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Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Ashley Twichell Humbly And Passionately Revving Up

She started off in the summer leagues in New York's Westchester County as a 3-year-old. She gradually worked her way to a college scholarship at Duke University where she qualified for the NCAA Division I Championships and the USA Swimming National Open Water Swimming team.

" I didn't do double workouts when I was young, so I am still excited about training and racing," explains Ashley Twichell, the favorite in tomorrow's 10K race at the aQuelle Midmar Mile.

"Even though we train a lot now with the Mission Viejo Nadadores [in Southern California], I didn’t do as much distance when I was younger." "She just keeps on going and going in workouts," said her coach Bill Rose. "I have not been able to break her down yet. She is tough and she works hard every day."

"Chloe [Sutton} and I push each other every day," explained Ashley who seems to have wisely built her career like she builds her distance sets in the pool - she keeps getting better and faster. "In college, I loved the sport, being part of a team, with that incredible atmosphere and dynamic of growing up through [Duke University] with these amazing people around me. Luckily, after four years at Duke, I was more in love with the sport than ever, and wanted to continue," she said in a USA Swimming interview with Bob Schaller.

Her calm demeanor, native intelligence and passion suit her well in the open water. "I am still learning," as she often says with a smile and eye towards the details of the sport. Her growth as an athlete - and potential 2012 Olympian - has been fast-tracked by a serious of events that even she had a hard time forecasting.

Soon after being the only swimmer on her team competing at the NCAA Championships, she also found herself continuing to improve year after year. As college graduation loomed, she wondered if her continuously blossoming career would come to an end. But because she enjoyed recreational solo swims in the open water while vacation as a youngster, she took a flyer and entered the USA Swimming National Open Water Swimming Championships in Florida.

After swimming and qualifying for the USA national team, she was soon packing her bags to China for the 2011 World Swimming Championships. Quiet and observant, she was able to view the world's most elite open water swimmers up close. Proudly wearing her nation's colors for the first time, she more than hung in there against the world's fastest. "I was entered in the 5K race and the pack was so large. Then at the halfway point, they started to take off. The pace was so fast."

But so was Ashley. Not only did she hang onto the lead pack, she found herself sprinting down the final straightaway tied for first going stroke-for-stroke with women many years her senior in open water years. Bronze was her first taste of medal and her eyes glistened with a mixture of wonder, pride and appreciation. She followed it up with a gold medal performance in the team 5K race where she drafted superbly behind her two male teammates. "I was just going as fast as I could, but only knew I was going to be on the relay a few days before."

Like the 3-year-old she was once, her wonder and joy in exploring the water continues as a 22-year-old. Like many others who have taken up the sport, her thirst for competition has yet to be quenched. In less than a year since college graduation, she has found herself racing against the world's best in China, Mexico, Brazil and South Africa. The more she travels and experiences different open water competitions, the hungrier she appears to get for more. Much more.

But she trains with a depth of gratitude and accepts praise with a sincere humility that is representative of many who join in the sport late or as a late bloomer and find success and joy.

"Oh this is so cool," as the native New Yorker often says as she hits another beach or shoreline in search of yet another open water competition. And that she is - representative of many Women In The Water.



And who will rule the open water at the Midmar Mile this coming Sunday when Ashley meets the most successful and fastest open water female on the planet: two-time world 10K champion and 7-time defending Midmar Mile champion Keri-Anne Payne?

It will be an all-out one-mile sprint in front of television cameras and tens of thousands of spectators.

Sounds something like a precursor to the 2012 Olympics...

Photo above by Dr. Jim Miller of Ashley on the podium at the 2011 World Championships.

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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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.

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