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Saturday, January 15, 2011

Open Water Swimming Clubs, Teams And Organizations

Back in the 1970's, a quiet, hard-working open water swimming team in Southern California, coached by Siga Rose, had a number of young ocean swimmers who trained constantly along the coast of California. Those swimmers - Lynne Cox, Penny Dean, John York - eventually became world-famous as they went on to set numerous records in channels around the world.

Dial forward forty years and there are now hundreds of open water swimming pods, teams, groups, clubs, societies and associations flourishing around the world. Here are a brief list of a few of these teams scattered around the world:

The Brighton Swimming Club has been in existence since 1860 with over 150 years of annual and daily sea swims on the south coast of England. With the weather and sea conditions permitting, members swim year-round at 7:30am every day, 11:30 am Monday – Saturday, and 10:15am on Sundays with other times during the evenings and summer.

La Jolla Cove Swim Club that trains in La Jolla Cove just north of San Diego. The club is an informal organization of friendly people who like to swim in the ocean with training sessions and sponsored activities once a month. The club organizes a Polar Bear Swim on New Year's Day, the 1.5-mile CYA Across the Bay Swim in June, and the 1.5- and 5-mile Tour of Buoys Swim in early August.

Club members and non-members swim in the beautiful La Jolla Cove daily usually around 6:30 am, 8:00 am, 9:00 am, 11:00 am, 4:00 pm and other times throughout the day regardless of weather and water temperature throughout the year. Some swimmers swim less than 1K while others train for the English Channel, Catalina Channel, Cook Strait and other marathon swims.

Santa Barbara Channel Swimming Association has a number of informal and formal training sessions and events, all held north of Los Angeles in the Santa Barbara area, including the 26-mile Big Swim channel crossing. The members are extremely helpful and knowledgeable about swimming in the Santa Barbara Channel area and sanction a number of channel swims every year.

Tower 26 is an ocean swimming group of competitive athletes of all abilities who enjoy hard-core workouts in Los Angeles.

Headquartered appropriately at Tower 26 on Santa Monica Beach, the workouts are geared towards learning and practicing positioning, drafting, turns, starts and finishes. The practices are preceded by a warm-up period and end with presentations from a number of new product vendors and service providers, but the 60-minute in-the-water practices quickly morph into a high-intensity, high-energy friendly competition where a mix of world championship swimmers, professional triathletes and beginner endurance athletes are each placed in their appropriate groups.

Surf Life Saving Australia (SLSA), first founded in 1907, is an umbrella organization that currently incorporates 305 local surf lifesaving clubs throughout Australia. These clubs are undoubtedly the epitome of open water swimming clubs where competitive swims are organized as part of the famously competitive, extremely popular, highly social and entertaining surf carnivals.

The clubs hold training sessions and teach nippers how to handle themselves - and others - in the ocean. The club tirelessly and passionately promotes all forms of open water athletic events in a social, enjoyable manner. Two examples - representative of what is available in Australia - include the Lorne Surf Life Saving Club and the Bondi Surf Bathers’ Life Saving Club.

The Lorne Surf Life Saving Club hosts the nib Lorne Pier to Pub Swim, one of the largest ocean swims in the world. Additionally, as Australian surf life saving clubs do, provide voluntary patrols of its coastline in summer so that swimmers and surfers can enjoy the ocean and surf safely.


The Bondi Surf Bathers’ Life Saving Club is the oldest surf lifesaving club in the world.

The renowned club hosts the always popular and highly competitive Bondi To Bronte Ocean Swim whose race video can be seen here and below.


The Cabrillo Beach Polar Bears was started in 1953 by John Olguin and Jack Cheaney with the goals of health, physical fitness and community service.

The club, based on the ocean-facing edge of Los Angeles, has held formal and informal ocean training sessions, starting at 6:00 am and ending at dusk, near the Catalina Channel finish (on the California mainland) and a New Year's Day Swim for nearly 60 years.

The club annually selects a King and Queen of the Beach from its many daily ocean swimmers and has a convenient Cabrillo Beach Bathhouse as its official home only steps away from one of the coldest beaches in Southern California. The King and Queen represent the club at many community functions and are featured in the San Pedro Christmas Parade on the Polar Bear float.

The Shadowcliffs Orcas is an open water swimming club headquartered at the Shadow Cliffs Eastbay Regional Park near San Francisco. Members of the club must first pass an open water swimming test, but are then allowed to swim outside the designated swim area in the Shadow Cliffs Lake. As the club promotes, no lane lines, no chlorine, just sunshine and fresh air.

The members of the Jersey Long Distance Swimming Club have completed channel swims around the world. Its members are of all ages and abilities and has affiliations with the Amateur Swimming Association Swim South East Region, British Long Distance Swimming Association, Jersey Amateur Swimming Association and the Channel Swimming & Piloting Federation.

The Serpentine Swimming Club has own changing facilities and is allowed to swim in the Serpentine in Hyde Park in central London during certain morning hours. Its members swim year-round and organize the annual Peter Pan Cup Christmas Morning Swim.

The water temperature in the Serpentine ranges from 0°C (32°F) to 21°C (70°F). Even when the lake is frozen, the swimmers break a hole in the ice for some ice swimming.

Members of CIBBOWS (Coney Island Brighton Beach Open Water Swimmers) in New York include swimmers of all levels. They have group swims at Brighton Beach and Coney Island from April to November and host the Grimaldo's Mile, Aquarium 5K & 1 Mile, and Veteran's Day 5K, 1 Mile & 2 Mile Swims.

The Dolphin Swimming and Boating Club, established 1877, has rightly developed a proud tradition of safety, camaraderie and accomplishment over its long history. The iconic clubhouse is located near Fisherman's Wharf in full view of the majestic Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco Bay.

Like the other clubs on this list, it has many members who have conquered most of the most difficult channels around the world.

Members swim year-round in the waters of Aquatic Park where the water temperatures ranges between 10°C (50°F) to 15°C (61°F) year-round. A line of buoys parallel to the shore marks a quarter-mile course. After six months' membership in good standing, members may participate in the Club's organized swim program: approximately 20 swims inside and outside the cove throughout the year. Highlights of the Dolphin Club program include the Golden Gate and Alcatraz swims, twilight swims followed by potluck barbecues, and the Fort Point to Aquatic Park swim. If members swim at least 40 miles between December 21st and March 21st, they are honored as an official Dolphin Club Polar Bear.

Its members, photographed above by Susanne Friedrich, are welcoming and warm to everyone who takes a cool dip in San Francisco Bay.

The Ocean City Swim Club is an independent open water swim club based in Ocean City, New Jersey that holds a number of ocean training sessions, including popular weekend swims.

Members of the New England Marathon Swimming Association have been swimming in the waters of New England for 30 years from Booth Bay to Narragansett Bay and host a swim in Gloucester Harbor. The Association was formed to ensure open water swimming opportunities in New England's rivers, ponds, lakes, harbors, bays, sounds or ocean are available now and in the future.

The South End Rowing Club, founded in 1873, is adjacent to the Dolphin Club near the Fisherman's Wharf in view of the majestic Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco Bay. The club hosts the 1.25-mile Alcatraz Invitational Swim and a series of club swims, but many members train year-round in all conditions with only a swimsuit and a thermal cap. The camaraderie of the club is enticing and engaging. Like most clubs on this list, getting started is easy: just come down to the club and introduce yourself or help out at a club event.

The Cape Town association in South Africa has a number of cold-water training swims on Sunday mornings at Camps Bay beach as well as long-distance training sessions (5K or more) as well as a number of events and solo swims in and around the Cape Town area.

The L Street Brownies, officially organized as a club in 1902 with a history that has been traced to 1865, enjoys the L-Street Bathhouse as its headquarters. Members have been enjoying the cold waters of Boston Harbor for over 100 years and annually host the L Street New Year's Day Swim - a Boston tradition since 1904. Their club name comes from the beach where the club members meet and for the nut-brown skin color members develop from exposure to the sun.

Membership in the club costs US$1 and averages between 35-50 swimmers throughout the year.

The Cork Masters Swimming Club in Ireland hosts training sessions, the Lee River Swim and the The Edge Sports Sandycove Island Challenge jointly with the Cork Lions Club. Sandycove Island has become a popular training area for endurance athletes, channel swimmers and triathletes with an interest in open water swimming.

The Half Moon Swimming Club in Dublin, Ireland was founded in 1898 and has a history of success and enjoyment in the open water.

The Colorado Masters Swimming Association hosts open water swimming sessions at the Chatfield State Park in the Gravel Pond. There are also regular series swims in the middle of the Rocky Mountain at the Grant Ranch Swim Series and the Aquaman Series.

The Nadadores of South Florida host weekly Sunday ocean swims in Miami, aimed primarily at masters and adult open water swimmers.

In central Florida's Lake Cane, the tireless promoter of open water swimming Dr. Lucky Meisenheimer is the lightening rod behind the global band of merry open water swimmers who regularly gather at his famously hospitable residence - home to the world's largest yo-yo collection - to enjoy open water training sessions, events, get-togethers and relays.

Besides promoting wellness and the enjoyment of open water swimming, Lucky has organized world record distance lake swims (solos), relays (up to 100K), 1K races and hosted thousands of swimmers and hundreds of lake swims at his daily swims in a well-marked 1K course.

The Waikiki Swim Club has held weekly swims throughout Oahu including Saturday morning swims at Ala Moana Beach Park and Sunday morning swims at Kaimana Beach (on the Diamond Head side of Waikiki Beach) since 1971 as Hawaii's oldest organized club devoted to promoting safe and fun ocean swimming.

It hosts a number of ocean swims every year and sent teams to the Maui Channel Swim every year since its inception. The club sponsors the North Shore Swim Series, the Christmas Biathlon, and the Valentine's Day Biathlon. Members include swimmers of a wide range of age and ability.

The private Olympic Club, America's oldest athletic club, was established in 1860 in San Francisco. Its 5,000+ active members are dedicated to the pursuit of amateur athletic excellence and include many Olympic heroes, accomplished athletes and world open water swimming champions. The Olympic Club hosts the popular Trans Tahoe Relay that is a high-altitude masters swimming relay from the state of Nevada to the state of California across Lake Tahoe.

Open Water Chicago exists to deliver adventures in fitness to both the local and global communities of open water swimming enthusiasts that centers its training swims in Lake Michigan on the shores of Chicago.

The Capo Masters is located San Juan Capistrano, California and has been meeting in Laguna Beach and other beach locations throughout Orange County and Los Angeles County for over twenty years.

Its regular ocean swimming groups have as many as 30 swimmers at one time and are led by ocean aficionado and ultra-marathon swimmer Scott Zornig (photo on left).



The Coney Island Polar Bear Club, established in 1903, is the oldest American winter bathing organization whose members swim in the Atlantic Ocean at Coney Island every Sunday from November to April. They have organized one of the most publicized Polar Bear Swims in the US for decades.

The Avila Dolphins Swim Tea practices every Sunday year-round in Avila Beach, centrally located between Los Angeles and San Francisco on the Californian coast. In the water by 11 am, the team sometimes splits into 2-3 groups to accommodate the varying levels of skill, expertise, enthusiasm and level of tolerance for the ocean conditions over the 1-2 mile course. The team members also travel to numerous races from Maui to San Francisco.

The Triathlon Club of San Diego has an ocean swim every Sunday at 8:00 am in Powerhouse Park in Del Mar, California. The Club is one of the oldest and largest triathlon clubs in the country with members primarily from San Diego and Southern Orange Counties, but also from Canada, Japan, and Australia. Members’ experience level ranges from first timer to professional.

The Sea Monkeys of Seal Beach, California have a long and informal history in their friendly seaside community within easy view of Catalina Island and the Queen Mary harbored in neighboring Long Beach. Since the 1970's when famed Lynne Cox and Penny Dean trained from pier and jetty, swimmers from all over Southern California have flocked to the gentle shoreline of Seal Beach.

The Sea Monkeys regularly swim at 6:00 am on Thursdays from April to November. Wetsuits are optional, although most of the swimmers tend to be traditionalists.

Mission Viejo Nadadores regularly swim in south Orange County beaches in Southern California on the weekends.

Under the leadership of Siga Rose who has been teaching children and teenagers how to swim in the ocean since the 1970s, young swimmers learn how to feel comfortable in the ocean and rough water and various subtle techniques and tactics to become successful competitive or solo open water swimmers.



The Black-ice Open Water Swimming Club is based in Black Rock, Australia (outside of Melbourne) and are one tough, dedicated group of open water swimmers. To become an official member of the Black Rock Icebergers (Black-Ice), a swimmers is required to complete a 3K circuit of the long course at Brighton Baths during winter when the water temperature must be at or below 10°C (50°F) under the following rules: 1. Definitely no wetsuits, and 2. No neoprene swim caps.

The Black Rock Icebergers include English Channel swimmers, Cook Strait swimmers, Rottnest Channel swimmers, and others who simply are looking for a challenge.

The Black Rock Icebergers train every Saturday morning throughout the year at the Brighton Sea Baths, including winter when the air temperature ranges from 6°C to 15°C (42°F to 59°F).

Anyone can join in the Saturday practices, but as founder (and 2003 English Channel swimmer) Albert (Alby) Bardoel asks, "Remember our club rules - NO WETSUITS – because would you climb Mt Everest in a helicopter? Would you ride the Tour de France on a motorbike? Would you sail the world in a motorboat? Or would you run a marathon in your car?"

Orange County Open Water Swims is a grassroots Orange County, California Google Group that gathers from training swims throughout the coastline south of Los Angeles.

"We love hosting visiting swimmers who are visiting Orange County from around the world," said moderator Lynn Kubasek.

"We welcome everyone: wetsuits, fins, and skins. Whatever it takes to get people into the ocean. Baby steps. It is gratifying to see people get over initial fear of getting through the surf and graduating from wetsuits to skins. We have a few channel aspirants in our midst."

Sandycove Island Swim Club is a team consisting of newcomers and successful English Channel swimmers and is rapidly becoming a well-established proving ground of marathon swimmers. It also offers a 10-day training camp that is the ultimate in tough training - all necessary to get swimmers from point A to point B successfully.

1.PKO is an extreme cold-water swimming team in the Czech Republic (film shown below).

"It isn't just a few crazy people, but an organized sport with frequent races through the winter season," explained Jack Bright.

"In the Czech Republic some of the world's most extreme winter swimming is held due to an excellent organization with rules that have developed over 50 years."

The City of Liverpool Open Water Swimming Club was formed by master swimmers in the 1980's from the Westminster Road swimming baths with swimmers from newcomers to English Channel veterans.

Its swimmers also hold the world record for the fastest relay swim across the North Channel between Scotland and Ireland.

L.O.S.T. (Lake Ontario Swim Team) was established in 2006 and has grown to encompass all types of swimmers and triathletes of all ages, abilities and backgrounds on the Canadian side of Lake Ontario.

These are just a few examples of hundreds of open water swim clubs around the world. Enjoy their fellowship and camaraderie wherever you travel.

If you want your team to be added to this list of teams - however small or large, formal or informal - go online here or send an email.



Copyright © 2011 by Open Water Source

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Thank you very much for your interest in the world of open water swimming.

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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OWSM-CM

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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.

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...
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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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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:
https://www.worldopenwaterswimmingassociation.com/preview-open-water-swimming-almanac


The trends are very clear.
The tide is rising for open water swimming.

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