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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Details, Details, Details In The Open Water

The World Open Water Swimming Association was privy to the tremendously detailed log that Gary Emich has compiled of his 761 solo swims to and from Alcatraz Island in San Francisco Bay.

It is impressive. Extremely impressive.

His log - presented in an Excel spreadsheet - provides information on each and every Alcatraz swim he has ever done - in order with the data, length of the swim, water temperature, start time and comparison of start time relative to the high and low tides, maximum ebb or flood current and the slack tide (i.e. when the current stops flowing one way and begins to reverse), as well as his comments.

His record-keeping and diligence is an outstanding bit of record-keeping to share with the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame and the rest of the global open water swimming community, although Gary is low-key and humble about his intentions. "I never intended it to be for publication - it was just my way of (1) documenting my swims, and (2) giving me a historical reference so that if I were going to do another swim under similar tidal conditions I'd at least know what happened previously."

What is amazing is that he grouped into 15 different categories and routes, proving he really knows his stuff out there in San Francisco Bay.

For example, on his swim #35 on April 23rd 1999, he swam for 40 minutes and 49 seconds in 55.0F water with a start time of 10:16 am which was 2 hours 49 minutes before high tide (a 5.1 foot difference between the high tide and the low tide that day), 1 hour and 10 minutes before the max 3.6 knot ebb tide, and 5 hours and 17 minutes before slack (i.e., the beginning of the incoming 3.3 knot flood).

Details, details, those are the little things that make experienced open water swimmers great – whether it is the thought-process behind their pre-race planning, their concentration on their stroke techniques or the subtle ways they can utilize the power of tides, waves and surface chop.

Copyright © 2011 by World Open Water Swimming Association

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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.

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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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