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Monday, January 9, 2012

Open Water Swimming Making Their Marks With Tattoos

Open water swimmers can be expressive in a variety of ways: verbally or artistically. Some view their skin as part of that public expression.

Below are numerous examples of open water swimmers from Boston to Brazil, Germany to Geneva - many of whom have marine animal-themed or ocean-specific tattoos adorning various parts of their bodies.

Dolphins, whales, manta rays and sharks. Waves and sea shells and turtles.

Black and white and in full color.

Many swimmers have such a profound and intimate connection with the water that they want to visually share their connection with others. Crystal Kemp grew up in Long Beach, California and has never lived further than a half-mile from the Pacific Ocean. "I started with my brittle star which symbolizes guidance, vigilance and intuition. From there I added my underwater scene which reflects my love of snorkeling and swimming."

John Daprato celebrated the Boston Light Swim with a tattoo.

"The tattoo is the original Boston Light Swim logo with variation in the colors, shape and lettering -- also the swimmer has a more focused facial expression."

Glauco Rangel has a large swordfish covering his left shoulder and much of his back.

Chad Ho celebrates his Olympic 10K participation with the standard five Olympic rings.

Bruckner Chase (left) has a large jellyfish and whale tails colorfully inked on his torso.

Sebastian Fischer (right) said, "I have a mermaid tattooed on my left arm. I have always loved swimming and being in the water.

I have always loved women, so I decided to combine those two things for a tattoo on my arm.

Bruckner continues, "The tattoos on my back are of my wife Michelle and my past, present and future in the ocean."

Bruckner has faced swarms of jellyfish that have stung him unmercifully. "I swam through schools of jellyfish so thick it was like swimming in the exhibit at the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

They were right in my face too

Multiple world 5K and 10K champion and Swimming World Magazine's Open Water Swimmer of the Year Thomas Lurz explains his tattoo, "I have the date from my father's birthday on my left arm. I got it after his death.

The tattoo [on the other arm] we did 12 years ago on our swim team for the German team championships and it means 'Together we can do it' or 'We are strong together'.

For example, my brother has the same tattoo on the same place because he also was on the team at this time as a swimmer. Now he is my coach, so it still fits good together.

We were a good young team then
." And now.

Some Manhattan Island Marathon Swim tattoos from its previous participants, Rob Kent and Mauro Giaconia of Italy.

Jen King says, "My tattoos have water in them because I've grown up near the water and it has made a huge impact on my life to be a swimmer, and it will always be a part of me."

King tells of her turtle tattoo, "Water and fire are in place of the turtle's shell. The turtle, or honu in Hawaiian, is a symbol of longevity."

Jen explains, "On my back is a lotus flower with water around it. The lotus symbolizes overcoming obstacles and growing. With the water around it means that I have the power to control the outcome of any obstacle and growth.

Lexie Kelly, the swim coordinator for the Flowers Sea Swim in the Cayman Islands, describes her tattoo, "I got this done on the north shore of Kauai [Hawaii].

To me, it signifies how important it is to focus on the small and simple and beautiful things in life. There is nothing more amazing than nature itself and the ocean - plumerias and seashells - happens to be something I am very passionate about since I have a strong love for swimming.

What better way to appreciate simplicity than spending time in the ocean

These photos are from the Chief Lifeguard at the King and Queen of the Sea (Rei e Rainha do Mar) on Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro.

The Poseidon trident is celebrated by the tattoo of Olympian and 2010 world 25K champion Alex Meyer of the USA is simple, yet profound.

Dave Dunton, Managing General Partner of Try Cyclery, has two tattoos. "One is a seal lion that celebrates Seal Beach (California) and how much I enjoy living, working and swimming here.

The other tattoo is a dolphin that I had put on after a bull dolphin wouldn't let me swim into the Bay where I found out later there was a Great White Shark waiting

Mike Nie (left) from the island of Cayman Brac has a stingray with a barb fish.

Shannon Cutting (right), a triathlete and an open water swimmer, wanted a unique tattoo and her friend created it for her in his apartment.

The tattoo on left adorned a swimmer at the starting line of an open water race in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Todd Cameron of Orlando, Florida started off with one hammerhead shark.

And then Todd got a few more.

More tattoos here.

Copyright © 2011 by Open Water Source

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