DNOWS Header

Image Map

Thursday, November 10, 2011

A Bilingual Swimmer From Texas And Ireland, Julie Galloway

Julie Galloway is a nominee for the 2011 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year with her record-setting 9 hour 32 minute Round Jersey swim. Julie joyously swam the 41-mile circumnavigation faster than every man and woman in history around the open water swimming oasis in the middle of the English Channel.

The personable, energetic and ever-smiling Texas native brings good cheer to the sport, a level of competitive intensity to every swim and a unique mix of cultures due to her upbringing in Texas and her new life in Ireland.

The Daily News of Open Water Swimming asked Julie about her bilingualism and bi-culturalism:

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: Some people would say that the Irish culture and Texas culture could not be more different. Is this true? What are the major differences between the culture and community you were brought up in Texas and the current culture and community you find yourself in Ireland?

Julie Galloway: Texas and Irish culture are quite distinct, which I like. I like that you know you're in Texas. If you forget, signs, belt buckles, bumper stickers and state flags the size of houses will remind you. Ireland is the same in its own way. There is a strong sense of identity here; be it the road signs in Gaeilge (Irish language), the village pubs or the banter with your fellow Dubliners everywhere you go.

I was brought up in the sprawling city of Houston. We drive to go to the post box at home, and I had to drive 40+ minutes each way to go to my swimming pool, so I spent a lot of my youth in the car. Ireland is very different. I can drive from Dublin on the east coast to Galway on the west coast in two hours. Twelve Irelands can fit into Texas. I think the size is a huge thing for me. It's still crazy to think that I come from such a big state in an even bigger country. But I like it here, mostly because of the strong sense of community. The Irish are an incredibly curious bunch, especially if you're a yank. (All Americans are yanks - you get used to this.) They like to know who's settling in their treasured country. If you're an open person like me, and don't mind answering a lot of questions, you'll get along just fine here.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: What aspects of Texan and Irish culture are similar?

Julie: Texans (as we all know) and Irish people are extremely proud of their nation. Okay, I know Texas is not technically a nation, but some Texans (including myself) would argue you on that! In any case, both are very proud of their respective places, and I like that. Ireland hasn't had a pleasant history at times, but has remained a loyal, proud bunch, and I really respect that.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: Texas has very warm water along its coastlines and fairly warm lakes dotting the entire state. But the water around Ireland can, arguably, be described as cold year-round. Did you have any trouble acclimating to 6-15°C waters?

Julie: Did? I still do! When I moved to Ireland, I had never owned a winter coat, nor had I ever swum in the sea. So my first sea swim was fairly memorable. I joined a masters team in Dublin, and because the sea swimming season was about to begin, they decided to drag me to Clontarf for my first dip. To this day they still tell the story of me panicking for my life as I screamed 'how do y'all do this!?' I shivered more that summer than I had ever shivered in 20 years living in Texas! I'm a warm-blooded creature, really.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: Swimming in Texas is known for its Olympic pool swimmers – from Aaron Piersol to Brendan Hansen. Swimming in Ireland is known for everything from Ye Amphibious Ancient Bathing Association to the Sandycove Island community to the North Channel. How are the swimming communities different or the same?

Julie: In Texas I was a pool swimmer. From the age of six I was in a competitive, intensely-focused environment. During my teen years I was able to train under Randy Reese at Circle C (now Longhorn Aquatics). I also swam at the University of Texas in college, and it was an amazing, competitive environment, but greatness was typically measured in how fast you could swim. Swimming has more of a holistic approach here in Ireland. Ireland has some fast swimmers, but it also has some incredibly talented open water swimmers who have done some remarkable feats, and this is very highly regarded throughout the country. Being a small island nation, it is much easier to find people interested in your swimming endeavors, which is nice. So I'd say both are good in their own ways. That said, the communities are pretty much the same. In both Texas and Ireland (and likely the world), swimmers simply get each other. We share the same passion, the same understanding that life is infinitely better off of land.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: You have bars in Texas and pubs in Ireland. Both are special places. Can you tell us any differences or similarities that stand out?

Julie: Well for one thing, 'swim suits' are 'togs' here. 'A few quiet drinks' could end up being a crazy night out. St. Patrick's Day is a national holiday here, and no, they don't dye the rivers green or drink green beer. I've never been in Ireland for Christmas, but I am told that Christmas Eve is quite the 'session' with family and friends. In Ireland, a lot of people, including non-swimmers, go for a dip in the sea on Christmas morning.

One really great thing about Ireland is the food. Because it's a small country, they really aim to support local farmers. When you buy produce, cheeses, eggs or meat, you're told which farm and county the food came from. They sometimes even have a picture of the farmer on display. It's such a nice feeling to know the food you're eating is locally grown and fresh.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: The music of Texas and the music of Ireland are completely different. What songs go through your head as you swim?

Julie: I'm utterly obsessed with Top 40 music. You can always find me singing the latest and greatest from both the UK and US. I am a massive fan of Britney Spears, Lily Allen, Coldplay and Justin Bieber. Yes, I am 25. During my Channel Swim I had the Black Eyed Peas' 'I gotta feeling' in my head for about six hours. That got a bit old, but I still love the song.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: The clothing of Texas and Ireland are also completely different. Any cowboy boots or hats in Ireland?

Julie: I brought my cowboy boots to Ireland, but left the hat stateside. I've always had my own style, so I don't buy a lot of clothes here as they are too European for me. Irish girls have an amazing talent of wearing next to nothing in the dead of winter. Like most European girls, they wear tights instead of pants. This still shocks me!

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: The accents of Texas and Ireland are completely different. Do you have problems understanding what people are saying? Do your neighbors and friends have problems understanding what you say?

Julie: Language is one of my favorite things about living here. I could write an entire book on this! When I first moved, a lot of people asked me 'How long are you here?' I responded 'I don't know, it's all up in the air.' Turns out they wanted to know how long I'd been in Ireland.

I think the Irish are the most creative speakers in the world. Here in Dublin, the difference between northside and southside accents is extraordinary. There are northsiders who can barely understand southsiders, and they may only live a few miles apart. I am fluent in both, as I live on the northside, but work on the southside. My favorite is the rhyming slang used in south Dublin. Things like 'Britneys' for beers (Britney Spears), 'boat race' for face, 'mince pies' for eyes, 'Davy Crocket' for pocket, are used on a daily basis there. I think it's brilliant. Language changes really fast here. The other day a girl I volunteer with told me I looked massive in a picture. I was baffled until she told me it was a compliment, that massive is like cool or nice. I love it!

Some people may not know this, but the national language of Ireland is actually Irish, not English. A lot of Irish people throw in the odd Irish word when speaking to me, which I think is really cool. I can speak a cúpla focal (a few words) but you'd never call me a Gaeilgeoir (Irish speaker)...I wouldn't have the patience for that!

Being married to an Irish guy is quite funny as I have to ask him to repeat himself at least once a day. And when a colleague of mine from Cork speaks too fast and when the Irish cannot understand him, they look to me to translate. It's amazing that we all seem to speak English. As well, Irish people use certain words to be amazingly vague. If you ask 'How are you?', they usually reply 'not too bad', 'I can't complain' or 'grand sure'.

Nobody has trouble understanding me here. I am one of those people who latches onto dialects, so I can switch from Irish English to American English pretty easily. Irish people laugh at my American/Irish accent, but I can't really help it if I'm away from home for an extended period. When I first arrive back to Texas, I have a lot of people ask me where I'm from, but within a day or so, I'm back speaking like my native people!

Copyright © 2011 by Open Water Source


  1. Very interesting interview. Nice job

  2. Wow! Very interesting, Thanks!


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.


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

Swim Across the English Channel...


Who else is looking for a qualified open water swimming coach to help them swim across the English Channel?

Chloë McCardel is a 6-time English Channel Swimmer who inspires and instructs. Access featured content by Chloë in this month's issue of the Open Water Swimming Magazine. Published monthly by WOWSA, the Open Water Swimming Magazine is a digital, interactive publication made available exclusively to WOWSA members. See what you've been missing! Become a WOWSA member today!

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...

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.

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:

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


Open Water Swimming Event Sanctioning

World Professional Marathon Swimming Federation

Open Water Race Calendar

Coaches Education Program