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Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Crossing Channels And Cultures

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

We love it when we see photos, videos and conversations between swimmers, escort crew members, and pilots from different cultures, especially when those people are brought together by their passion for the open water.

In 2015, Mexican entrepreneur Antonio Argüelles traveled to northern Japan and crossed the Tsugaru Channel in 12 hours 38 minutes.

Now the two-time 57-year-old Triple Crowner is making his final preparations for swimming between Northern Ireland and Scotland.

Copyright © 2008-2017 by World Open Water Swimming Association

The GOAT vs. The GWS

Courtesy of Discovery Channel.

In August 2008, Michael Phelps said to a Wall Street Journal reporter that there was "Not a chance. No way. I won't do open water" when the Greatest Of All Time was asked about marathon swimming - a new event at the 2008 Beijing Olympics where Phelps outdid every athlete in Olympic history by winning 8 gold medals.

But times - and people and outlooks - change.

Off Bimini Island in the Bahamas, Phelps filmed an episode called Phelps Vs. Shark: The Battle for Ocean Supremacy that will be broadcast globally on the Discovery Channel's SHARK WEEK on July 23rd. He evidently swam head-to-head (in some fashion) against a Great White Shark and the Discovery Channel was there to capture the footage.

On July 30th, Phelps will also appear in the SHARK SCHOOL WITH MICHAEL PHELPS episode. "Michael Phelps joins Doc Gruber and Tristan Guttridge of the Bimini Shark Lab to get a crash course on everything ‘shark.’ They’ll dispel the myths and common misconceptions, teach him how to safely dive with sharks - including how to stay calm when a hammerhead swims two feet above his face - and will get Michael Phelps up close and personal with the incredible power of a great white."

The episodes are produced by Peacock Productions that will air the episodes during the same week in more than 220 countries and territories.

Copyright © 2008-2017 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Elaine Howley Interviews And Articles

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Elaine Kornbau Howley was interviewed on All Sides with Ann Fisher, a daily radio program from WOSU Public Media at the Ohio State University.

The ice swimmer and Triple Crowner from Massachusetts has been one of the most prolific and influential writers of open water swimming over the last several years. But her topics cover much, much more than swimming - her grasp of myriad issues is as impressive as the variety of open bodies of water she has swum in.

She authoritatively speaks about COPD (Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) with a National Public Radio affiliate [listen here].

For more information on her work with AARP, espnW, SWIMMER Magazine and Atlas Obscura, visit here.

Copyright © 2008-2017 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Ocean Wise Series – Part One

Courtesy of Bruckner Chase, Ocean Positive, Ocean City, New Jersey.

Bruckner Chase's Ocean Positive and the Ocean City Swim Club are now part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Weather Ready Nation Ambassador program.

They will launch a summer series on beach and ocean safety, science, and conservation.

This is Part One of the Ocean Wise Series: Building Safer, Stronger, Wiser And Faster Open Water And Ocean Athletes:

Swimming is an intellectual pursuit.

Winter pool time is spent mastering lane etiquette, stroke mechanics and interval protocols beside turbulence decreasing lane lines, but now it’s time to enter the more intimidating world of wind, waves and wildlife.

The best open water swimmers are not always the fastest, but rather those that can read, adapt and embrace challenging conditions that can change in an instant. The ocean in particular is not a place to put on headphones, program your watch and just head through the waves. Long before performance becomes a goal, safety and returning to shore has to come first.

Making sure every open water session begins and ends well requires planning and awareness with a knowledge base of the environment and indicators of when to go out and when to stay on shore. There is a reason that the mantra of every ocean athlete is, “When in doubt, don’t go out.”

Over the coming months the Ocean Wise Series is going to give you the resources, tools and insights that will make every training session, race or family outing to the shore safe and positive. As more small groups, clubs and training partners start looking out at the water as a training venue our starting point is going to be some best practices on evaluating conditions and making those critical plans on shore before getting even one toe wet.

The Ocean City Swim Club in Ocean City, New Jersey has been hosting weekly ocean workouts for over eight years. Here are the steps that the club goes through before every workout:

• Forecasting and Current Conditions with Apps: Surfline, SwellInfo, WeatherBug, Tides, AccuWeather, Windy, SeaStatus
• Forecasting and Current Conditions with websites: NOAA NWS Rip Currents, NOAA NWS Experimental Beach Forecast, NOAA National Data Buoy Center
• Ocean Safety, Science and Conservation Education: NOAA Ocean Today

All this provides the information to make a call. The challenging part becomes applying all that information to the planned workout. Race and workout organizers should be looking at all or most of these factors long before they set up, but only the swimmer can determine their own limits.

There are beach sessions with chest-high breaking waves and 15 mph winds that some athletes will love, but these are NOT the conditions for the beginner who just finished their first full winter of pool workouts for their first triathlon. Often a new athlete won’t fully know their abilities until they are in a challenging new situation. Whether that situation is a race or just a training session in a local lake the presence of trained, professional lifeguards capable of making the right decisions and actions are critical.

Especially when the ocean is involved even the best forecasting tools predicting ideal conditions can be wrong.

Even if there is no rain or thunder or fog...at the moment lifeguards, coaches and organizers have to anticipate what the conditions may be in an hour when there are tens or even hundreds of people swimming far offshore. Dangerous situations can come up, and this time of year dense fog is one of those. A fog bank can roll in within minutes and swimmers just 100 meters from shore may no longer be able to see land.

Any condition that affects visibility not only impacts a swimmer's ability to see a buoy, but also a lifeguard’s ability to see the swimmers. Forecasting and information always come down to having the confidence and wisdom to stand by the mantra, “When in doubt, don’t go out.”

Here’s a best practices timeline for making a call before any open water workout:

• Make a preliminary assessment the night before that should represent an 80% degree of confidence.
• Make a second assessment the morning of or roughly 2.5 to 1.5 hours before hitting the water with a 90% degree of confidence.
• Make a final decision at the shore with a 98% degree of confidence leaving that final 2% to the unexpected that may cut a swim short.
• Be prepared for the 2% by adding in some protective factors like the following:

o Always swim near a lifeguard
o Swim with recognized, professional coaches, organizers and race directors with safety protocols and equipment on-hand
o Let people know where you are and when you are going in
o Always have an emergency exit and safe zone plan to get out of the water
o Tow or carry floatation or rescue tubes for visibility and support
o Dress appropriately for before, during and after water time

Open water swimming is like mountain climbing in that no outing is a success unless you make it safely back to home.

All of us want to help you reach your endurance potential, and they key to doing that is insuring you can have a long lifetime of positive experiences on the road, trail and water. We hope this series moves you towards making you the wisest, safest and strongest athlete on the water.

Want to learn more or take part in creating a safer, Weather Ready Nation? Check out NOAA’s Weather-Ready Nation program.

Copyright © 2008-2017 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Benjamin Freeman Swims Swiftly Around Manhattan

Courtesy of New York Open Water, Manhattan Island, New York.

The first of four swims of the 20 Bridges Manhattan Island Swim was held on June 24th when blistering fast Benjamin Freeman of Australia comfortably won the 45.8 km circumnavigation swim around Manhattan Island in New York in 6 hours 55 minutes 21 seconds.

The 19-year-old from Australian is two-thirds the way to the Triple Crown of Open Water Swimming (he completed a crossing of the English Channel in 9 hours 10 minutes at the age of 17).

The next 20 Bridges swim dates begin July 21st, August 18th and September 7th.

20 Bridges Manhattan Swim Results
1. Benjamin Freeman (Australia) 6 hours 55 minutes 21 seconds
2. Ryan Utsumi (USA) 7 hours 17 minutes 11 seconds
3. Kurt Dickson (USA) 7 hours 26 minutes 40 seconds
4. Dina Levačić (Croatia) 7 hours 33 minutes 36 seconds
5. Erika Norris (USA) 7 hours 45 minutes 36 minutes
6. Kristian O'Donovan (Ireland) 7 hours 45 minutes 37 seconds
7. Joe Zemaitis (USA) 7 hours 45 minutes 37 seconds
8. John Zemaitis (USA) 7 hours 51 minutes 25 seconds
9. Prabhat Koli (India) 8 hours 5 minutes 7 seconds
10. Katie Pumphrey (USA) 8 hours 11 minutes 20 seconds
11. Tom Linthicum (USA) 9 hours 3 minutes 45 seconds
12. Laura Picardo (USA) 9 hours 6 minutes 37 seconds

For more information on the next dates, results and registration, visit New York Open Water.

Copyright © 2008-2017 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Prabhat Koli Achieves The Triple Crown

Courtesy of Sally Minty-Gravett, Manhattan Island, New York.

In the first of four swims of the 2017 20 Bridges Manhattan Island Swim series, 18-year-old Prabhat Raju Koli of India became the youngest male swimmer to complete the Triple Crown of Open Water Swimming.

Coached by Sally Minty-Gravett of Jersey, he completed the Triple Crown with a 8 hour 5 minute circumnavigation of Manhattan Island to complements his 13 hour 14 minute English Channel crossing at the age of 16 and his 10 hour 30 minute Catalina Channel crossing at the age of 17.

Only Charlotte Samuels (USA) and Lachlan Hinds are the only other teenagers who are Triple Crowners. Their record of achievements are as follows:

1. Charlotte Samuels: completed at the age of 16 [EC: 2014 (16), CC: 2014 (16), MIMS: 2014 (16)]
2. Prabhat Koli: completed at the age of 17 [EC: 2015 (16), CC: 2016 (17), 20 Bridges: 2017 (17)]
3. Lachlan Hinds: completed at the age of 18 [EC: 2012 (16), CC: 2013 (18), MIMS: 2013 (17)]

For more information on the next dates, results and registration, visit New York Open Water.

For more information on the Triple Crown of Open Water Swimming, visit here or here.

Copyright © 2008-2017 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Climate Changing Coral

Courtesy of UNESCO’s World Heritage Centre.

UNESCO’s World Heritage Centre released its global scientific assessment of climate change impacts on World Heritage coral reefs.

21 of 29 World Heritage reefs are being subjected to severe and/or repeated heat stress that has led to some of the worst bleaching observed at iconic sites like the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, Phoenix Islands Protected Area in Kiribati, Papahānaumokuākea in Hawaii, Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System in Belize, Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park in the Philippines, the Lagoons of New Caledonia in France, and the Aldabra Atoll in Seychelles.

Its analysis predicts that all 29 coral-containing World Heritage sites would cease to exist as functioning coral reef ecosystems by the end of this century under a business-as-usual emissions scenario.

To download the free publication, visit here.

Copyright © 2008-2017 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Navigating The Navarino Challenge

The 5th annual Navarino Challenge, photography courtesy of Elias Lefas.

The 2017 Navarino Challenge is a multi-sport event that includes a 1.6 km open water swim in Navarino Bay at the port of Pylos in the Ionian Sea.

The event will be held October 13th-15th in Messinia and Costa Navarino, Greece.

The course was designed by the Greek national open water swimming team Technical Director Nikos Gemelos.

For more information, visit www.navarinochallenge.com.

Copyright © 2008-2017 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Monday, June 26, 2017

Rachele Bruni Gearing Up For World Championships

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Expect the unexpected in the open water.

On the week that Cindy Toscano won the 10 km Confederación Centroamericana y del Caribe de Natación Championships in 3 hours 27 minutes, Italy’s Olympic silver medalist Rachele Bruni completed in a 10 km course in Setúbal Bay, Portugal at the FINA/HOSA 10km Marathon Swimming World Cup in less than half the time.

Bruni won another FINA World Cup race during her career in 1 hour 37 minutes 36.28 seconds over newcomer Viviane Jungblut of Brazil who finished a close second in 1:37:37.23 and Ecuador's Olympian Samantha Arevalo in 1:37:42.94.

Italy's Arianna Bridi and Brazil’s Ana Marcela Cunha finished fourth and fifth respectively.

Bruni's victory sets her up quite nicely heading to the 2017 FINA World Swimming Championships in Hungary.

Copyright © 2008-2017 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Kristóf Rasovszky Getting Ready For Hungary

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Expect the unexpected in the open water.

On the week that the winner of the Confederación Centroamericana y del Caribe de Natación (CCCAN) Championships in Trinidad & Tobago swam 3 hours 3 minutes on a 10 km course, Hungary’s Kristóf Rasovszky completed the 10 km course in Portugal at the FINA/HOSA 10km Marathon Swimming World Cup in less than half the time.

Rasovszky won his first FINA World Cup race in 1 hour 29 minutes 50.97 seconds over a top-notch field of largely Europeans with a smattering of Japanese and South Americans in Setúbal Bay.

His victory comes after his victory at the 2017 LEN European Open Water Swimming Cup in Eilat, Israel and before heading to the 2017 FINA World Swimming Championships in his native country.

Great timing.

Top 36 Results
1. Kristóf Rasovszky (Hungary) 1:29:50.97
2. Rob Muffels (Germany) 1:29:52.97
3. Andrea Manzi (Italy) 1:29:59.06
4. Marcel Schouten (Netherlands) 1:30:00.06
5. Simone Ruffini (Italy) 1:30:00.33
6. Federico Vanelli (Italy) 1:30:01.72
7. Ferry Weertman (Netherlands) 1:30:02.33
8. Christian Reichert (Germany) 1:30:08.19
9. Caleb Hughes (Great Britain) 1:30:08.69
10. Pepyn Smits (Netherlands) 1:30:08.98
11. Allan Do Carmo (Brazil) 1:30:09.17
12. Tobias Robinson (Great Britain) 1:30:09.40
13. Andreas Waschburger (Germany) 1:30:11.06
14. Diogo Villarinho (Brazil) 1:30:15.15
15. Yuval Safra (Israel) 1:30:19.48
16. Yasunari Hirai (Japan) 1:30:23.40 [shown at finish above]
17. Matteo Furlan (Italy) 1:30:24.45
18. Simon Huitenga (Australia) 1:30:24.80
19. Alexander Studzinski (Germany) 1:30:25.04
20. Krzysztof Pielowski (Poland) 1:30:27.14
21. Ochoa Enderica (Ecuador) 1:30:29.99
22. Guilermo Bertola (Argentina) 1:30:36.45
23. Joaquin Moreno Munoz (Argentina) 1:30:36.72
24. Yohsuke Miyamoto (Japan) 1:30:48.50
25. Migul Armijos Castillo (Ecuador) 1:30:55.81
26. Jan Urbaniak (Poland) 1:31:29.04
27. Taiki Nonaka (Japan) 1:31:39.49
28. Yosuke Aoki (Japan) 1:31:41.14
29. Elliot Sodemann (Sweden) 1:32:21.06
30. Shay Toledano (Israel) 1:33:00.83
31. Santiago Enderica Salgado (Ecuador) 1:33:03.16
32. David Farinango (Ecuador) 1:33:08.33
33. Nicolaos Manoussakis (South Africa) 1:33:10.66
34. Fernando Ponte (Brazil) 1:34:56.53
35. Oliver Signorini (Australia) 1:37:09.81
36. Rafael Gil (Portugal) 1:37:12.65

Copyright © 2008-2017 by World Open Water Swimming Association

First Caged, Then Set Free To Magnetic Island

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

The 8 km Magnetic Island to Townsville Swim has been held in Townsville, Australia since 1954 - and it has endured significant changes since its early beginnings.

Three surf lifesavers - Kauko Kaurila, Don Howlett and George Marshall - swam in three separate shark cages from Magnetic Island to Ross Creek to celebrate a Royal visit by the Queen of England.

The first swim across this treacherous channel, a nursery ground for tiger sharks and an area often strewn with stingers, was performed in 1924 by Douglas Pitt on Australia Day who, in order to protect himself from the numerous sea creatures in the area, swam inside a shark cage made of timber and wire that was towed by a boat. The second swim was done two years later, also on Australia day, in 1926 when Bert Gard crossed in rough seas that tossed him out of his shark cage three times during his 3 hour 23 minute swim.

The fascinating stories behind these courageous swims are described in the book Caged. The First Half Century of the Magnetic Island to Townsville Swim. Photo above shows Father Neptune (Stan Wallwork) with Kauko Kaurila, Don Howlett and George Marshall in 1954 (photo courtesy of Bev White).

Dial forward 63 years and the race in modern times has continued successfully with hundreds of swimmers accomplishing the swim, including such Australian luminaries as Susie Maroney, Melissa Cunningham, Tracey Wickham, Duncan Armstrong, Dick Campion, John Koorey, Shelley Taylor-Smith, Josh Santacaterina, as well as Chris Palfrey (12 times) and Penny Palfrey (14 times) who have completed the shark-cage swim the most number of times.

But in 2007, the Townsville Open Water Swimming Association decided to make the Magnetic Island Swim cageless, enabling many more than the previous maximum of 11 solo swimmers to compete.

As a result, the number of race entrants increased from 11 in 2007 to 56 in 2008 and 67 in 2009.

With arguably the world’s most comprehensive and well-thought out safety plan, the race organization seems to have balanced safety requirements with popular demand.

Race director and president of the Townsville Open Water Swimming Association Inc. (TOWSA) John Barratt talks about this change:

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: How did you manage the shark situation over the last two years? Did you change the safety plan as a result of the eliminating the shark cages? If so, how?

John Barratt: From the photographs, you can see how we went for the first time without the cages. At the start of the race where some swimmers are standing in the knee-deep water and shortly after the start when swimmers meet up with their accompanying paddler, you can see our new arrangements.

The cages that were used in the 1954 event were made of 44 gallon drums, wood and chicken wire. Better cages were built in later years but they still needed to be put into the water using a large crane and required boats that were capable of pulling a cage with a big drag factor. Trawlers were perfect, but not always available. In addition, a support dinghy was lashed to the side of each cage for the swimmer’s coach or handler and a official observer to ensure a fair swim.

In some years, with the wind at 25 knots, the cages, dinghy and the swimmer and people in the dinghy, got knocked around. The cages are only about 10 feet long, 5 feet wide and by 6 feet deep. The swimmers tried to swim at the front of the cage, but constantly got moved from side to side and towards the back of the cage through the actions of the wind and waves and surge of the tow rope.

There were plenty of cuts and bruised hands. Quite often, the lashings would come loose and the support dinghy came adrift. When we did the disclosure to our insurers, we noted that we were removing these dangerous elements associated with the cages!

We only had 11 cages and this factor meant that the swim would always be limited in participation. We could get more cages, but we would have difficulty in getting tow boats. Even with 11 cages and boats, things used to get messy with tow ropes around propellers, cages sinking just before the start of the race and tow ropes getting tangled between tow boats as swimmers tried to pass each other.

The decision to swim without cages was taken to encourage greater participation and remove these hassles. But, to swim without shark protection was still an issue. In fact, the course for the swim goes past shark 'drum lines' which are used to protect the beaches of Townsville and Magnetic Island.

The course is marked with large pink buoys and swimmers are required to stay within the course boundaries to avoid being swept northwards with the prevailing current. The plan to ensure swimmer safety is to have every swimmer accompanied by a paddler on a surf-ski, kayak or outrigger canoe.

In addition, we had a number of motor boats on the course. The paddler could assist the swimmer to keep on course, provide water or support if they have a cramp, etc., and could signal to one of the boats for attention in the event of an emergency. We have a sufficient number of boats to get all of the swimmers out of the water if required.

The swimmer has to meet up with their paddler by the time they reach a buoy about 500 meters off the beach. [Organizing] 50 swimmers and paddlers gets a bit messy but most seem to work it out. In 2009, we had the added support of the local surf lifesaving clubs. Their rigid inflatable boats (RIB’s) are very maneuverable and add extra noise in the water which deters any marine life (sharks) that may be any the area. Of course, we have first-aid at hand in the event of any problems. This year, we did have one swimmer who was removed from the water due to hypothermia. It wasn't particularly cold (21°C), but he didn't have the in-built insulation that some of us do.

Stingers are also prevalent in tropical waters during summer. They may occur later in the year which is one of the reasons that we have allowed the use of fast-skin and blueseventy style full swim suits. We are considering a category for wetsuits in 2010.

So, that is what we did about the sharks and the fact that swimmers are out in the big blue without a black line to follow. Now, let me tell you about the crocodiles…

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: What is the response from the swimmers, parents, community and local media as a result of the elimination of the shark cages?

John Barratt: The local media were very quick to report that we were going to do a cage-less swim. Local fishermen, previous swim organizers and even a local politician were quoted about the dangers of sharks in the area. Each year, the government releases figures about the numbers of sharks caught in the region through the beach protection scheme. Fisherman have lots of tales to tell about sharks biting off the biggest fish they had ever caught just as they had got it to the boat.

We knew about the sharks and have put in place measures to minimize the risks. The newspaper did note that there were open water swims conducted all over the world with similar issues. Despite a bit of initial negativity, the local media have been very supportive of the event.

With the restriction on numbers lifted, many adult swimmers have jumped at the chance to do the swim. Chris Bell who did the swim in 1959 did it again in 2009. Younger swimmers are still a bit cautious, although the winner in 2008 was a 16-year-old lifesaver. In 2009, the second female home was a 15-year-old local girl who has since gone on to win open water events at the State level.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: Do you foresee continued growth in your event?

John Barratt: The swim has been strongly supported over many years by Penny and Chris Palfrey. They have done the swim more times than anybody else. Having done swims like Rottnest Channel Swim, they were keen to see the swim grow and used their knowledge from other swims to make a major contribution in establishing procedures for the initial cage-less swim.

Chris was particularly keen to see the event grow to be as good and as big a draw card as the Rottnest Channel Swim. We certainly want to keep improving the event and making it attractive to swimmers to put on their 'must do' list.

At the moment, we have coped with the increase in numbers from 11 swimmers to 69 in 2009. If we get more swimmers, we will need more paddlers or a different safety arrangement. We are working with the local council to put in onto the events calendar.

During July 2010, this included everything from V8 motor racing, the Townsville Cup horse races and National Rugby League games to the Chamber Music Festival

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: What happened to the old shark cages?

John Barratt: Each year after the swim we returned the cages to a holding area at the Port of Townsville. They are aluminum and occasionally needed repairs to the wire or the floatation. In 2006, one cage was almost wrecked when the bottom got caught on the coral reef off Picnic Bay.

The cages are still in storage with a few weeds growing through the wire. We have thought about sending one to the local museum and the rest to the local scrap metal dealer, but if there is anyone out there who thinks they have a better use then please get in touch. Rob Hutchings, who did the Magnetic Swim in 2008, has decided to go with a Shark Shield for his Great Barrier Reef Swim so he won't need one

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: Can you explain the photograph (below)?

John Barratt: The race starts on Picnic Bay Beach on Magnetic Island and swimmers head towards the middle of the Strand Beach, Townsville. Because there is a coral reef just off Picnic Bay, we make the swimmers do a bit of a dog leg swim at the start. They go straight off the beach for about 400 meters and then take a right turn to head towards Castle Hill. That’s why the photo with Castle Hill in the background shows swimmers heading in what appears to in the wrong direction.

Now, about the crocodiles. There are major river systems to the north and south of Townsville and extensive areas of mangroves. In the last few years, there have been sightings of crocodiles off the Strand Beach as the crocodiles apparently migrate between the two river systems. This occurs during summer and not during winter when the swim is conducted.

As if the swimmers did not have enough to worry about!

The 63rd Magnetic Island Swim is now held – cageless. The Townsville Open Water Swimming Association even started a Sportsco junior 1 km swim for children under 10 as part of the Salt 66 Strand pre-qualifying swims (1 km, 2.5 km and 5 km) for its Magnetic Island Swim.

In response to concerns about swimmer safety, 11-year-old Jordan Hoffmann said, "I'm not worried about sharks. I do surf lifesaving all the time here (on The Strand)."

Courageous people, beautiful setting, challenging conditions, experienced and well-prepared race organizations – the essence of any great open water swim.

For more information about the 63rd annual event on July 30th - the 10th year the 8 km swim has gone cageless, visit here.

Copyright © 2008-2017 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Open Water Swimming Can Offset The Amazon Effect

Commentary courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

The recent acquisition of Whole Foods by Amazon is evidence that the entire retail shopping experience is rapidly changing in America - and another indirect indication that open water swimming will continue to provide a valuable outlet for humans.

From books and clothing to electronic goods and foods, retail shopping is becoming increasingly dependent upon interactive websites, smart phones and delivery services both in America and around the world. Similar to the effect of escalators and elevators, microwaves and broadband, teleconferences and the social media, there is every motivation in all walks of life for Americans to become (or remain) increasingly sedentary.

With modern conveniences, people simply do not have to move either to enjoy meals or entertainment or to conduct business or share laughs or experiences with friends.

Never before in mankind's history has this been possible for the average person.

With the growth of virtual reality and many other technologies undoubtedly to be developed in the future, we will be able to "travel" around the world, communicate with whomever we wish wherever we wish with automatic translations. And as we all know, humans can maintain relative healthfulness with an increasing array of pharmaceuticals, medical devices and artificial or replacement body parts.

But is this what the human body is meant to do: just sit around? Haven't humans developed as dynamic organisms that require movement and activity? Nowadays, we can psychologically experience adventure through videos, films and virtual reality. But humans are geared towards physicality and emotional excitement.

Often we seek peer and parental recognition and at least some degree of physical attractiveness and prowess. We have an inherent sense of achievement and pride when we are face and overcome physiological, psychological and emotional challenges.

So if humans simply sit and wait for life to come at us via smartphones, virtual reality and teleconferences - all with a click of a button while sitting in cubicles or home offices, society can rapidly lose its edge, reduce its overall dynamism, and erode its true potential.

Conversely, humans cannot stop the advance of these modern technological conveniences. If the last several decades have proved to be a precursor, mankind will become more and more deconditioned and soft as technological breakthroughs continue.

Look at photos of people in the previous centuries. The inactivity of modern-day homo sapiens have most dramatically changed the shape and vigor of mankind at the same time the average lifespan has increased fairly significantly due to medical and pharmaceutical innovations.

This is where open water swimming can help. There is uncertainty, inherent risks, and the dynamism of Mother Nature in the open water. To step beyond the shoreline and head offshore, it requires a sense of adventure and a sense of purpose. These physical and psychological challenges can help swimmers maintain their physiological edge, kickstart their adrenalin rushes, and improve their dynamism both in and out of the water.

So while technology moves mankind closer to less movement and inactivity, open water swimming - or any kind of outdoor extreme activities - can move us towards physiological wellness and an improved sense of being.

This musing is theoretical and abstract, but somehow as our dryland colleagues sit more and more, allowing their fingers to move more on a keyboard or smartphone, and doing less with their major muscle groups, open water swimming can offer its own niche opportunities to risk-takers, outdoor types, adventurers, health advocates and dynamic individuals in society.

The tools are in place at our disposal: oceans, lakes and river; swimsuits, caps and goggles.

We just need to keep plugging away in the 70% of Planet Earth covered in water. That is our mission.

Photos above show Tiffany McQueen, Ingemar Patiño Macarine, Frank Lacson, Henri Kaarma, and Amy Appelhans Gubser - swimmers who simply get up and get after life in a relentlessly purposeful, meaningful way.

Copyright © 2008-2017 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Nadar é Preciso, Elo Academia 1 Complete Leme to Pontal

Courtesy of Leme to Pontal Swimming Association (LPSA Travessia Do Leme Ao Pontal), Leme Beach, Brazil.

Team Nada e Preciso / ServRio Elevadores (or Nadar é Preciso) is a 3-person Brazilian relay that completed the 35 km Travessia do Leme ao Pontal, a course between Leme Beach to Pontal on June 24th.

Francisco Calheiros, Roberta Maldonado and Gelson Pierre Jr. completed their neoprene relay in 8 hours 32 minutes.

Adherbal de Oliveira, Secretary of the Leme to Pontal Swimming Association, reported that another relay, Elo Academia 1 completed the course on February 20th in 12 hours 16 minutes with Samir Botelho Barel and Helio Araujo Padilha Junior.

First crossed in 2008 by Luiz Lima, the 35 km coastal swim is growing fast under the guidance of Adherbal de Oliveira and Renato Ribeiro_Barbosa. "This year, we also have another 15 scheduled crossings and our first foreign swimmer, Irishman Owen O'Keefe attempt the crossing in December."

For more information on the LPSA Travessia Do Leme Ao Pontal, visit the LPSA website here or on the LPSA Facebook page.

Copyright © 2008-2017 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Michael Dale On Australian Marathon Swimming Federation

Courtesy of Michael Dale, Australian Marathon Swimming Federation.

Michael Dale reminisces about his activities as Treasurer of the Australian Marathon Swimming Federation and other activities in the 1980s:

"...the Australian Marathon Swimming Federation was quite active during the 1980’s. John Koorey was the president [he set the record for a crossing of the Cook Strait in 1981 in 5 hours 37 minutes from the South Island to the North Island]. For a number of years back then, we had a series of relay races against the Kiwis across Cook Strait. Philip Rush was the Kiwi swimmer of the day.

We were involved in providing swimmers to some of the very early open water swims where the organisers wanted some comfort that at least one swimmer would be able to complete the course. We were also supportive of, and took part in, The Cole Classic in 1982.

This swim was the first real public open water swim and continues to this day as the oldest continuous open water swim in Australia.

It is funny to look back, but in those early days the fear of sharks was really strong and the early Magnetic Island swims in Queensland were invitation-only as all the swimmers had to swim in shark cages and there were only 7 or 8 cages available. Plus, apart from the English Channel, which everyone had heard of, the concept of ‘open water’ was really new.

Des Renford and Kevin Murphy got a lot of media exposure here in Sydney in 1979 - 1980 when they had a series of challenge swims when they were both trying to be King of the Channel. From memory Kevin nominated the English Channel, Des nominated the swim from the steps at The Sydney Opera House across the harbour to the Ferry Wharf at Manly, not very far, but the whole thought of swimming across Sydney Harbour freaked most people out, hence the publicity. The third challenge was to be Loch Ness [that both men did not finish].

I had migrated to Australia from the UK in 1977 and had been very active in the British Long Distance Swimming Association for a number of years. I was part of The Paddington Mob who had won the Men’s Amateur division of the Captain Webb Centenary Channel Relay race in 1975. Overall, the swim was won by a mixed professional Egyptian team if my memory serves me right. Ah the good old days.

I had training sessions from Gerald Forsberg [shown above]. I am ex-Royal Navy as was he so I had my swimming values set early and firmly. I fondly remember him taking the temperature at various British Long Distance Swimming Association swims. He would wear a very old Navy raincoat and, to ensure a standard for every swim, he would walk into the lake/water at the starting point until the hem of the raincoat was getting wet. Then he would lean forward with his thermometer, take the temperature, and announce to the assembled swimmers the temp for the swim. He was a wonderful, albeit somewhat eccentric, Englishman

Photo of Commander Forsberg above is courtesy of Bryan Finlay of Solo Swims of Ontario.

Copyright © 2008-2017 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Manly Health and Training From 1858

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

"Persons habituated to a daily summer swim, or to the rapid wash with cold water over the whole body in the water, are far less liable to sudden colds, inflammatory diseases, or to the suffering of chronic complaints. The skin, one of the great inlets of disease, becomes tough and thick, and the processes of life are carried on with much more vigor."

So believed American poet Walt Whitman in 1858 where he wrote about the tonic and sanitary effects of cold water [see here].

From Walt Whitman's Guide to Manly Health & Training, a collection of his best quips, quotes, and extracts on healthy living, recently published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Penguin Random House.

Copyright © 2008-2017 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Devon Clifford Moving From Molokai, Onwards To Oahu

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

After completing 19.8 miles in Stage 2 and 19.8 miles in Stage 5 [affectionately known as The Bitch and The Beast) of the 8 Bridges Hudson River Swim in New York, Devon Clifford flew way westward across America and the Pacific Ocean.

Tomorrow, she will set out to swim across from the island of Molokai to the island of Oahu. "The Ka'iwi Channel spans about 26 land miles and is known to be one of the most difficult channels to swim across in the world."

Follow her crossing attempt at 5 pm Hawaii time on June 26th here.

"I'm not quite sure how long it will take me... maybe 15 hours, maybe 17, maybe more or maybe less.

Copyright © 2008-2017 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Ingemar Macarine, Frank Lacson Swim Subic

Courtesy of Ingemar Macarine, Subic Bay, Philippines.

Ingemar Patiño Macarine notched another channel crossing in his native Philippines. He is swimming along at a new channel per month pace in preparation for his upcoming attempt to become the first Filipino to cross the English Channel.

Together with Frank Lacson and their crew Willy N Ram and Enrilyn Lee and escort pilot Jimmy Suntay of the Philippine Coast Guard, their duo completed a 11.62 km tandem swim in Subic Bay from Anvaya Cove, Province of Bataan to All Hands Beach Resort in 5 hours 17 minutes.

It was their second unprecedented swim in Subic Bay after their initial swim in 2016.

Copyright © 2008-2017 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Cindy Toscano, David Carrillo Can Do At CCCAN

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Cindy Toscano , a 27-year-old from Guatemala, comfortably won the 10 km Confederación Centroamericana y del Caribe de Natación (CCCAN) Championship in Trinidad and Tobago. Meanwhile, David Carrillo Rozo, a 30-year-old from Colombia, won slightly in a tight race over Fernando Betanzos Rodriguez of Mexico [shown above] and Juan Morales of Venezuela.

But the 10 km marathon race was held over a stretched out course, significantly longer than 10 km, especially since the top three men - all capable of finishing in the Top 25 finishers at the upcoming 2017 FINA World Championships - all finished in 3 hours 3 minutes and a bit of change.

Copyright © 2008-2017 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Open Water Laws And Observations of Open Water Epicity

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

"Her swim was epic," is a phrase often bantered about after a particularly impressive open water swimmer.

Epicity is the essence, quality or state of being epic. Epicity is a measurement of how epic a given swim, situation or achievement is.

The World Open Water Swimming Association created a visual representation of Open Water Swimming Epicity. "Having the essence of being epic is particularly evident the longer, colder, faster and more extreme an open water swim, assuming that swimming in longer, colder, rougher swims faster is more difficult than the opposite," explains Steven Munatones.

"The epicity of an open water swim is in direct proposition of the swimmer's speed, water temperature, distance traversed, abundance of marine life encounters, height of waves and ocean swells, direction and speed of the wind and currents, and remoteness of the swim location."

There are various other Open Water Laws and Observations of Open Water Epicity:

OWS Observation #1: The bigger the landmark, the longer it takes to reach it in the open water.

OWS Observation #2: Swims that begin under relatively easy conditions tend to end in more difficult conditions.

OWS Observation #3: Perception of time slows and distance increases the longer the swimmer remains in the open water.

OWS Observation #4: Perception of distance increases the longer the swimmer remains in the open water.

OWS Observation #5: Perception of distance covered in the open water in darkness is less than the distance traversed in daylight.

OWS Observation #6: The pain and discomfort of a jellyfish sting in the open water is in inverse proportion to its size and visibility.

OWS Observation #7: Time spent in salt water is in direct proportion to the swelling of the tongue.

OWS Observation #8: Time spent in the open water is in direct proportion to the degree of Third Spacing.

OWS Observation #9: Cost of an escort boat is in direct proportion to the amount of diesel exhaust produced by the boat.

OWS Observation #10: Fear of marine life increases with the number of visible teeth.

OWS Observation #11: The amount of equipment needed expands to fill the space available in your carrying bag.

OWS Observation #12: Swimming into the night is more difficult than swimming into dawn.

OWS Observation #13: Landing on a sandy beach is easier than finishing on a cliff face, over coral or at a bouldery exit.

Copyright © 2008-2017 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Wish Upon A Star Now Up With The Stars

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Anne Cleveland passed away today after a long battle with pancreatic cancer.

Word spread quickly around the San Diego, California locals and the many people she touched throughout the global open water swimming community.

"People knew she was sick, but it is still quite a shock to know that she is no longer with us," said Steven Munatones.

"Every time I had the opportunity to see Anne, she smiled so genuinely and loved talking about swimming - and how the sports moves and motivates so many people who crossed her path. Her legacy is great and she set a high standard for achievement as well as giving back."

Alexandra Gessner‎ wrote about Cleveland on Facebook, "On the New Moon, beginning the next chapter of her spirit's journey - marks the day a most kind and humble soul, accomplished and inspiring open water ocean swimmer, wise and devoted Yoga and Ayurveda teacher, dearest friend and great woman warrior has left this earth. We will never forget your kindness, courage, positive spirit and sense of empowerment until the end. You left us as you lived ...

"One day at a time" was your mantra. Rest In Peace - now fly with the angels and keep on swimming! We love you, we honor you, you will be missed and live forever in our hearts.

Cleveland not only was inducted in the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame, but she also served those who followed her. She volunteered as an observer numerous times (assisting swimmers like Pat Gallant-Charette and Tobey Saracino) and coached and mentored many more.

Marcia Cleveland fondly remembers Cleveland, "She was such a mentor in the sport and so many people admired her and looked up to her. Her absence will be felt, but her memory will certainly live on." She gave her IMSHOF induction speech at the United Nations in 2011 and was later the subject of a Page One article in the Wall Street Journal.

But her success in the open water did not come easy or quickly. After being pulled from the water in her first channel swim attempt at the age of 43 in the Catalina Channel, Cleveland came back from that disappointment in victorious fashion.

She completed crossings of the Maui Channel in 2000 (4 hours 9 minutes) and 2001 (5 hours 29 minutes), the Catalina Channel in 2001 (in 10 hours 15 minutes), and the English Channel in 2002 (in 12 hours 32 minutes) and 2004 (a two-way crossing in 28 hours 36 minutes) and 2007 (in 11 hours 33 minutes) at the age of 51.

To visit her Wish Upon A Star website, click here. If you wish to share your thoughts about Cleveland, please feel free to comment below or send an email to headcoach@openwatersource.com.

Copyright © 2008-2017 by World Open Water Swimming Association

A Thank You Gift from WOWSA

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

Open Water Swimming Magazine Anniversary Issue
File Size: 13MB


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

CLICK HERE to download your free copy now.

Open Water Swimming Magazine

Open Water Swimming Magazine

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

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

The Other Shore

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

2014 Open Water Swimming Almanac

An Almanac for Open Water Swimming

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

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

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

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

Preview the Open Water Swimming Almanac:

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


Open Water Swimming Event Sanctioning

World Professional Marathon Swimming Federation

Open Water Race Calendar

Coaches Education Program