 2:03:07.60
19. Viviane Jungblut (Brazil) 2:03:09.30
21. Angela Maurer (Germany) 2:03:13.50
23. Lea Boy (Germany) 2:03:21.80
24. Kalliopi Araouzou (Greece) 2:03:29.20
26. Stephanie Horner (Canada) 2:03:46.50
28. Jeannette Spiworks (Germany) 2:03:56.50
30. Xin Xin (China) 2:04:01.50
32. Souad Nefissa Cherouati (Algeria) 2:06:50.70
34. Eva Bonnet (Belgium) 2:10:06.70
36. Phoebe Louise Griffiths (Great Britain) 2:12:49.80
38. Ilona Michele Lourdes Maille (France) 2:14:07.80
39. Claire Georgina Anne-Marie Six (France) 2:14:11.80
DSQ Shan Lei (China)

Official Men's Results:
1. Ferry Weertman (Netherlands) 1:52:41.60
2. David Aubry (France) 1:52:42.50
3. Simone Ruffini (Italy) 1:52:42.70
4. Axel Reymond (France) 1:52:43.00
5. Gregorio Paltrinieri (Italy) 1:52:43.10
6. Matteo Furlan (Italy) 1:52:44.00
7. Rob Frederik Muffels (Germany) 1:52:47.00
9. Logan Fontaine (France) 1:52:48.90
10. Christian Reichert (Germany) 1:53:07.80
12. Victor Johansson (Sweden) 1:53:08.60
14. Tobias Patrick Robinson (Great Britain) 1:53:10.10
16. Alberto Martinez Murcia (Spain) 1:53:10.90
18. Mario Sanzullo (Italy) 1:53:12.00
20. Aubin Louis Coccordano (France) 1:53:14.00
22. Pepijn Smits (Netherlands) 1:53:15.30
24. Allan do Carmo (Brazil) 1:53:18.70
26. Marcel Schouten (Netherlands) 1:53:20.40
28. Fernando Ponte (Brazil) 1:53:24.30
30. Clement Raymond Daniel Batte (France) 1:53:25.80
31. Alexis Leon Lucien Vandevelde (France) 1:53:25.80
32, Enzo Alexandre Pascal Roldan Munoz (France) 1:53:26.00
33. Nicolas Masse-Savard (Canada) 1:53:28.50
35. Bailey Armstrong (Australia) 1:53:33.60
37. Jean-Baptiste Yann Hubert Clusman (France) 1:55:17.10
39. Naim Mokhfi (France) 1:55:21.50
41. Hugo Frederic Emmanuel Saillard (France) 1:55:25.60
43. Kaito Watanuki (Japan) 1:55:28.40
45. Baptiste Alexandre Colmant (France) 1:55:29.00
46. Hau-Li Fan (Canada) 1:55:29.70
48. Clement Jean Gerard Kukla (France) 1:55:31.00
49. Shuyi Liu (China) 1:55:49.50
51. Pablo le Corre (France) 1:56:08.10
53. Nicholas Sloman (Australia) 1:56:28.10
55. Farid Zitouni (France) 1:56:38.30
57. Jules Laurent Wallart (France) 1:57:47.10
59. Eric Hedlin (Canada) 1:58:28.00
61. Yosuke Aoki (Japan) 1:58:43.80
63. Marin Remy Corneille Debril (France) 1:59:09.70
65. Aiman Al Qasmi (Oman) 2:08:14.30
67. Leo Jean-Charles Ammar Ouabdesselam (France) 2:09:49.20
68. Bertrand Payet (Seychelles)
DNF Damien Payet (Seychelles)

Copyright © 2008-2018 by World Open Water Swimming Association

A Thank You Gift from WOWSA

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

Open Water Swimming Magazine Anniversary Issue
File Size: 13MB


Download the file to your computer, and then right-click to extract the magazine which is inside the zip folder. The magazine is in PDF format.

CLICK HERE to download your free copy now.

Open Water Swimming Magazine

Open Water Swimming Magazine

The Open Water Swimming Magazine is the monthly magazine entirely focused on open water swimming heroes and heroines of every age, ability, and background. Published by the World Open Water Swimming Association, the Open Water Swimming Magazine is a free benefit to WOWSA members.

WOWSA Member Benefits include 12 issues of the Open Water Swimming Magazine, the annual 276-page Open Water Swimming Almanac, a free listing in Sponsor My Swim, outstanding product discounts from FINIS, an entry in Openwaterpedia and more...

The Other Shore

The Other Shore follows world record holder and legendary swimmer Diana Nyad as she comes out of a thirty-year retirement to re-attempt an elusive dream: swimming 103 miles non-stop from Cuba to Florida without the use of a shark cage. Her past and present collide in her obsession with a feat that nobody has ever accomplished. At the edge of The Devil’s Triangle, tropical storms, sharks, venomous jellyfish, and one of the strongest ocean currents in the world, all prove to be life-threatening realities. Timothy Wheeler’s documentary brings Diana Nyad’s extraordinary adventure to life as Diana sets out to prove that will and determination are all you need to make the unimaginable possible.

2014 Open Water Swimming Almanac

An Almanac for Open Water Swimming

An almanac is essentially a body of knowledge which is so complete that it enables people in different fields to make predictions about the future of their respective industries.

This, for example, was the purpose of the traditional farmers almanacs. It enabled farmers to determine as accurately as possible which crops to plant for the greatest harvests in a given year.

But the farmers almanac was just one example among many.
There are, of course, many different kinds of almanacs.

In fact, there is even one for open water swimming...

Preview the Open Water Swimming Almanac:

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


Open Water Swimming Event Sanctioning

World Professional Marathon Swimming Federation

Open Water Race Calendar

Coaches Education Program