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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Hardest Open Water Swims In The World (Northern Hemisphere)

The world has innumerable locations for incredibly hard open water swims. Rough conditions, cold water, sharks, jellyfish, tides, currents, long distances, high altitudes and logistical considerations are the primary obstacles. What are some of the swims in the Northern Hemisphere that would be on the ultimate open water swimmer's bucket list? The potential list could be extremely long, but Open Water Source selected fifteen tough challenges, excluding stage swims, adventure swims and relays that are categorized separately.

1. North Channel: 21 miles (33.7 km) of cold water (10.5-14°C or 50-54ºF), jellyfish and unpredictable tides, currents and harsh winds between Scotland and Ireland under foreboding skies.

2. 72-mile (115K) Kaieiewaho Channel: 72 miles (115 km) of huge ocean swells, aggressive sharks (Tiger and Great Whites), warm water, box jellyfish, Portuguese man o war and strong currents between Oahu and Kauai in Hawaii.

3. Farallon Islands: 30 miles of huge ocean swells, extremely rough conditions, cold water (10-15°C or 50-59°F), aggressive Great White Sharks, strong tides, the Potato Patch.

4. English Channel (two- or three-way crossings): 21 miles (one-way) of shifting tides, cool waters, currents, turbulence and marine traffic in the showcase theater of marathon swimming, a key leg of the Oceans Seven.

5. Bering Strait: A 53-mile (85 km) stretch between Russia and the USA located slightly below the polar circle where extremely cold water (under 6°C or 43ºF), strong tides and currents punish its challengers for 2.2 miles between Little Diomede (USA) and Big Diomede (Russia).

6. Lake Pumori: a glacial lake up in the Himalayas 17,000 feet (5,300 meters) in altitude that requires a hike up and down Mount Everest to reach the freezing water of 32°F (0°C).

7. Isle of Wight: the 90 km (56-mile) circumnavigation of the rough island off the English coast demands endurance, cold water acclimatization and exquisite timing to avoid strong adverse tidal conditions throughout the swim.

8. Okinawa-to-Taiwan: 120 km (74.5 miles) of rough conditions, whitecaps, strong winds, unpredictable currents, aggressive sharks (Tiger Sharks, hammerheads), jellyfish and Portuguese man o war between Yonaguni Island, the southwesternmost part of Japan, and the eastern coast of Taiwan.

9. Cayman Islands: 67.2 miles between Little Cayman and Grand Cayman in the Cayman Islands. Warm water, aggressive sharks (including the Oceanic White Tips), jellyfish, Portuguese man o war, tides, ocean swells unrelentingly pummel its aquatic challengers.

10. San Nicholas Island: 69.3 miles of unforgiving ocean swells, extremely rough conditions, cold water (10-15°C or 50-59°F), Great White Sharks, strong tides, punishing winds and flesh-nibbling sea creatures between the outermost California Channel Island and the California coast near Santa Barbara.

11. Lake Tahoe: 21.2 miles (34 km) at 6,225 feet (1,897 meters) in a large freshwater lake high up in the Sierra Nevada range in the western United States between the states of California and Nevada. Strong winds and consistent surface chop make for a long day in one of the Still Water 8.

12. Loch Ness: 23 miles (37 km) of cold water temperatures averaging 50°F (10°C) throughout the Scottish summer season. Known for its deep black and chilling waters, it is part of the Still Water Eight and known for the alleged sightings of the cryptozoological Loch Ness Monster ("Nessie").

13. Lake Ontario: 31.5 miles (51 km) of variable water temperatures that can change in the matter of minutes due to wind shifts from 50 to 72°F (10-22°C). The United States to Canadian international swim, part of the Still Water Eight, is difficult due to unpredictable wind and currents.

14. Catalina Island: 48-mile (77 km) circumnavigation around the Southern California Channel Island demands endurance, cold water acclimatization and exquisite timing to avoid strong adverse tidal conditions throughout the swim and aggressive sharks.

15. Moloka'i Channel: Also known as the Kaiwi Channel between the islands of Oahu and Molokai, this leg of the Oceans Seven is 26 miles (42 km) of huge ocean swells, marine life including aggressive sharks (Tigers), jellyfish and Portuguese man o war, strong trade winds, relentless whitecaps and shifting tides.

There are many other swims around the Northern Hemisphere from the 103-mile Florida Strait to the Round Jersey swim, but these 15 are mind-bogglingly difficult.

The hardest open water swims in the Southern Hemisphere are listed here.

Photo shows Stuart Evans, the first person to swim from the Farallon Islands to the California mainland.

Copyright © 2012 by World Open Water Swimming Association

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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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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.
LEARN MORE...

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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