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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Difficulty vs. Risk - Two Different Perspectives On The Ocean's Seven

MOUNTAINS. In a fascinating exchange between two heavyweights in the sport, Lewis Pugh and Simon Griffiths present two perspectives on the article, Seven Summits vs. Oceans Seven - Which Is Harder?

Lewis, who uniquely combined both mountaineering with open water swimming when he swam 1K in a glacial lake in the shadows of Mount Everest at 5,300 meters, commented.

"Oceans Seven is considerably easier than the Seven Summits. You only have to look at the death and injury rates on the mountains to realize that. In 2010, I watched as all the bodies were being brought off Mount Everest. The same does not happen in Dover."

Simon, the founder and publisher of H2Open Magazine, expressed his viewpoint, "I don't think we should necessarily confuse risk or danger with difficulty. It would perhaps make more sense to look at the failure rates (number of finishes/number of starts) as a measure of difficulty. Obviously, in mountaineering the consequence of failure can be more severe as Lewis points out, but the risk of failure may be lower. Lewis' swims excepted, the consequence of most failed swims is a boat ride, although sadly people do also die while swimming."

Lewis refers to the dangers of Everest that include avalanches, crevasses, winds up to 125 mph, sudden storms, temperatures of 40°F below zero, and oxygen deprivation. In the death zone in the upper reaches of the mountain, the air holds only a third as much oxygen as at sea level, heightening the chances of hypothermia, frostbite, high-altitude pulmonary edema (lungs fatally fill with fluid) and high-altitude cerebral edema (oxygen-starved brain swells up).

Yet despite these obvious dangers, the allure of climbing the highest peaks draws many more thousands than swimmers attempting channel swims. That is, the dangers are greater, the risks are more obvious, the costs are significantly greater, the requisite time is much longer, the travel distances from Europe and North America is far, but Mount Everest has been climbed by more than 4,500 people - or nearly three times as many people who have collectively swum across the seven channels of the Ocean's Seven. And this number of Everest climbers has grown in a period of time less than half the time since the English Channel was first swum in 1875 (note: Everest was first climbed in 1953).

This may mean one or a combination of things: mountaineering is more attractive to people, swimming is less enjoyable or swimming channels is more difficult.

Let the discussions continue.

Copyright © 2011 by Open Water Source

2 comments:

  1. Are the Ocean's Seven and the Seven Summits even comparable events? The climbs are multi-day, technical and staged challenges where as the swims are no more than single day events and use minimum technical equipment on behalf of the adventurer. It would be much more appropriate to compare staged adventure swims such as those done by Martin Strel in the Amazon and Dan Martin's planned Atlantic swim to the climbs.

    Also mountaineering may be more popular than open water swimming however these numbers can only be compared if they compare ratio of people who can walk to mountaineers with the ratio people who can swim to open water swimmers.

    Perhaps it would be more appropriate to ask members of the Peak And Pond club their opinion of which is the more difficult challenge?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yes, please ask them. We are sure everyone has their own opinions, but these individuals are the only ones who can make a reasonable and first-person comparison. Frankly, from our perspective, they are the ideal people who can speak authoritatively on this comparison. We would love to hear from them.

    ReplyDelete

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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