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Monday, July 4, 2011

Dave Barra Goes On An Expedition

Expedition swimming is defined by the Open Water Swimming Dictionary as "swimming in natural or man-made bodies of open water including oceans, lakes, rivers, bays and reservoirs, together with teammates or swim buddies, usually as part of a guided tour with or without escorts."

Dave Barra created and is doing such an expedition swim, called the 8 Bridges | Hudson River Swim. This kind of non-traditional open water swim is quietly expanding worldwide.

Some swimmers find they do not need to receive a medal or participate in a formal race to the sport; they prize the freedom of the open water, relish the camaraderie of their friends and crew, and love a challenging adventure against the elements.

These types of swims are taking off from America to Israel, from Italy to Japan and even some places one might not first imagine – Cambodia, Indonesia, Brazil and Mexico. Like the early days of triathlon, growth in this area is being redefined by swimmers like Dave in New York...or Gadi Katz in Israel...or Rafa Hernandez in Mexico...or Bruckner Chase in Samoa...or Pedro Monteiro in Brazil...the list goes on and on.

Expedition swimming, swim trekking, open water orienteering, adventure swimming with fins, swims that begin offshore and end offshore (i.e., land is never touched or seen)…all these kinds of events are being created by innovative and restless swimmers around the world. Most do not have websites or Facebook pages, but they are a growing phenomena. They generally start off as an idea or challenge among teammates or significant others, then a few friends join and their concept catching the attention of others when caught on. These events tend to grow organically without marketing or promotion.

And that is why the sport of open water swimming is so strong. The motivation comes from within – the desire is internal – and the athlete’s mindset welcomes a challenge within an adventure in the natural environment.

As Dave explains, "This swim [follow via Twitter] has been on my mind for a long time. Last year, I started training in the Hudson River with Rondi Davies and she encouraged me to finally put it together. She has also done an incredible amount of the leg work required for such an event.

Originally, it was going to be just Rondi and me swimming, but after a few conversations with the Coast Guard, we decided that we could handle a few other swimmers for the up-river stages. We have a maximum of 7 swimmers total for each of the first 5 stages. This number was determined by the capacity of the boat that we will have transporting us to our splash site each day. CIBBOWS has also provided us with much needed support
."

So Dave as he swims down the Hudson River is at the cutting edge and part of a relatively unknown, but rapidly growing, genre in the open water swimming world.

Copyright © 2011 by Open Water Source

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