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Saturday, July 3, 2010

Blazing Speed At The British Gas Great London Swim

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

While supermodels and celebrities joined 5,000 other open water swimmers in London at the British Gas Great London Swim and a few dozen elite athletes in the Royal Victoria Dock.

The event was spectacular.

Jodie Kidd, the British supermodel who was instructed by Olympic 10K Marathon swimmer David Davies, said, "It’s a fantastic event with an amazing atmosphere."

"I’ve never seen so many swimmers gathered together all in their wetsuits with the one sense of purpose. I’ve never really done any outside swimming before and so it was great to get a lesson off Dave. He gave me lots of great tips too, about keeping calms, breathing the right way and saving your legs for the latter stages

With 16 waves of 300 swimmers each, the race was both safe and enjoyable - and extraordinarily competitive.

Thomas Lurz of Germany successfully defended his title after slightly edging away from the rest of the elite field at the 800-meter mark point to win in a blazing fast 16:42.57.

But right behind Lurz came a photo-finish between second-place Ky Hurst, the Australian Olympian, in 16:43.67 and Petar Stoychev of Bulgaria in 16:44.29. In a swim reminiscent of his miscalculation at the end of the Beijing Olympic 10K Marathon Swim, early leader David Davies took a different line to the finish and ended up in a pack behind the top three.

Lurz said, "It was a really fast race, much faster than last year, but the field was so much stronger. The pace was very quick from the start and I just tried to go as well as I could, but due to the speed it wasn’t such a tactical race. I managed to get into the lead as we came down the finishing straight and it was just a case of pushing on and I’m delighted to have won."

In the women’s race, Olympians Cassie Patten and Keri-Anne Payne took off with their British teammate Katy Whitfield and Jana Pechanová of the Czech Republic to clear the crowded field after only the first 200 meters.

By the halfway mark, the fast foursome were 30 meters ahead of the rest of the field when Payne and Pechanová gained a slight edge. But in what may be indicative of her increasingly competitive positioning leading up to the 2010 World Open Water Swimming Championships, Patten fought back brilliantly, moved clear down the final straightaway and closed out an impressive victory in a fast 17:48.20 with Payne second (17:49.46) with Pechanová (17:50.00) a close third.

Patten said, "I dropped a bit behind Keri-Anne and Jana and so it was a case of first putting my head down and catching up with them, which I managed to do. From there, I got ahead and then I just concentrated on going as hard as I could. My fitness levels are good at the moment and so I’m very happy with how the race went, especially as the conditions were so good and we were able to go so fast."

Winners all around - including the efforts of the 5,000+ swimmers, many of whom were swimming for charity – with £250,000 raised overall.


Copyright © 2010 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Wow...These British Are Good

In advance of the British Gas Great London Swim this weekend, the fantastically innovative folks from the TVCGroup on behalf of Nova International came up with this video introduction to the world's greatest open water swim series.

The race itself was even more outstanding than its preview.

Copyright © 2010 by Steven Munatones

Analyzing The Ironman Triathlon Dream Team

In a EverymanTri article, it was reported that renowned American marathon runner and American half-marathon record holder Ryan Hall tweeted about a Triathlon Dream Team of Michael Phelps swimming, Lance Armstrong cycling and Ryan running.

EverymanTri proposed split times for for this Dream Team relay to break the 7-hour mark at the Ironman World Championships, assuming that Michael completes the 2.4-mile swim leg in 45 minutes, Lance completes the 112-mile bike course in 4 hours and Ryan runs the marathon in 2:15.

While Lance and Ryan may hold up their end of the bargain, we are not sure that Michael could go two minutes faster than the top triathlon swimmers who were very fast pool swimmers in their competitive pool swimming prime without some help:

46:41 Lars Jorgensen (USA) 1998
46:44 Lars Jorgensen (USA) 1995
46:50 Jan Sibbersen (GER) 2003
47:01 Noa Sakamoto (USA) 2008
47:02 John Flanagan III (USA) 2008
47:04 Jan Sibbersen (GER) 2004
47:15 Hiroki Hikida (JPN) 2003
47:39 Bradford Hinshaw (USA) 1986
47:41 John Weston USA 2003
47:42 John Flanagan III (USA) 2009

Michael, history's greatest swimmer, has tremendous turns in the pool where he blasts off the wall at a top instantaneous velocity of over 3.3 meters per second and quickly streamlines underwater for up to 15 meters, essentially making every 50-meter lap into a 35-meter sprint. In the gently rolling ebb and flow along the Kona coast, Michael would not benefit from one of his greatest aquatic advantages.

Additionally, Michael, who moves powerfully through the water with a finely-tuned symmetrical freestyle, could probably navigate his way along the Ironman course well enough, but the lack of lanes, lines and walls always throws off even the most accomplished pool swimmers - and especially in a course that runs parallel to the twisting curvature of the Kona coast.

While Michael has the athletic ability to become the fastest open water swimmer in history, we also believe he would have to practice this discipline before swimming two minutes faster than anyone else ever has in the Ironman swim leg. While Michael hates to lose, competing in the dynamic environment of the open ocean throws a different element to his winning equation.

Fortunately, this future possibility is not out of the question. The sport of open water swimming has seen numerous Olympic gold medalists in the pool - including Jim Montgomery, John Kinsella, Shane Gould, Sandy Neilson-Bell and Brooke Bennett - take to the open water after the days of pool glory ended. However, Michael may need some convincing and prodding to get him in the open water. He has spoken about open water swimming before: here and here.

But if he is so motivated, we believe Michael would need help to do a 45-minute 2.4-mile Ironman swim leg - besides having the benefit of glassy smooth conditions. Ideally, his help could come by efficiently drafting off of an of very fast open water swimmer for the first half of the race and then negative-splitting the rest of the swim leg himself while using the officials' boats as navigational aides. An ideal partner would be multi-time 5K world open water champion Thomas Lurz who is not only a world-class 1500-meter swimmer, but also someone with a well-developed open water navigational IQ.

Michael will be on the shoreline at the 2010 Pan Pacific Swimming Championships 10K race in Marine Stadium in Long Beach, California cheering on his American open water swimming teammates this August, so he may get a taste of the sport soon enough.

As EverymanTri suggested, it would definitely be very cool to see such a relay.

Copyright © 2010 by World Open Water Swimming Association

The First To France And California

On June 29th, Team Outrageous, a four-person relay, was the first to France during the 2010 season.

The team, consisting of Jim McGuire, Patrick Reedman, Janina Dowding and Mike Russell, faced some fairly cold water. The water started at 13°C and dropped down to 11°C (51°F) by the time the foursome was within eyesight of France.

Jim recalled, "On my leg, I kept going afraid I was going to freeze if I stop. I could not be happier to get back on board. I had a shiver and got my clothes on fast. On Mike's swim, we saw a large pod of dolphins behind us getting closer, so that was a good sign."

12 hours and 39 minutes from start to finish, Team Outrageous was the first to France during 2010. Their course was constantly tracked - every 60 seconds - on InstaMapper which has a free app for the Apple iPhone. Jim plugged his iPhone to a charger and let it run for the entire route across the English Channel as it updated his course every 60 seconds.

That same evening on the other side of the world, Tanner Cridland, Kellie Fecarotta, Natalie Malicki, Danny Miller, Sasha Westberg, and Derek Young of the Mission Viejo Nadadores finished the first Catalina Channel relay this season in 8:09:12.

Kayaker Lynn Kubasek explained, "The young swimmers left Catalina Island before midnight."

"While we were waiting for the swim to start, we were entertained by a small seal jumping after flying fish. When Derek, the first swimmer, left the island, he had dolphins all around him. They came within inches of the bow of the kayak and jumped in two’s and three’s. Oddly, the dolphins returned on Derek's second round too

"Although the second swimmer, Sasha, swam a calm, uneventful leg, Kellie and Natalie suffered with jellyfish stings. Danny swam with a broken hand and a cast. When things got a little bumpy on his leg. He asked "How long?" when he had only been swimming 26 minutes and said his arm hurt. He said he didn't think he had it in him and he was cold. He kept swimming for a bit and looked up and asked, "Would it be illegal if I got out?" I said "If you get out, the relay is over..." He groaned and put his head down and swam even harder."

"I love being a part of these efforts," said Lynn. "The energy is so uplifting."

Two great swims in what promises to be hundreds of more successes in the English and Catalina Channels this season.

Copyright © 2010 by Steven Munatones

Outstanding Shots In The Open Water

Tim Calver is a freelance photographer based in Miami Beach, Florida whose outstanding work has appeared in Time Magazine, Outside, Caribbean Travel and Life, Scuba Diving Magazine and National Geographic Adventure. Among his many techniques, Tim freedives to capture amazing images underwater. It is fantastic work that dramatically captures his connection with those who connect with the water.

No wonder why blueseventy uses him. View his work here.

Copyright © 2010 by Steven Munatones

Breaststroking In The Netherlands

DAW-FINENZO organizes the annual Alkmaar swim on July 25th in the Recreatiegebied Geestmerambacht in the Netherlands that includes 1K, 2.5K and 5K traditional open water swims plus a 2K breaststroke event and 250- and 500-meter swims for younger children.

Additionally, there is a 500-meter, 1K and 2K breaststroke-only events and a 500-meter breaststroke relay for swimmers of all ages.

At a cost of €6.50 per event, the price is right, especially with discounts for masters swimmers.

Copyright © 2010 by Steven Munatones

A Double In The Triple Crown

Antonio (Toño) Argüelles of Mexico holds a unique position in the Triple Crown of Open Water Swimming: he is the only person to do it twice.

He originally completed his first Triple Crown in 1999 and repeated it within one calendar year in 2009. Antonio completed the Triple Crown after his 7:56 Manhattan Island Marathon Swim in 7:56 in 1998, a 12:25 crossing of the Catalina Channel in July, 1999 and a 18:19 crossing of the English Channel in August, 1999.

Toño repeated his Triple Crown feat in 2009 when he completed a Manhattan Island Marathon Swim in June, a July crossing of the Catalina Channel and a English Channel crossing in 12:54 on September.

As Toño says, "We all have a channel to cross: for some, that is the English Channel; for others, it is 30 minutes of daily exercise; and for some, it is not to quit school." Toño's feats make it 36 athletes total in marathon swimming history to complete the English Channel, Catalina Channel and the Manhattan Island Marathon Swim:

1. Allison Streeter (UK)
2. Taranath Narayan Shenoy (India)
3. Rick Barthels (USA)
4. Bob West (USA)
5. Peter Urrea (USA)
6. Carol Sing (USA)
7. Antonio Argüelles (Mexico) (twice, in 1999 and 2009)
8. Nick Olmos-Lau (Mexico)
9. T. Scott Coleman (USA)
10. Rebecca Jackman (USA)
11. Kevin Murphy (UK)
12. Kathleen Wilson (USA)
13. Forrest Nelson (USA)
14. Andrew Hewitt (USA)
15. David Blanke (USA)
16. Elizabeth Fry (USA)
17. Marcia Cleveland (USA)
18. Bill Hoehn (USA)
19. Sally Minty-Gravett (Jersey Island, UK)
20. James Pittar (Australia)
21. Scott Richards (USA)
22. Andrew "Alan" Voisard (USA)
23. Tina Neil (USA)
24. Rendy Lynn Opdycke (USA)
25. Michelle Davidson (USA)
26. Michelle Macy (USA)
27. Tom Hecker (USA)
28. Erica Moffett (USA)
29. Nancy Steadman-Martin (USA)
30. Michelle Davidson (USA)
31. Michael Miller (USA)
32. Nick Adams (UK)
33. Elaine Kornbau Howley (USA)
34. Stephen Autry (USA)
35. Jeffrey Cleveland (USA)
36. Sakura Hingley (UK)

Copyright © 2010 by Open Water Source

A Thank You Gift from WOWSA

WOWSA is celebrating the
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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.

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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.

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