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Sunday, November 7, 2010

Bodysurfing Into The Finish

With the Southern Hemisphere open water swimming season starting up in numerous countries during their summer as Northern Hemisphere swimmers either head indoors or start thinking about travel plans southward or for next season, it is always good to start thinking about different aspects of your racing that may not be known or on the mind of your pool coach.

But key aspects are certainly always considered and taught by excellent and experienced open water swimming coaches as part of their fundamental program.

For competitive open water swimmers, body surfing skills are often the difference between two equally skilled athletes. The ability to out-body surf another swimmer into a beach finish is always exciting to see in a close ocean race. On the other hand, for the more casual open water swimmer, body surfing skills enable them to have more confidence going in and out of the surf zone and avoid getting hurt, surprised or wiped out.

After the experienced open water swimmer selects a wave as they head towards the finish or purposefully times their take-off position so they can body surf a wave into the finish, they concentrate on maintaining a streamlined position, sometimes with their head up and sometimes with their head down depending on where they are in the wave.

As the power of the wave surges forward and they feel an increased speed, the swimmer kicks hard and enabling the ride to begin. Their hips are elevated as they kick and their head is up and looking forward with an outstretched arm and hand serving as their bow. They take a few good few breaths of air while they can in this position as they come sliding down the face of the wave, significantly moving faster than they ever could simply swimming.

As the wave breaks, they kick even harder in order to stay within the wave with their arm and hard still extended. Within the whitewater, they still kick but if they feel themselves falling out of the wave because they are moving more slowly than the wave itself, they start stroking with their back hand. Trying to stay within the whitewater separates the best body surfing open water swimmers from those without the experience or aerobic ability to stay with a wave. As the wave starts to fizzle out and the water starts to get shallower, they start to take a few strokes and get ready to dolphin into the finish.

Because the body surfing puts a lot of stress on their body due to their increased kick and efforts to stay within a wave, especially if they have traveled a fair distance without breathing, the most seriously committed open water swimmers who compete in ocean races practice body surfing just as they do other aspects of the sport.

But for those who do not have easy access to a beach, they can still prepare for body surfing in a pool by doing hypoxic sets. For example, in a set of 100s, the last lap or last 10-15 meters can be done without breathing. This helps replicate the anaerobic conditions they face during body surfing towards the end of the race.

When open water swimmers listen to surfers, they may hear some of these terms:

Ankle Slappers/Busters: small waves.
Back Down: to decide not to take off on a wave.
Bail out: to get away from, jump off, or dive off the surfboard just before a potential wipe out.
Barrel: a hollow channel formed inside a good wave when it breaks and curls over.
Blown Out: conditions that are created when the winds blow so hard and chop up the surf to render it difficult to ride.
Breaker: a wave that breaks on the way to the beach.
Crest: top portion of a wave.
Cruncher: hard-breaking wave that quickly folds over and is almost impossible to ride.
Cut out/Pull Out: to pull out of a wave.
Dolphin Pop: an underwater takeoff where a body surfer dives under the surface of the water as the wave prepares to break, does dolphin (butterfly) kick and then pops out on the face of the wave like a dolphin to perfectly catch the wave.
Eat It/Wipe out/Nailed: to miss catching the wave and get thrown by or off the wave.
Face: the unbroken wall, surface, or nearly vertical front of a wave.
Glassy: smooth water surface conditions caused by absence of winds.
Outside Break: area farthest from shore where the waves are breaking.
Over the Falls: To wipe out, or to get dragged over as the wave breaks.
Pounder: a hard-breaking wave.
Set: a group of waves.
Shape: the configuration, or form, of a wave.
Shore Break: waves break very close to the beach.
Soup: foamy part of the broken wave; the white water after the wave breaks.
Stoked:
Happy; excited; contented.
Stringer:
Swells: unbroken waves moving in groups of similar height and frequency.
Takeoff: the start of a ride.
Tube: the hollow portion of a wave formed when the crest spills over and makes a tunnel or hollow space in front of the face of the wave.

Photo by Jeff Johnson.

Copyright © 2010 by Open Water Source

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The Staff of the World Open Water Swimming Association

2014 Global Open Water Swimming Conference

Learn more...
Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER FOR THE CONFERENCE

The Global Open Water Swimming Conference is a conference on the sport of open water swimming, marathon swimming and swimming during triathlons and multi-sport endurance events.

The conference which has been attended by enthusiasts and luminaries from 6 continents, is devoted to providing information about the latest trends, race tactics, training techniques, equipment, psychological preparation, race organization and safety practices used in the sports of open water swimming, marathon swimming and triathlons.

The conference's mission is to provide opportunities to listen and meet many of the world's most foremost experts in open water swimming, and to meet and discuss the sport among swimmers, coaches, administrators, event organizers, sponsors, vendors, officials, escort pilots, and volunteers from kayakers to safety personnel.

Dozens of presentations at the 2014 Conference at the Mount Stuart House cover numerous aspects of the vast and growing world of open water swimming where attendees can learn and share the latest trends, race tactics, training modalities, swimming techniques, equipment, race organization, logistics, operations, and safety practices for open water swimming as a solo swimmer, competitive athlete, fitness swimmer, masters swimmer, triathlete, multi-sport athlete, administrator, race promoter, sponsor or referee.

The conference was first held in Long Beach, California as part of the 2010 USA Swimming National Open Water Swimming Championships. It has since been held on the Queen Mary in California, at Columbia University and the United Nations in New York City, and in Cork, Ireland. This year in September, it comes to another iconic location, the Mount Stuart House on the Isle of Bute in Scotland.

"The Global Open Water Swimming Conference was started due to the desire and need for athletes, coaches, referees, administrators, race directors, promoters and sponsors from around the world to share, collect and learn information about the growing sports of open water swimming, marathon swimming and triathlons," said founder Steven Munatones. "Other swimming conferences usually offering nothing on open water swimming or perhaps a speech or two, but we thought open water swimming deserves its own global conference. It is great that the community shares its information via the online social network, but there is nothing like meeting other open water swimming enthusiasts face-to-face and talking about the sport from morning to night."

Speakers at the conference include English Channel swimmers, ice swimmers, record holders, renowned coaches, world champions, professional marathon swimmers, renowned race directors, officials and administrators from the Africa, Americas, Asia, Europe and Oceania.

"Because the audience is passionate and educated about the sport and its finest practitioners, the Global Open Water Swimming Conference is also the location of the induction ceremonies for the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame and the annual WOWSA Awards that recognize the World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year, the World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year, the World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year, and the World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year. Special Lifetime Achievement Awards are also occasionally presented to individuals who have made significant contributions to the sport over their career."

The 2014 Global Open Water Swimming Conference Programme

Wednesday, September 17th
Leave Glasgow to commence 2-day tour of Scotland [closest international airport is Glasgow]

Thursday, September 18th
Stay Mainland, North of Scotland

Friday, September 19th
14:00 - Swim Loch Lomond
17:00 - Head to Isle of Bute
19:30 - Scottish Banquet
21:30 - Dinner Dance

Saturday, September 20th
09:00 - Registration & Coffee
10:00 - Speeches
12:20 - Lunch and WOWSA Awards
13:40 – Speeches
15:40 - Round Table
19:00 - International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Dinner & Induction Ceremony

Sunday, September 21st
09:00 - Registration & Coffee
10:00 - Speeches
14:30 - Swim in St Ninian's Bay on the Isle of Bute

The luminaries of the open water swimming world who will be honored in Scotland will include:

* Sandra Bucha (U.S.A.), International Swimming Hall of Fame Honor Open Water Swimmer and International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Honour Swimmer
* Jon Erikson (U.S.A.), International Swimming Hall of Fame Honor Open Water Swimmer
* Claudio Plit (Argentina), International Swimming Hall of Fame Honor Open Water Swimmer
* Judith van Berkel-de Njis (Netherlands), International Swimming Hall of Fame Honor Open Water Swimmer
* David Yudovin (U.S.A.), International Swimming Hall of Fame Honor Open Water Swimmer
* Mercedes Gleitze (Great Britain), International Swimming Hall of Fame Honor Open Water Swimmer
* George Young (Canada), International Swimming Hall of Fame Honor Open Water Swimmer
* Dale Petranech (U.S.A.), International Swimming Hall of Fame Honor Open Water Contributor
* Melissa Cunningham (Australia), 2013 Irving Davids-Captain Roger Wheeler Memorial Award winner
* Vojislav Mijić (Serbia), International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Honour Swimmer
* James Anderson (U.S.A.), International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Honour Administrator
* Dr. Jane Katz (U.S.A.), International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Honour Administrator
* Indonesian Swimming Federation, , International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Honour Organisation
* Elizabeth Fry (U.S.A.), International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Honour Swimmer
* Pádraig Mallon (Ireland), the 2013 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year
* Olga Kozydub (Russia), the 2013 World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year
* Bering Strait Swim (international team), the 2013 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year
* International Ice Swimming Association (Ram Barkai, founder, South Africa), the 2013 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year

For additional articles on the 2014 Global Open Water Swimming Conference, visit:

* Olga Kozydub To Be Honored In Scotland
* Pádraig Mallon To Be Honored In Mount Stuart Castle
* Mount Stuart House, Splendid Setting For Swimming
* Colleen Blair To Kick-off Global Open Water Swimming Conference
* The Man Who Swims Better Than He Walks
* Joining In The Sea Goddess At The Hall Of Fame
* Mercedes Gleitze To Be Honored In Scotland
* The Incredible Career Of Merceded Gleitze
* Jon Erikson To Be Honoured In Florida
* The Incredible Career Of Mercedes Gleitze
* St Ninian's Bay To Host International Swim Conference

Copyright © 2014 by World Open Water Swimming Association

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