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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Australian Women Excel In The Open Water

American basketball players. Brazilian soccer players. Canadian ice hockey players. Russian chess players. Japanese judoists. Korean taekwando athletes. The sporting world knows that these countries, their culture, and these athletes go well together. The combination usually end up with world champions and a slew of world-class athletes.

So what is it with the open water and Australian women?

They have been and continue to be very special.

Penny Palfrey, Shelley Taylor-Smith, Susie Maroney, Tammy van Wisse, Annette Kellerman, Melissa Cunningham, and Sue Oldham are shining examples of Australian women who have excelled in the open water beyond the imaginable.

They want to prove themselves...to themselves...always pushing their limits. they seem to take their training, preparation and race day performance beyond their limits. When they reach their goals, they re-set them and move on, always moving the bar upwards.

But their road to success is not always easy as they constantly face obstacles - physical, financial, logistical, weather, marine life. But they view the obstacles as simply something to overcome. They get on with their program, perhaps a bit frustrated, but they move on not wasting time on self-pity or disappointed. Always positive, always optimistic - even with sharks, crocodiles and myriad venomous stinging creatures in their local waters.

They are all wonderful examples of aquatic heroism - and how to live one's life on terra firma.

Note: Annette Kellerman was the first woman to attempt to swim the English Channel in 1905, but failed on three occasions. She won numerous swimming titles in the Thames, the Danube, Boston Harbor and the Seine River between 1905 and 1907 and became one of the pivotal figures in the history of swimming because she was instrumental in the evolution of women's swimwear and famous for her advocacy of the right of women to wear a one-piece bathing suit, which was a controversial topic in the early 20th century.

Her life story inspired the MGM classic movie, Million Dollar Mermaid, starring her heir apparent Esther Williams. She has also been honored by the both the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame and the International Swimming Hall of Fame.

Photo from Penny's Cayman Brac to Little Cayman channel swim courtesy of Image by Spike.

Copyright © 2011 by World Open Water Swimming Association

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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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