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Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Grant Holicky On Open Water Swimming

Photo courtesy of Hardcastle Film and Photo and APEX Coaching, Hardcastle Film and Photo, Boulder, Colorado.

Grant Holicky arguably has the greatest scope of athletes of anyone on the USA Swimming national coaching staff.

A retired professional triathlete, he coaches many successful cyclocrossers from the amateur to elite professional level as well as triathletes, cyclists, multiple American Olympic Trials pool swimmers and a national open water swimming champion (Christine Jennings) and a professional marathon swimmer (Joey Pedraza).

He is currently the Director of Aquatics at RallySport Health and Fitness and the head coach of Rallysport Aquatics (RACE) in Boulder, Colorado. He gave a wide-ranging interview with Robbie Dickson on Swimming World Magazine here where he answered the following questions:

* How, if at all, does training differ from training a miler than a 5 or 10 km swimmer?
* Do open water swimmers require a different dry-land training from their pool teammates?
* Some critical parts of an open water race are feeding and finishing, how do you prepare your swimmers for that?
* How does a swimmer get ready for the bumping and jostling that takes place throughout the race?
* What are the final days before a Nationals like from a training standpoint?
* Is it possible to be a good open water swimmer without access to a lake, river, or ocean?
* How would you like to see U.S. open water swimming develop over the next four years?
* How do you prepare your athletes mentally for swimming two hours straight?
* When arriving at the venue, what is the general routine for your athletes pre-race?

For more information on Coach Holicky, visit Apex Coaching.

Swimming And Smiling Between 0-3°C

Courtesy of www.hd-production.at at the 2017 Ice Swimming Aqua Sphere World Championships in Burghausen, Germany.

The surface water temperature was measured at 0.9°C with the deeper water measured at 3.7°C in the midst of air temperatures that dipped to -11°C during the 2017 Ice Swimming Aqua Sphere World Championships in Burghausen, Germany.

"The swimmers got in the water like the temperature was similar to a normal competition pool," observed Steven Munatones. "Only when you looked down at the venue with ice all around, and officials chipping off ice that had formed in the freezing air, and spectators dressed warmly for winter, did you realize that this event was something very special.

The athletes smiled, they waved, and they showed genuine appreciation for the volunteers and spectators after each race.

And many of them competed in one race, hopped out, walked to a hot tub, and then got right back in for another race. Their efforts, their hardened personifications of acclimatization to the cold are hard to believe, even when they are right there in front of you

Athletes ranged from 26 countries in Africa (like Samantha Whelpton), North America (like Jaimie Monahan and Anna DeLozier), South America (like Victoria Mori), and all over Europe (like Ines Hahn and Elena Makïnen).

Copyright © 2016 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Crossing Over From Pool To Open Water In Castaic Lake

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

USA Swimming has held its national open water swimming championships all over: from the West Coast (Seal Beach and Newport Beach) to the Midwest (Indianapolis) to the East Coast (Fort Lauderdale).

But one constant remains in the championships: the passion of the local organizers.

The same will continue at the 2017 USA Swimming National Open Water Swimming Championships and the 2017 USA Swimming Junior National Championships when Canyons Aquatic Club hosts the dual events on May 19th-21th at Castaic Lake in Southern California.

Jeremy Anderson and Ron Mita together with Los Angeles County lifeguards Dion Hatch and Tracy Hild bring that local touch of open water passion and experience to the national championships for the third time in the last five years.

We’re looking forward to another exciting weekend of open water racing at Castaic Lake with qualification for a number of international events on the line [i.e., the 2017 FINA World Championships 5 km, 10 km and 25 km, the 2017 World University Games, and a Junior FINA World Cup trip],” said Bryce Elser, USA Swimming’s Open Water Program Director. “The addition of Junior Nationals will provide more up-and-coming swimmers an opportunity to experience open water racing and creates a direct pathway from the junior ranks to our National Team [6 men and 6 women will qualify for the National Team and National Junior Teams]..”

The mindset of American pool swimming coaches have dramatically changed over the last quadrennial.

"It was not so long ago when American pool swimming coaches believed that open water swimming was detrimental to their athletes' pool swimming career.

The coaches - from elite Olympic veterans to young age-group newcomers - thought that swimming in oceans, lakes, rivers and seas was the kiss of death for promising pool swimmers. But coaches like Dave Kelsheimer and Catherine Vogt and many other veterans like Mark Schubert and Bill Rose proved that their swimmers could swim fast both in the pool and in the open water
," observed Steven Munatones

We used to hear statements ranging from 'The quality of competition is low' and 'Their stroke technique will be hurt' to 'There is no future in open water swimming' and 'Real swimmers need to focus on the pool'. Now many coaches understand that opportunities and sponsorships are available in the open water for their athletes just as they are in the pool.

Coaches used to express all number of reasons in order to steer promising or enthusiastic age-group swimmers away from the open water. But that rarely happens now.

The mindset of 2008 British Olympic medalist Keri-Anne Payne and her coaches gradually found its way over to the New World after the 2008 Beijing Olympics. The introduction of the 10 km marathon swim to the Olympic program was certainly a catalyst of change, but the success of competitive swimmers like Payne, Chloe Sutton and Ous Mellouli started to resonate more and more loudly among the American swimmers.

"Payne was a world-class IM'er at the same time she burst upon the open water scene. When asked if she was a pool swimmer or an open water swimmer, or if she preferred either, Payne simply and profoundly replied, 'I am a swimmer.'"

Plain and simple.

'I am a swimmer' meant an athlete could be competitive in the pool and the open water. Competing well in both the pool and open water was certainly challenging as athletes had to balance races and training, but British swimmers like Payne, Cassandra Patten and David Davies proved it could be done, successfully, enjoyably and strategically in the first Olympic quadrennial that featured the 10 km marathon swim.

But it was not an overnight transformation among the coaches on American pool decks. It took the attention and effort of elite athletes and coaches like Bill Rose of Mission Viejo, Bruce Gemmell of Nations Capital Swim Team, Dave Salo of Trojan Swim Club, Mark Schubert of Golden West Swim Club, Mike Bottom of Club Wolverine, Dave Kelsheimer of Team Santa Monica [shown above], and many others from Tim Murphy at Harvard to John Dussliere in Santa Barbara to transform the coaching mindsets that ruled the pool decks from coast to coast.

By the time, Mellouli and Haley Andersen - teammates at Trojan Swim Club - both medaled in the 2008 Olympic 10K Marathon Swim, the transformation among athletes and coaches was well on its way. When Jordan Wilimovsky [shown above] and Andersen qualified for the 2016 Olympics, the transformation was complete.

A limited number of foreign swimmers will be allowed in this competition if they qualify under the following time standards:

Women's 10 km Race Qualifying Times: 9:00.29 for 800m freestyle or 17:14.29 for 1500m freestyle
Men's 10 km Race Qualifying Times 8:20.09 for 800m freestyle or 15:59.09 for 1500m freestyle
The schedule is as follows:

May 18th: 10 km Technical Meeting at 6 pm
May 19th: 10 km National Championships, Men at 8 am + Women at 10:30 am
May 20th: 5 km Junior National Championships (16 years & under), Boys at 8 am + Girls at 9:30 am
May 20th: 5 km National Championships Technical Meeting at 1 pm
May 21st: 5 km National Championships, Women at 8 am + Men at 9:30 am

For more information, visit here.

Copyright © 2016 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Lilian Eymeric From Île Maurice To Réunion

Courtesy of Shark Island TV and Arnaud Bilquez.

Lilian Eymeric took 51 hours 1 minute to swim 238.7 km (148.3 miles) from the main island of Mauritius to Réunion Island as a charity swim to raise funds for the l'association T1 Diams that helps children facing Type 1 diabetes in Mauritius.

Copyright © 2016 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Sights & Sounds From Ice Swimming World Championships

Courtesy of Weltmeisterschaft Eis Schwimmen 2017, pre-event scenes at the 2017 Ice Swimming Aqua Sphere World Championships in Wöhrsee, Burghausen, Germany [2-3°C water].

Monday, January 16, 2017

Ice Swimming Comes To Scotland

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Pauline Barker is hosting the next Ice Cup and Great Britain's Ice Swimming Championships 2017 to be held in The Cruin in Loch Lomond, Scotland.

Organiser Pauline Barker describes the event, "100 hardened swimmers will compete in Loch Lomond to compete for the title Great Britain Ice Swimming Champion. The event will be run under the rules of the International Ice Swimming Association. This will be the second Great Britain Ice Swimming Championship event and will feature some of the top swimmers from the 2017 World Ice Swimming Championships."

Chris Sifleet further explains, "Great Britain is a world leader in ice swimming and has the most number of Ice Mile swimmers in the world.*

The February event will comprise of the Championship 1000 metres, but there are also shorter distance events ranging from 50 to 500 metres. Some of the swimmers will compete swimming butterfly at the venue, The Cruin on the Loch Lomond Castle Estates, on February 11th.

The event is co-organized by International Ice Swimming Association Great Britain in partnership with the Scottish open water swim company Swim4Miles Ltd. The races will be held on an open water course in Loch Lomond. There will also be an Ice Gala on the same day including shorter distances and relay events.

The maximum number of participants has been reached, but if swimmers would like to add their name to the waiting list, email Pauline Barker at BritishIceLions@aol.com or Chris Sifleet at info@swim4miles.co.uk.

Event website is www.iceswimminggb.co.uk.

*68 Great British swimmers who have completed an ice mile include:

68 Andrea Startin on 3 December 2016 - #4
67 Kate Steels-Fryatt on 3 December 2016 - #2
66 Catherine Hartle on 20 November 2016 - #2
65 Pauline Barker on 20 November 2016 - #5 and 1st butterfly
64 Mark Gardner on 19 November 2016
63 Wendy Figures on 19 November 2016 - #6
62 Jessie Campbell on 2 April 2016
61 Colleen Blair on 28 February 2016
60 Catherine Hartle on 27 February 2016
59 Ivan Lewis on 27 February 2016
58 Jonathan Coe on 27 February 2016
57 Nils Johnson on 27 February 2016
56 Andrea Startin on 27 February 2016 - #3
55 Bryn Dymott on 27 February 2016 - #2
54 Sue Croft on 24 February 2016
53 Ally Brisby on 24 February 2016
52 Hywel Davies on 20 February 2016
51 Andrea Startin on 17 February 2016
50 Paula Cherriman on 13 February 2016
49 Sara Jarman on 13 February 2016
48 Cerys Thomas on 10 February 2016
47 Wendy Figures on 10 February 2016 - #5
46 Viki Brice on 31 January 2016
45 Cath Pendleton on 30 January 2016
44 Val Smith on 23 January 2016
43 John Dyer on 23 January 2016
42 Nicola Naunton on 23 January 2016
41 Wendy Figures on 23 January 2016 - #4
40 Wendy Figures on 18 January 2016 - #3
39 Pauline Barker on 17 January 2016 - #4
38 Garry Jackson on 16 January 2016
37 Andrea Startin on 16 January 2016
45 Wendy Figures on 15 January 2016 - #2
35 Ray Smith on 13 January 2016
34 Roger Taylor on 3 October 2015
33 Wendy Figures on 28 February 2015
32 Michelle Millard on 21 February 2015
31 Bryn Dymott on 14 February 2015
30 Pauline Barker on 14 February 2015 - #3
29 Andrew Allum on 9 February 2015
28 Kate Steels-Fryatt on 31 January 2015
27 Hazel Killingbeck on 27 January 2015
26 Pauline Barker on 4 January 2015 - #2
25 Catherine Sunley on 14 December 2014
24 James Bridges on 2 March 2014
23 Stuart Hinde on 2 March 2014
22 Robert Hodgson on 9 February 2014
21 Amanda Bell on 9 February 2014
20 Kathryn Ayre on 4 February 2014
19 Andre Roberts on 30 January 2014
18 Pauline Barker on 30 january 2014
17 Jonty Warneken on 19 January 2014
16 Gavin Pitt on 15 December 2013
15 Mick Barker on 15 December 2013
14 Alistair Beattie on 30 November 2013
13 Leon Fryer on 30 November 2013
12 James Brown on 30 November 2013
11 James Brown on 19 November 2013
10 Jeremy Irvine on 14 March 2013
9 Helen Beveridge on 3 March 2013
8 John Donald on 24 February 2013
7 Alex Ferguson on 24 February 2013
6 Haydn Welch on 23 February 2013
5 Annette Stewart on 10 February 2013
4 Margot Anderson on 10 February 2013
3 Wayne carter on 10 February 2013
2 Colin Hill on 6 February 2013
1 Jackie Cobell on 10 December 2012

Copyright © 2016 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Freezing In Fukui

Courtesy of NHK, Fukui Prefecture in Honshu, Japan.

In a long-running tradition over 400 years, men in Fukui Prefecture's Mihama-cho annually jump into the inlet of Wakasa Bay in mid-January in the midst of cold water and cold air (usually around 0°C) blowing in from the Sea of Japan. The men jump in the water and then eggbeater 40 meters to a line where they pull themselves out.

To see their mid-winter challenge, watch here

Copyright © 2016 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Cracking The Ice In Katowice

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Famed Polish swimmer and promoter Leszek Naziemiec is hosting the next International Ice Swimming Association World Cup and Polish Championships to be held this weekend in Katowice, Poland.

For more information on the event with 100m, 250m, 500m, 750m and 1000m heats, visit here or contact Naziemiec at leszeknaziemiec@gmail.com.

The list of competitors for the ice kilometer race are as follows:
1. Cath Pendleton (GB)
2. Rosalind Edmonds (GB)
3. Łukasz Tkacz (POL)
4. Viki Brice (GB)
5. Maciej Leszczyński (POL)
6. Ger Kennedy (IRE)
7. Pauline Barker (GB)
8. Rachel Wallbank (GB)
9. Rafał Domeracki (POL)
10. Debbie Wayman (GB)
11. Richard Nyary (SVK)
12. Leszek Naziemiec (POL)
13. Marek Grzywa (POL)
14. Heidi Brice (GB)
15. Patricia Heffernan (IRE)
16. Catherine Hartle (GB)
17. Allen Evans (IRE)
18. Deirdre King (IRE)
19. Una Campbell (IRE)
20. Ger Devin (IRE)
21. Marcin Trudnowski (POL)
22. Tracey Sharratt (GB)
23. Piotr Biankowsk (ROM)
24. Jason Alcock (IRE)
25. Rostislav Vítek (CZE)
26. Patrick Bolster (IRE)
27. Victoria Mori (ARG)

Copyright © 2016 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Antonio Argüelles Goes 4 For 4 On Way To 7

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

"The day came and went, 14 hours 27 minutes for my fourth Catalina swim," said Antonio Argüelles Díaz-González who did an extraordinarily rare Catalina Channel crossing in the middle of the California winter.

Argüelles made the crossing specifically as a tough training swim for his upcoming Oceans Seven challenges across the colder North Channel between Northern Ireland and Scotland and the always tough Cook Strait between the North and South Islands of New Zealand.

"I was greeted by a dolphin, an auspicious sign that I kept in my mind during the difficult parts of the swim."

The 57-year-old Argüelles was surrounded by channel royalty before the swim. "Forest Nelson was around before the swim, so at one point we had four members of the Hall of Fame (including Nelson, Carol Sing, Nora Toledano) as well as Triple Crown swimmer Tom Hecker and a tremendous crew.

On a macro level, the Mexican swimmer who graduated from Stanford University in California has worked all his life between and for Mexicans and Americans. Before his crossing, he hinted about the impending wall that President-elect Trump has vowed to build between Mexico and the southern border of the United States, "While some want to divide the world, we were working together to unite."

But on a micro level at sea level across the 20.2-mile channel at night, Argüelles faced sizable ocean swells up to 2.5 meters, stiff winds and water temperature (14°C/57°F) that "helped make this swim a challenge thus providing me with the assurance that I am on the right training path to Cook and the North Channel."

Copyright © 2016 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Sunday, January 15, 2017

2017 Global Open Water Swimming Conference In Tunisia

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

The first Global Iron Swim in Tunisia will be held with the 2017 Global Open Water Swimming Conference and the WOWSA Awards this September at the coastal Bizerte Resort Hotel in Tunisia.

Majdouline Cherni, Minister of Youth and Sports of Tunisia, supports the plan put forth by Nejib Belhedi and organized by Imed Jabri, Secretary of State for Youth and Sports, Chokri Ben Hassen, Ministry Advisor, and Afif Kchouk, President & Director General of Bizerta Hotel Resort.

The 2017 Conference will cover the following topics including several more topics and ceremonies as well as a World Iron Swim event:

1. Safety in the Open Water
2. New Global Opportunities in the Open Water
3. Outstanding Races of 2016 including the Rio Olympic 10K Marathon Swim
4. Charity Swims
5. Environmental Swims
6. Ice Swimming and Winter Swimming
7. Ouma in Tunisia for the Next Generation
8. World Iron Swim
9. Speciality Swims including High-altitude Swims, Prison Island Swims and Stage Swims
10. New Equipment and Emerging Technologies of the Open Water
11. Corporate Sponsorship in the Sport
12. Future Trends in the Open Water
13. Honoring 2016 WOWSA Awards Winners: Nejib Belhedi (Tunisia), Jaimie Monahan (USA), Sarah Thomas (USA), Samsung Bosphorus Cross-Continental Swim (Turkey)

"Hosting the Global Open Water Swimming Conference at the Bizerte Resort Hotel in Tunisia is a very big opportunity to make concrete short- and long-term developments for open water swimming in this part of the world," remarked Belhedi.

"My vision and plan is for Ouma ["to swim in the sea" in Arabic] to reach children in different regions throughout Tunisia without exception, Depending on their different swimming levels, we want to teach them how to swim in the sea or to perfect their talents or to improve their performances."

The 2017 Global Open Water Swimming Conference, Ouma and World Iron Swim will be held between September 9th and 13th. Plans call for the Global Conference to be held September 9th, 10th and 11th. Ouma will be held September 12th at Sidi Salem Beach in front of the Bizerta Resort Hotel, and the World Iron Swim will be held September 13th in the Bizerta Channel.

Copyright © 2016 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Radically Rethinking Distance Swimming

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Throughout the latter half of 20th century, the sport of open water swimming used to be referred to by many different terms: marathon swimming, long distance swimming, ultra long distance swimming, channel swimming, rough water swimming, ocean swimming, professional marathon swimming, or lake swimming.

But open water swimming or marathon swimming became the de rigueur terms for the sport as the 21st century came around.

With the creation of the 'Olympic 10K Marathon Swim' in 2005 by the International Olympic Committee and FINA as the inaugural open water swimming race at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the global understanding of the term 'marathon swimming' equaled a distance of 10 kilometers. While some in the sport still consider a marathon swim to be of a distance at least 25 km, or in some cases 21 miles a la the English Channel, 10 kilometers is now generally accepted as the distance that separates open water swimming from marathon swimming.

"But after watching the increased growth of Ice Miles and Ice Kilometers by some of the most hardened athletes on the planet in the most inhospitable environments and most risk-taking conditions possible, what constitutes a 'distance swim' could be radically redefined at least from what I saw among the ice swimming community," said Steven Munatones.

"While swimming 1,000 meters in a climate-controlled competition pool or in an open water environment in water temperatures over 10°C (50°F) is not considered by anyone in aquatics as long distance or marathon swimming, what these people are doing in water temperatures below 5C where the air temperatures are usually below 0C, is in my opinion, another emerging form of marathon swimming.

For most humans, falling in water below 5°C would lead to hospitalization or serious injury and in some cases death. For a vast majority of competitive swimmers, they would not consider a 100-meter swim or even a 25-meter swim in the ice swimming conditions. It simply is not within their realm of interest or abilities.

So swimming for 1,000 meters or a mile with snow and ice all around them is, by all means, a distance swim. It is hard to do safely, incredibly difficult and requires a tremendous amount of self-discipline and period of acclimatization. By all normal human standards, notwithstanding the de facto definition of marathon swimming in water above 10°C, one kilometer of ice swimming is a really, really long distance unattainable by a vast majority of experienced swimmers including nearly all Olympic swimmers, either pool or open water.

Therefore, as controversial as it sounds to channel swimmers used to swimming many more miles in water usually at least 12-15°C, an ice kilometer swim and ice miles could be considered a distance swim given the incredibly difficult circumstances and frigid conditions

This remains a personal impression based on seeing over 400 athletes compete at the 2017 Ice Swimming Aqua Sphere World Championships in Burghausen, Germany, including over 100 athletes who completed the 1,000m swim in 2-3°C.

Copyright © 2016 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Coming Back, Elaine Howley's Remarkable Transformation

Courtesy of WOWSA at the 2017 Ice Swimming Aqua Sphere World Championships in Burghausen, Germany.

"Her apprehension was palpable. Her lack of confidence was clearly verbalized before her swim during breakfast that morning," recalls Steven Munatones, the second for Elaine Howley at the 2017 Ice Swimming Aqua Sphere World Championships in Burghausen, Germany.

"Then right before the race started, she couldn't find her ear plugs and she only had a few seconds to get from the ready room to the venue. Panic was in her eyes. Frankly, I was worried about her."

But the Boston-based swimmer who trains at the L Street Bathhouse found her ear plugs in her bag and quickly walked out to the pool deck, making it just in the nick of time for the athlete introduction.

"As soon as the announcer called her name, Elaine lit up like a star on the red carpet. Her smile radiated in the -11°C air and she waved to the crowd like she didn't have a care in the world."

"Athletes, remove your clothes," ordered the race starter in the traditional pre-race instructions.

As Howley grabbed the wooden ladder in lane 7 and started to lower herself in the water, the radiance that she so evident on her face only moments before immediately evaporated.

"You could see how the shock of the -0.9°C surface water negatively affected her. But she held it together; you have to give her loads of credit. She didn't hyperventilate; she breathed deeply and focused. But the look on her face was not promising at all."

Her countenance could not mask a deep-seated fear that seemed about to come true in the biggest ice swimming stage of her career.

Howley started off her ice kilometer slowly and even took a few strokes of breaststroke and head-up freestyle early in the race. Her turns were slow as the ice was caked on the walls, making the turns tricky. "Frankly, I was worried about her.

But then something happened. It was magic. Elaine suddenly found her groove before the 500m mark. Her stroke started to lengthen and her turns became quick. There was such a dramatic transformation. She hit her groove. She turned a negative situation into such a positive. By the 800m mark, she was cruising and her 100m splits were actually faster than the beginning of the race

Howley recalls the experience. "I feel like I grew up a little bit or something during that swim. Something certainly happened at that shifting point about 450 meters into the swim. If I had to speculate, I’d say it was that I finally relaxed and pushed aside the fear. I began truly enjoying myself, and that joy grew with each additional stroke, cold be damned."

During the last 100m, the crowd started to cheer specifically for the lone American in the heat. The fans saw the change in her speed and demeanor and started to chant along with the pulsating music.

After the officials blew the whistle to signal her last 50, Howley acknowledged the appreciative crowd with a wave and a bright smile. She finished her ice kilometer with an impressive sprint and a flawless two-handed wave to the spectators.

"I got in the moment and it was glorious. I was beaming at the end because this was truly an exhilarating experience. There’s something so life-affirming about taking a calculated risk and surviving. Or is that thriving?"

Bottom photo shows Elaine Howley rewarming in wet sauna in the middle of fellow ice kilometer Americans Jaimie Monahan [left] and Anna Delozier [right].

Copyright © 2016 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Keeping A Great Attitude At Altitude

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Matías Ola organized another winter swimming event in his native Argentina.

This time in early December called the Winter Swimming Ski Portillo Chile, a high-altitude swim of 3,000 meters (9,842 feet) in altitude in the Andes Mountains.

For more information, visit www.swimargentina.org. For more photos, visit here.

Copyright © 2016 by World Open Water Swimming Association

History And Emergence Of The Kenya Lifesaving Federation

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

In April 2004 Kenya Lifesaving And Lifeguards Association (later changed to the Kenya Lifesaving Federation) was registered with the Government of Kenya. By 2006, the organization became a member of the International Lifesaving Federation, the world governing body for the lifesaving and water safety.

The Kenyan representatives remain very active in all Federation activities including the world lifesaving championship and the World Water Safety conferences.

In 2008, the Kenya Lifesaving Federation held its inaugural National Lifesaving Championship in Kenya at the St. Austin's Academy and became recognized as the official branch of the Royal Lifesaving Society and has remained a member of the Royal Lifesaving Society as it continues to organize lifesaving events and championships in Kenya.

In 2010, athletes from Kenya made their appearances at the world lifesaving championships in Alexandria, Egypt, Rescue 2010. In 2012, the Federation held its first National Beach Lifesaving Competitions at the Nyali beach – Mombasa with the following goals:

a) To find the best methods and means of aquatic life saving, resuscitation of the apparently drowned and emergency care.
b) To teach lifesaving and establish educational exchanges of aquatic life saving techniques and operations.
c) To exchange practical, medical and scientific experiences in the field of aquatic life saving.
d) To encourage the conducting of training schools available to the whole of the aquatic life saving district.
e) To extend the teachings and activities of the Kenya Lifesaving Federation to all places throughout the district and to communicate and act in co-operation with other national and international humanitarian bodies.
f) To promote uniformity concerning equipment, information, symbols and laws for control and regulation within the aquatic environment.
g) To promote and organise life saving sports and to regularly organise international aquatic life saving competitions in order to stimulate the interest of members to improve their ability and willingness to save people who are in danger in the aquatic environment.
h) To encourage the convening of national congresses for the purpose of creating links of friendship, solidarity and collaboration between Members and other international bodies which pursue the same humanitarian goals.
i) To encourage measures to prevent the pollution of waters and beaches and other elements, which are dangerous to the public and users of the aquatic environment.
j) To enter into financial transactions for the purchase of fixed or movable assets, or for other purposes which the Kenya Lifesaving Federation consider appropriate for its operation.
k) To take such other actions as the Kenya Lifesaving Federation considers will advance its mission statement goal.

For more information, visit here.

Copyright © 2016 by World Open Water Swimming Association

2nd Pan-Hellenic Lifesaving Sport Championship

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

The 2nd Pan-Hellenic Lifesaving Sport Championship was organized by the Hellenic Federation of Underwater Activity and supported by the Hellenic Ministry of Health, the Hellenic Centre for Disease Control & Prevention, and the Hellenic Red Cross.

The Hellenic Federation of Underwater Activity organized the event as a public health service in order to prevent drownings with key water safety related organizations.

At the opening ceremony, the President of the Federation Vaggelis Rakantas presented an honorary statuette to Kimberly Jarvis, Senior Project Manager of the Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation for the significant contributions of the foundation to the work of the federation that aims to reduce drowning deaths in Greece, through water safety and lifesaving sport programs.

Dr. Vicky Bafataki presented with the Honorary Medallion of the International Giuseppe Sciacca Awards to Dr. Stathis Avramidis for his pioneering and long contributions to the development of lifesaving sport in Greece.

An honorary statuette was also presented to the Mayor Andreas Kondylis of Alimos for his contributions and support.

Copyright © 2016 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Friday, January 13, 2017

Saving A Surfer Off Sydney

Courtesy of Mediterranean Shipping Company Damla, anchored off of Sydney, Australia.

A 37-year-old Japanese surfer was caught in a current off Bulli Beach, south of Sydney, Australia.

16 hours later, he was still hanging onto his surfboard according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

The crew on a 300-meter container ship spotted him in the water 6 km offshore after he could not paddle back to shore in the waves. He was later released in good health and good spirits.

Swimming, Boating, Rafting From Cuba To Florida

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

The Straits of Florida between Cuba and Florida has been the site of many solo swim attempts since 1950.

These adventurous swimmers have included Jose Cortinas, Leo Vigil, Rolando Elejalde, Luciana Nunez, Walter Poenisch, Susie Maroney [shown on left], Skip Storch, Chris Green, Diana Nyad, Penny Palfrey and Chloë McCardel.

While 65-year-old Walter Poenisch (34 hours 15 minutes), 22-year-old Susie Maroney (24 hours 31 minutes), and 64-year-old Diana Nyad (52 hours 54 minutes) have completed solo crossings of the Straits of Florida in various forms (using fins, snorkels, shark cages or stinger suits), others have had to resort to use of boats or makeshift rafts, stealthily crossing the Gulf Stream in order to avoid the American border control authorities and U.S. Coast Guard.

Cubans, desperate to leave their homeland, used a variety of marine vessels in an attempt to make the 100+ mile (160+ km) journey across the unpredictable stretch of water over the last several decades.

An American immigration policy in place over 20 years will be ended by President Barack Obama. The unique American "wet foot, dry foot" immigration policy previously allowed Cubans who arrived in the United States without a visa to become permanent residents, if they successfully landed on dry land. If they were caught by American authorities somewhere on the high seas, even if within view of the American shoreline, they were turned back and had to return to Cuba.

"By taking this step, we are treating Cuban migrants the same way we treat migrants from other countries," described President Obama in overturning a policy put in place by former President Bill Clinton in the 1990s.

Copyright © 2016 by World Open Water Swimming Association

High-Altitude Ice Kilometer Race In Lesotho

Courtesy of Great Big Story in cooperation with Ram Barkai and the International Ice Swimming Association.

The Great Big Story covered an ice kilometer event with Ram Barkai and his colleagues the International Ice Swimming Association at the South African Ice Swimming Championships, a high-altitude swim at 3,050 meters.

"We could't miss an icy opportunity to chase the best snow in Southern Africa for 20 years," explains Ram Barkai of the International Ice Swimming Association.

"Lesotho, a sovereign country within the South African borders, boast the highest mountains in southern Africa.

Lesotho is mostly mountainous and a beautiful rugged small country, placed in the northeast part of South Africa. It has its own king and government and its own tribal structure, but the most important thing for ice swimmers is its snowy mountains

Around the highest point in Lesotho's Bathu-Bathe area lies a small ski resort called Afriski. "One of these dams was used to host the International Ice Swimming Association 1 km event," says Barkai. "Due the severe drought in some parts of Southern Africa, the dam has been dry for three years now. Last year, the location was beautiful, but the water temperature was around 7°C (44.6°F)."

The event was one of the qualifying events for the 2017 Ice Swimming Aqua Sphere World Championships that was just held in Burghausen, Germany.

It was a very long trip,” said Roxy van Eyk, one of the organizers. “It is a 16-hour bus trip from Cape Town."

Roxy and his team were armed with chainsaws, ice axes, pick axes, axes and hammers are set to break the 20 cm ice sheet and create a big enough open water to hold a 1 km swim. They did not have lane lines or ladders like the recent World Championships. “Afriski is a very remote place. It was simply be an open water swim," explained Barkai. “But luckily, it is a small ski resort, so we had access to ambulances, medical facilities and a helipad."

The swimmers had two days to acclimate with experienced high-altitude ice swimming physician Dr. Sean Gottschalk looking on as the event's medical and safety officer.

They spent most of the acclimatization period building the swimming location, cutting through the ice, and doing short test swims.

Copyright © 2016 by World Open Water Swimming Association

A Changing Of The Guard

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

With President-elect Donald Trump taking control of the U.S. federal government in a week, this photo showing Alex Meyer with President Barack Obama and Vice President Joseph Biden is fitting.

Both Meyer, President Obama and Vice President Biden are leaving their respective worlds. While the politicians have not yet announced what they are going to do, Meyer is now hard at work as the Race Project Manager for Spartan Race, an innovative obstacle race management company with over 120 races worldwide.

While President Obama ends his term with a slew of presidential actions that may be likely modified, repealed and replaced by his successor, Meyer culminated his career with a victory at the 62nd Traversée internationale du lac St-Jean and will continue to cheer on and support his successors within USA Swimming and the rest of the global open water swimming community.

Copyright © 2016 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Howard James, Solo Swim Star: First One In, Last One Out

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Howard James (née Keech) was announced today as the winner of the Solo Swim of the Year (male) by the Marathon Swimmers Federation for his English Channel on May 16th 2016, the earliest crossing in history, breaking the previously held record by Kevin Murphy by 13 days.

"Howard has that undeniable look of a channel swimmer: a look of determination and intense focus coupled with a sense of adventure and a dash of unbridled joy," explains Steven Munatones. "James did the improbable and accomplished the unprecedented. He literally opened and closed the books on the English Channel crossing season this year in an historically unparalleled fashion."

Not only did he kickoff the English Channel season with his May 16th success, but he also culminated the season with a November 3rd crossing in 11 hours 38 minutes, breaking the old record by 6 days, previously held by Michael Read set in 1979.

In both cases (his earliest and latest record-setting crossings), James was escorted by pilot Andy King under the auspices of the Channel Swimming Association.

Copyright © 2016 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