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Friday, October 31, 2014

International Women Of Mystery In The Open Water World

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

We wrote about the Most Interesting Men in the World yesterday. Their counterparts are the International Women of Mystery.

These women successfully sail through life working on their careers and raising families, but with an alter ego as an aquatic adventurer. They may not swim fast, but they do so enjoyably and courageously.

They are always polite, never pompous. They just do their thing in the water.

These women are courteous and confident. Talent and tough. Cool and composed. Well-traveled, well-mannered and well-spoken.

They are fiercely intense and boldly independent. Unpretentious and unassuming.

You would never guess they can stare down sharks and tolerate indescribable levels of pain. They can stay up hours and hours observing a friend from an escort boat - or swim from the same length of time themselves.

They can shed a tear or share a beer with the most appropriate demeanor in every situation.

Women like Anna-Carin Nordin of Sweden, Christiane Fanzeres of Brazil, Dara Flowers-Burke of the Cayman Islands [shown above], Elizabeth Fry and Eney Jones of the U.S.A., Jackie Cobell, Kate Rew, Sakura Hingley and Karen Throsby of Great Britain, Luane Rowe, Penny Palfrey and Melissa Cunningham of Australia, Dr. Margo Mountjoy of Canada, Kimberley Chambers and Pamela Dickson of New Zealand, Teruko Onuki of Japan and many, many more in every country of the world are those selected International Women of Mystery.

Copyright © 2014 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Jersey Boy Showcased In The Coolangatta Gold

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

John Palmer, Executive Producer of the famous Coolangatta Gold competition in Australia has plenty of lifesaving superstars to choose from for this year's television broadcast to be shown on Fox Sports Australia and Universal Sports in the United States.

One of the featured athletes will be one of the oldest competitors, American waterman Bruckner Chase visiting from New Jersey.

The Coolangatta Gold is Surf Life Saving Australia’s iconic Ironman race and is considered Australia’s toughest Ironman. The 41.5 km ocean race consists of a surf ski leg, a run leg, an ocean swimming leg, a paddle board leg, and a final run leg with a course that goes from Coolangatta to Miami (via Broadbeach) and returns through North Burleigh, Burleigh Heads, Currumbin and Bilinga.

"I am do pre-race interviews with cameras mounted on my craft during the race and a film crew following me. No pressure though."

Copyright © 2014 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Sea Monkey Challenge Update

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

"We had 5 ocean swims in the inaugural [Seal Beach] Sea Monkey Challenge during October," said Sea Monkey Doug Garland. "The first question people ask us is always about the water temperature. The good news is that the ocean temperatures are still 5 to 7ºF warmer than normal.

For this month, the water temperature has been around 70ºF (21ºC). In the last 2 weeks, the air temperature has been more of a factor as the air temperature is in the mid-50ºF’s in the morning. I know it is a lot colder elsewhere in the world and it will get colder here too, but this was our first hint that summer is ending in Southern California.

Water conditions were great for 3 out of 5 swims. The water was perfectly calm. We were swimming on a glassy surface with views of the sunrise.

That was in contrast with the inaugural swim of the season. "Our first swim in October was rough in that you would turn to breathe and all you get is a mouth full of water. Today’s swim was a little more challenging in that the current was swirling so it felt like you were going against the current in both directions. There is a winter storm coming in this weekend so we were getting northwest swells which may have caused the currents."

18 people have committed to swim at least once per month throughout the year in the Sea Monkey Challenge. This is the list to date:

* Doug Garland
* Katie Rowe
* Ronney Daschbach
* Sean Oatey
* Michael Kilpatrick
* Mark Fell
* Rick Gregory
* Gerry Parker
* Loren Wright
* Amy Ashton
* Mary Brain
* Hank Wise
* Peter Knapp
* Marissa Carrillo
* John Gurich
* Lyle Nalli
* Alex Merrill
* Page Hensley

Copyright © 2014 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Stay Thirsty With The Most Interesting Men In The World

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Jonathan Goldsmith is a model who is featured in "the world's most interesting man" ad campaign that first began appearing in the United States in 2006. The fictional hero of the Most Interesting Man in the World Dos Equis beer campaign has a number of fanciful and fabricated talents

But in the real world, especially in the open water swimming world, there are real heroes and heroines who display their talents both on land and in the water. These are men and women who literally play with jellyfish as Pádraig Mallon did out in the ocean [see above].

Mallon and his colleagues in the open water swimming world like Adam Walker or Colin Hill, Henri Kaarma or Lewis Pugh, Otto Thaning or Phil White, Darren Miller or Doug Woodring, Ned Denison or Petar Stoychev, Ram Barkai or Matías Ola are all interesting men in the open water world would have outstanding talents and abilities; their characteristics would be superhuman in the advertising world, but they are in fact real-life heroes.

What can they do? What would they do in the Dos Equis advertising campaign?

Here is our guess:

Dolphins ask to draft off them...
Sharks worry about them...
Their Speedos are considered to be a small watercraft...
Michael Phelps thinks about retirement when they start to swim butterfly...
Their kick is measured in horsepower...
They can break open coconuts with their bare hands...
Their wake is the size of 6-foot waves...
They munch on jellyfish when they are stung...
The word hypothermia is not in their dictionary...
Their sunscreen stays on 3 days in the water...
They don't need a tow-in when swimming in big wave surf spots...
Their goggles can withstand the pressure of the Mariana Trench...
Their ice swims are not considered extreme...
They consider a crossing of the English Channel to be simply a good warm-up...
They kayak with their bare hands...
They've got gills...
They can breach completely out of the water when they eggbeater...
They can swallow gel packs whole during their feedings...
Portuguese call them men o war...
Their marathon swims are measured in days...
They do flip turns on rock jetties...
They never need GPS...
Their blood has a hint of seaweed...
Their tears are made of salt water...
Mermaids flock to the shore when they near the water...
They call the Oceans Seven home...

...they are among the most interesting men in the open water swimming world and are real-life heroes not unlike Jonathan Goldsmith seen below.

Copyright © 2014 by World Open Water Swimming Association

What Do Two Fingers Mean Out In The Open Water?

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

What possibly could the two-finger sign of Pádraig Mallon mean out during the North Channel?

Two-way crossing?
Two hours/miles to go?
Tandem swim?
Second relay swimmer in?
Second crossing?
Two jellyfish?
Second attempt?
Shark gone?
Shore in sight? Looking good?

Copyright © 2014 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Pádraig Mallon Cuts Loose In Time For Dinner

Courtesy of Brian Maherg, pilot on Colleen Mallon's North Channel 9 hour 56 minute crossing between Scotland and Ireland.

The Bangor Boat pilot vessel, MV. Ocean Crest which was used for escorting Colleen Mallon's recently successful crossing of the Irish Channel got into difficulties on its returning journey to Ireland.

Mid-channel and in challenging sea conditions, the boat came across a 100-yard half-submerged abandoned rope that got snagged on the propeller.

Pádraig Mallon jumped into action. He changed into his swim gear, with a large dive knife, dived over the side of the boat, went under the hull to cut away the rope. After many attempts the propeller was freed. It took a good effort to cut through the chunky rope.

The crew hauled the rope into the boat in case another craft would foul a further prop in the future. They looked up and saw Pádraig deciding to swim to Ireland!

It was pointed out to him that the local restaurant stopped serving meals in an hour and a half’s time. This quickly helped him to change his mind to come aboard to a round of applause and cheers from all the hungry passengers that quickly made their way back to Bangor just in time for steak and chips, tea, bread and butter.

Pádraig had to buy his own steak.

Copyright © 2014 by World Open Water Swimming Association

The Doctors Are In

Photo of Dr. Irina Zhidkova [on left] with Dr. Nataliya Fatyanova [on right] strategizing onboard the Russian hospital ship Irtysh en route to Alaska during the 6-day Bering Strait Swim. Photo courtesy of Nuala Moore .

Copyright © 2014 by World Open Water Swimming Association

The Doctor Is In, Quietly Confident Around The Water

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Cecil Gordon M.D. (standing on boat in middle of 3 officials on left) has a quiet, professional demeanor that is well-suited for his role as one of the leading pool and open water swimming officials in the United States.

He was initially drawn to competitive aquatics when his children got involved in swimming. He has traveled the country as a volunteer working his way up from local swim meets to the highest echelon in the sport of American swimming.

In addition to his work on the pool decks and on officials boats at the open water swimming competitions, Dr. Gordon was formerly the chairman for the Diversity Committee and is now the chairman for the Safe Sport Committee at USA Swimming, the governing body of swimming in America.

Over the course of his relatively short career, he climbed up the ranks quickly and has been selected to serve as a 3-time starter at the NCAA Swimming Championships, a starter and referee at several USA Swimming national championships, an official at the 2008 USA Swimming Olympic Trials, one of six Chief Judges at the 2012 USA Swimming Olympic Trials, and a FINA open water swimming official.

He was the first person of color chosen to be the head referee at the USA Swimming National Open Water Championships.

To be selected to officiate at these competitions where athletes' careers and Olympic berths are on the line is a result of his professionalism and competence and is an honor well-deserved. We asked Dr. Gordon about his officiating career:

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: When did you first get involved in officiating?
Dr. Gordon: My interest in swimming developed when my children began to compete competitively. I began officiating around 2001 or so. My son, Clifton, is at the University of North Carolina as a member of the swim team. My daughter Cecily also swims at Georgetown University.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: When did you first get interested in open water?
Dr. Gordon: In 2007 at my first meet in Indianapolis. Initially, I went to my first open water competition between pool competitions. The open water competition was held on Sunday, which was the off day between the the Senior Nationals and Junior Nationals that summer. I was looking for something to do and thought I’d give it a try. As a kid growing up in North Carolina, hunting and fishing were always activities I enjoyed with my father and grandfather. So being outside on a lake in a boat was natural for me. I’ve been hooked and have been working as an official in various competitions ever since as frequently as possible.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: Are pool and open water swimming officiating any different?
Dr. Gordon: Staying focused is a part of the challenge and a part of the enjoyment of both open water and pool officiating. The length of the open water races and the amount of time required are certainly different. Fortunately, however, as an official I find that the degree of focus required varies at certain parts of the race. When a pack of swimmers is tightly bunched and contact is inevitable, my focus is at its peak. At other times when the swimmers are spaced neatly and the pace is comfortable, I allow myself to relax somewhat and enjoy the surroundings. As a good official, one never completely loses focus or awareness at any point, whether in the pool or on a lake. But there are times when the intensity does diminish somewhat, both for the athlete and the official.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: Are you looking for anything in particular in open water races?
Dr. Gordon: During open water competitions I’m not necessarily looking for anything. More so, I’m observing to see what is happening around me. Certainly I’m watching the swimmers for any potential violation, such as interference, illegal contact, missing a turn. But I’m also constantly trying to think ahead, anticipating where I will need to position myself to better be able to see what might happen next. Because we are on boats, maneuvering is not as simple and as quick as being on a pool deck. Safety is paramount, too. One has to be aware of the positions of all swimmers when a boat makes a move. Any injury would likely not be a minor one. And, there are other boats on the water, too, which increases the possibility of an accident.

Being aware of the positions of all of the boats and officials on the water is absolutely necessary. It is choreography on water. There has to be a balance so that the entire field is covered by the officials as much as possible at all times. And eyes must be maintained on all swimmers at all times. The swimmers must be accounted for.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: Have you had to make difficult decisions or encountered difficult situations?
Dr. Gordon: There are always difficult decisions to be made for any official. Officiating in swimming requires split-second decisions that can result in an athlete being disqualified from that competition. That is a severe penalty, unlike in most other sports. That decision cannot be taken lightly. If there was one decision that perhaps caused me the most consternation, it was canceling the final day of a fairly large meet because the pool water temperature was simply too high. The pool staff was unable to effectively lower the temperature. Swimmers had come from several surrounding states. They wanted to swim and their coaches wanted them to swim. As Meet Referee I felt it was not safe and decided that the only recourse was to cancel the competition. No one was happy, including my own children.

One particular open water event that I’ll never forget was the Manhattan Challenge Swim in 2009. We started out with four swimmers on a late September afternoon swimming around Manhattan Island. The currents were a challenge, as expected. But I never anticipated the difficulty we would face swimming at night. The lack of visibility, the commuter traffic on the Hudson, the tour vessels…it was unbelievable. The night views of the island were unforgettable for me. But the rest of the experience was very challenging and quite scary.

I cannot leave out my experience at the 2011 USA Swimming Open Water Championships in Fort Lauderdale. On Friday for the 10 km swim, the weather was brutal. There were high winds, tough surf, and a number of swimmers struggling with fatigue and dehydration…it was an official’s nightmare. But on the other hand, it illustrated some of the difficulties we all encounter with the unpredictability of open water conditions. In retrospect, it was an outstanding learning opportunity.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: During an open water swimming event, where do you position yourself?
Dr. Gordon: There is no one place where I position myself during any race. My position constantly varies, depending on the situation. I try to give myself the best vantage point to be able to see all that is going on around me…the swimmers, the boats, the other officials, the safety personnel, etc. I find myself constantly adjusting. Usually, however, I am stationed somewhere near the front of the boat.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: What do you try to do while you are officiating?
Dr. Gordon: My goal is always to have a quiet confidence on deck. In addition to being knowledgeable, looking neat and dressing sharply are especially important to me. I also try to maintain a constant calm demeanor throughout the race. Sometimes that can be hard. I would like to believe that other officials and athletes see me as a person who demonstrates a rather calm personality whenever I’m officiating. To me it’s critical to have sound judgment and good common sense when making a tough decision. I feel it is difficult to achieve that goal when one loses control of his emotions. Becoming frustrated and yelling at others have never worked for me, neither on deck nor in real life.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: Tell us about these recent national championships in Fort Myers.
Dr. Gordon: The 2012 USA Open Water Swimming National Championships were extremely gratifying to me. I felt that the event went well and that was what was most important. The swims were great and there were few issues throughout the weekend. Hopefully, everyone enjoyed it as much as I did. My one goal that can never be compromised is that 'all swimmers must return safely'. Thankfully, once again we were able to accomplish that. Everything else is a bonus to me.

Photos of Dr. Gordon in the referee boat at the USA Swimming National Open Water Swimming Championships by Sarah Coward.

Copyright © 2014 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Jacques Tuset, The Houdini Of The Open Water

Introduction of the Prison Island Swims courtesy of Jacques Tuset and Team Aquadeus showing possible open water escapes from former prison islands all over the world.

* Harry Houdini was an Hungarian-American illusionist and stunt performer, noted for his sensational escape acts in the early 20th century. Jacques Tuset is a French open water swimmer noted for being the King of the Prison Island Swims of the early 21st century.

Copyright © 2014 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Give Me Five

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

The 2nd annual 5 km race, The Five, is held on November 9th with a start and finish at South Bay Beach in Hong Kong. This year, there will also be a Junior Five category for youth at 250m and 400m.

"We will also have the ability to put a GPS tracker on your Swim Safe buoy or in your wetsuit," explains race director Doug Woodring. "This tracking piece will put your track on a group map of all swimmers, so anyone in the world and those on the World Open Water Swimming Series can follow your swim. You can later check your course, speed, and watch your race in animated form with the tracking."

Copyright © 2014 by World Open Water Swimming Association

15 km From Stanley To Deep Water Bay In Hong Kong

Courtesy of Doug Woodring in Hong Kong at the 8th annual Clean Half Extreme Marathon Swim.

15 km from Stanley to Deep Water Bay in Hong Kong is a challenging course has a bit of everything including 800m cliff wall where swimmers can sometimes body-surf along the course.

Copyright © 2014 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Marathon Monks Of Mount Hiei

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Often we moved by endurance and extreme athletes who perform outside of the open water.

Occasionally, these athletic feats take on different forms far removed from swimming brief and goggles. The marathon monks of Mount Hiei located outside Kyoto, Japan where there is a traditional 46,000-kilometer undertaking where selected monks walk, meditate and pray in the Kaihōgyō ritual for 1,000 days.

Their road to enlightenment and process of self-denial requires requires incredible stamina and mental and physical discipline over a seven-year period including a 9-day period of no food, drink or sleep.

The ritual is mind-bogglingly difficult with extraordinary expectations of unnatural endurance.

In Year 1, the marathon monks walk 30-40 km per day up and down the difficult trails in Mount Hiei above Kyoto for 100 days of the year.
In Year 2, they walk 30-40 km per day along the same course for 100 days of the year.
In Year 3, they walk 30-40 km per day along the same course for 100 days of the year.
In Year 4, they walk 30-40 km per day along the same course for 200 days of the year.
In Year 5, they walk 30-40 km per day along the same course for 200 days of the year.
In Year 6, they walk 60 km per day along the same course for 100 days of the year.
In Year 7, they walk 84 km per day for 100 days, followed by 30-40 km per day for 100 days of the year.

During the fifth year, their ritual is temporarily put on hold for them to go for 9 days (216 straight hours) without food, water or sleep of any kind. The monk sits in the temple and prays constantly with two monks on either side to ensure he does not fall asleep. At 2 am every night, the monk must get up and walk 200 meters to offer sacrificial water from a well.

According to medical theory, these men should be dead in this daring, daunting ordeal at extreme asceticism. But they face their physical limitations and desires with a serenity, courage and commitment that only 46 men have accomplished since the 16th century.

What is inspirational about this ritual is that during their nine days of non-sleep, non-eating and non-drinking, they must walk 200 meters to the well every morning. On the first night, the 200-meter walk is done in a matter of a few minutes. By the ninth day, the same 200-meter walk takes an agonizing hour due to the physical toll on the human body. And, then on the very last moment before the ritual is completed, the monk walks to his first meal and drink in 9 days...but they must first kneel in front of the food and water and pray.

The amount of self-discipline and courage to sit in front of food and water and first pray after 9 days in a principled, quiet and scripted manner is an unbelievable culmination to this ritual on year 5.

Copyright © 2014 by World Open Water Swimming Association

The Salt Water Is Heaven

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Hybrid designer and developer Rebecca Taylor continued to swim as her third child was on its way.

When asked about the difference between swimming when pregnant and not, Taylor explained, "I feel maybe a little colder - and definitely colder by the end of the swim when I get out. I have 30% more blood volume [when pregnant]. I'm pretty sure it's all in my belly by the end of a swim.

I'm much more buoyant and I'm naturally pitched at a different angle. It's not unlike how I used to feel in a full wetsuit or with a swim buoy. I drag my feet and am using my upper body more.

Open salt water is heaven! I've been swimming in the pool (actually tethering in my own pool) for the last few months and it's a wonderful treat to swim in the bay this week. I feel like a rocket out here and I don't notice the baby at all -- in a good way

Copyright © 2014 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Plivački maraton Jarak-Šabac

Courtesy of in Šabac, a town in Serbia that is the site of the annual Epiphany Swimming for the Holy Cross of Honour as well as the finish point of the Jarak-Šabac Marathon Swim, formally known as the Plivački maraton Jarak-Šabac ("Peace Race"), a professional 19 km marathon swimming event in the Sava River.

Copyright © 2014 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Sam Krohn Finds His Niche In The Open Water

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Sometimes, people know from a young age. Other times, it takes self-discovery in university. For others, it may take years or decades to find their niche and passion in life.

But once that love of accomplishing something is found, there is often no turning back.

Sam Krohn has found his niche with the recently produced Uaimh an tSolais & Uaimh na nÉan, an 18-minute film shot along the Copper Coast on the picturesque southern coast of Ireland. A swimmer and surfer, Krohn has long been comfortable in the pool and in the sea, but the Hollywood movie Jaws scarred him for many years - as it did for millions of other movie-goers and beach-goers worldwide.

"I was always comfortable swimming, but eventually Jaws changed all that," explains Krohn. "For many years [after], I had a debilitating fear of open water. It would be years later in Ireland surfing in Tramore Bay that reconnected me with the ocean not least because it's less sharky in these waters."

Krohn literally took a leap of faith and accepted his fear based on a fictional movie. "I'm a great believer of stepping towards fear until eventually it dissolves. Donal Buckley's blog has provided a world of inspiration, not least because the locations are right on my doorstep. I am by no means a great swimmer and have a healthy respect for the sea and my own limits. Water safety is something I feel passionately about and in some way shape or form I plan to make a meaningful contribution to the community in the future."

With his acclaimed film about the beauty and connection between swimmers and the sea, his contributions have already started with much more undoubtedly on its way. "There's a 25 meter pool and Galway Bay right on my doorstep so I have a long way to go and much to learn. I don't know how you guys do it and guess I will find out when I get there."

He plans to combine his film-making skills with his passion for swimming to benefit others. "This won't be [my] last film. Working with the swimming community and water safety community is a worthy mission. Honestly, I'd rather be teaching people how to save lives and swim to safety."

Copyright © 2014 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

S.C.A.R. Leaves Great Memories

SCAR SWIM 2014 from Kent Nicholas on Vimeo.

As organizer Kent Nicholas explains about the S.C.A.R. Swim Challenge 2014, "It was hard to fit four days, four lakes and roughly 40 miles of swimming into 5 minutes ... but here goes [see above].

We don't take ourselves too seriously, remembering that swimming is about having a good time

And that the S.C.A.R. swimmers do.

The S.C.A.R. Swim Challenge is set in the dry, rugged American southwest desert of Arizona. Once a humble attempt at a long series of training swims, S.C.A.R. is no longer a rogue swim under the radar. The secret is out about the out-of-the-way 4-day stage swim that focuses on camaraderie rather than competition, passion rather than pressure.

Swimmers from around the world have discovered the joy of a 64.3 km series of swims in Saguaro Lake, Canyon Lake, Apache Lake and Roosevelt Lake where flexibility and recovery play important elements just as do feeds and navigation. Set along four majestic reservoirs on the Salt River in the desert wild, Nicholas' brainchild has become an international marathon happening that has blossomed out of the desert wilds.

Registration will open November 1st for its coveted 35 spots.

Copyright © 2014 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Winter Is Approaching And The Doctor Is Available

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Dr. Nataliya Fatyanova is one of the world's leading researchers and physicians when it comes to ice swimming.

With the help of her willing subjects who are constantly pushing themselves in frigid water temperatures, Dr. Fatyanova is exploring and adding to her knowledge about the physiological boundaries of winter swimming from re-warming to proper acclimatization.

"She's one amazing woman and with that smile, she will forbid you from getting into the water," recalls Nuala Moore. "During the Bering Strait Swim on the ship, she said anyone not passing [the physical] tests will not swim. She's brilliant."

As she learns more about what the human body can endure and withstand, she is fine-tuning the parameters that will allow athletes to enter winter swimming competitions and streamlining protocols on how best to enable responsible recovery and safe re-warming from hypothermic conditions.

Photos courtesy of Nuala Moore. Lower photo shows Dr. Nataliya Fatyanova on the far left in the first row together with Bering Strait Swim participants Alexandr Brylin, Grigorii Prokopchuk, Ram Barkai, Jackie Cobell, Aleksandr Jakovlevs, Nuala Moore, Mariia Yrjö-Koskinen, Tatiana Alexandrova, Victoria Brylin, and Dr. Irina Zhidkova.

Copyright © 2014 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Chloë Cleared, Coaching To Continue

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

After an unanticipated stay in the hospital due to severe sea wasp stings that became infected, Chloë McCardel was released from a local hospital earlier today.

As she tries to catch up on her communications, she continues to manage her injuries and is not able to walk more than a few meters at a time.

Besides demonstrating a pain threshold rarely seen during and after her 42 hour 30 minute swim of 126 km in the Bahamas, she is also looking forward to volunteering again to coach English Channel relays that raise money for Swim Across America.

This year, two of her teams - Aquatic Water Buffalo and Four Buoys and a Girl - collectively raised US$125,000 for the cancer charity organization Swim Across America. Janel Jorgensen McArdle, President of Swim Across America, says, "Chloë was able to make 10 people's dreams come true while helping us to raise a ton of money. She did a phenomenal job and we are excited to keep this initiative going on for our [top] fundraisers."

As part of this initiative, McCardel offered her expertise to coordinate all the Channel Swimming Association and pilot administration as well as coach and crew while in England. "I assisted where I could so the swimmers could raise as much money for Swim Across America as possible. I wanted to raise indirectly as much funds as possible for cancer charity and to give back to the sport which has given us so much. I have reserved relay positions for 2016 and I will be volunteering in this manner every second year to keep this momentum going."

McArdle agreed and was especially grateful for McCardel's efforts. "Chloë was able to make 10 people's dreams come true while helping us to raise a ton of money. She did a phenomenal job and we are excited to keep this initiative going on an every other year basis for our stud fundraisers."

Copyright © 2014 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Finishing Strongly In The Second Half Of Life

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Celebrities Nicholas Cage, Matt Dillon, Rob Lowe, Sandra Bullock, Elle Macpherson, Russell Crowe, Stephen Colbert, Lenny Kravitz, Courteney Cox, Courtney Love, Keanu Reeves, and Marisa Tomei are at the tail end of the Baby Boomer generation, but these well-known stars are still celebrating 50 years on Planet Earth.

With such long, storied careers, these stars seem almost ageless. They continue to perform as they seemingly have found the Fountain of Youth.

As do the members of the Catalina Channel Half Century Club, a group of mature swimmers who have successfully crossed the Catalina Channel over the age of 50 years. With James Clifford leading the field after finally breaking the long-held age record of Bob West, there are at least 43 people in the esteemed group:

1. James Clifford (USA), 62 years 11 months, CM in 9 hours 49 minutes in 2014
2. Bob West (USA), 62, CM in 15:49 in 1998
3. Gary Greenwood (USA), 62, CM in 13:08 in 2004
4. Pat Gallant-Charette (USA), 60, CM in 14:11 in 2011
5. Mo Siegel (USA), 60, CM in 13:08 in 2011
6. Scott Lautman (USA), 60 CM in 12:09 in 2013
7. Bob Needham (USA), 58, CM in 13:10 in 2011
8. Tom Hecker (USA), 57, CM in 10:45 in 2009
9. Richard Knepper (USA), 56, MC in 11:56 in 2005
10. Barbara Held (USA), 56, CM in 9:36 in 2010
11. Mark Smitherman (USA), 56, CM in 11:52 in 2014
12. Carol Sing (USA), 55, CM in 10:38 in 1997
13. Bill Hoehn (USA), 55, CM in 12:57 in 2005
14. Kevin Murphy (Great Britain), 54, CM in 15:23 in 2003
15. Roger Finch (South Africa), 54, CM in 9:45:02 in 2012
16. Dave Van Mouwerik (USA), 54, CM in 12:09:07 in 2012
17. Ned Denison (Ireland), 54, CM 8:50:04 in 2012
18. Peter Tanham (Australia), 54, CM in 10:07 in 2014
19. Anthony McCarley (USA), 54, CM in 13:00.3 in 2014
20. Nick Almos-Lau (Mexico), 53, CM in 12:40 in 1999
21. James Fitzpatrick (USA), 53, CM in 14:59 in 2008 (to Newport Beach)
22. Jim McConica (USA), 53, CM in 10:19 in 2004
23. Douglas McConnell (USA), 53, CM in 12:41:13 in 2012
24. David Cooper (USA), 52, CM in 13:19 in 2005
25. Dan Richards (USA), 52, CM in 10:10 2008
26. Chris Burke (USA), 52, CM in 11:22 in 2014
27. Alan Bell (USA), 51, CM in 9:28 in 2001
28. Chris Palfrey (Australia), 51, CM in 10:30 in 2009
29. Lynn Kubasek (USA), 51, CM in 15:53 in 2009
30. Daniel Robinson (USA), 51, CM in 9:57 in 2008
31. Ron Collins (USA), 51, CM in 10:05 on 10 September 2013
32. Antonio Argüelles (Mexico), 50, CM in 10:25 in 2009
33. William Newbern (USA), 50, CM in 12:48 in 2005
34. Ray Meltvedt (USA), 50, CM in 15:25 in 2010
35. Suzie Dods (USA), 50, MC in 18:36 in 2010
36. Dale Petranech (USA), 50, CM in 13:28 in 1985
37. John Hill (USA), 50, CM in 19:15 in 1985
38. Frank Reynolds (USA), 50, CM in 10:34 in 1987
39. Jim Barber (USA), 50, CM in 8:43 in 2010
40. Sue Free (USA), 50, CM in 11:23 in 2012
41. Bridgette Hobart Janeczko (USA), 50, CM 11:27:16 in 2012
42. Hendrik Meerman (USA), CM, 50, 12:48:30 in 2012
43. Scott Tapley (USA), MC, 50, 17:43:12 in 2014

Copyright © 2014 by World Open Water Swimming Association

The Beauty Of Uaimh an tSolais & Uaimh na nÉan

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Like Mavericks in northern California, North Shore on Oahu, Okinawa in Japan, Robben Island in South Africa, Cancun in Mexico, it took generations before swimmers, surfers and marine enthusiasts discovered these iconic locations of raw beauty that provide dynamically picturesque venues for human adventure.

Sam Krohn teamed up with Donal Buckley to produce Uaimh an tSolais & Uaimh na nÉan, an 18-minute film inspired by Buckley's explorations in southern Ireland.

The film perfectly captures undulation of the underwater, the oscillation of the ocean, and the charm of the Copper Coast. These are the natural phenomena that inherently attract individuals to the world of the open water.

Krohn, like many of his native Australians and an increasingly greater number of his fellow Irish swimmers, clearly possesses a deep connection with the sea; his instincts and insights into the raw beauty of the marine environment and the pure joy of open water swimming is beautifully captured in Uaimh an tSolais & Uaimh na nÉan that was incredibly shot on one take.

For open water swimmers, the scenes precisely capture their own perspective at the water’s level, making the film profoundly personal and intrinsically interesting. For Krohn, he has certainly made a lasting mark on the sport with Uaimh an tSolais & Uaimh na nÉan (Cave of the Light & Cave of the Birds), a film by swimmers about swimmers for swimmers - and all those who love and respect the sea and the spirit of human adventure.

Copyright © 2014 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