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Saturday, April 28, 2012

Making The Cut Around Hall Head Island

It is highly unusual to see a swimmer in the Dawesville Cut. In fact permission is required to use this waterway, so the afternoon fishermen were surprised to see this occurrence.

Little did they know what they were witnessing. But one fisherman called out across the water, "Hey what’s going on?" He almost dropped his stubby of beer when he deciphered the hand signals which indicated this swimmer was about to complete her 30 km swim around the whole Halls Head Island.

Jennifer Hurley achieved just that in the first official long distance swim around this man made MandurahIsland, which she completed in 9 hours 6 minutes 52 seconds.

The endurance distance swimmer is no newcomer to long events. Her resume includes crossing the English Channel, three Rottnest solos, the Irish Sandycove Island swim, a record double English Channel swim in a team of five and many other endurance swims.

This modest Mandurah champion, enthusiastically supported by her Irish husband Mick and her biggest fan, was very well prepared for the swim. The course required expert evaluation to accommodate the vagaries of the course. Ocean currents, prevailing winds, Estuary tides and turning currents all needed to be fully researched, as one mistake would mean an impossible task of swimming against a 5 km per hour current.

Barbara Pellick, a renowned marathon swimmer from Western Australia, assisted Jennifer in her training and preparation. She also organised the official ratification of the swim with the Open Water Association. Husband Mick Hurley spent months studying tide charts to calculate the best starting point to bring the whole event together. With the support of experienced local and boating expert Des McLean, the course was plotted and successfully accommodated all the tide changes.

It was a long day in the water. The team decided to leave a few days earlier than planned when a big low pressure system was threatening to spoil their chances.

The starting point was a small beach near the Dawesville Cut ocean end. In a very clear ocean which abounded in bait fish and many species, Jennifer made good time along the coast to the Estuary Inlet. Spectators on the hourly Dolphin cruise boat were treated to a history making swim which was taking place in front of them around midday as Jennifer made her way under the Old Traffic Bridge and towards the Peel Inlet. Around this landmark a dolphin and her calf joined Jennifer which provided an adrenalin rush which helped her keep going. She had about 14 kilometres to go.

The long, landscape lonely section of the Inlet swim passing inland Falcon and Cox Bay was the most difficult part of the swim. There was some relief with many robust crabs and numerous huge stingrays, along with schools of fish in the sparkling water to observe, but after swimming her rhythmical, steady freestyle stroke for over 6 hours now, fatigue was taking its toll. As the evening clouds darkened the sky, a welcome drink break announcement declared the channel leading into the Dawesville Cut was just 300 metres away.

This lifted Jennifer’s stroke rate and she welcomed the slight following current as she moved into the ‘Cut’.

A small cheer squad of fishermen witnessed her pass under the high bridge and on to the finish at the Ocean end. A lady jogging with a pusher on the cycleway above the beach was the only land based witness to this amazing achievement. She probably still doesn’t know what she witnessed, but she was alerted to the yelling and cheers from the support crew on the water, and from a scream of delight from Jennifer as her feet met the welcome beach sand.

After having completed the 30 km swim, Jennifer had so swim back out to the boat, where a happy crew returned to the Dawesville boat ramp, the memory of this historic swim etched on their collective minds. Jennifer, cold, quiet but inwardly ecstatic, sat rugged up next to the skipper’s chair, happy to have achieved her goal.

Her support crew of boat skipper Des McLean, coach and organiser Barbara Pellick, tactician and paddler Mick Hurley, observer Wayne Cable and paddler Clive Choate witnessed a great achievement.

The first swimmer ever to have swum 30 km around Halls Head Island, Thursday April 26th, 2012.

Courtesy of Clive Choate.

Background Footnote: Hurley got hooked on open water swimming in 2006 doing a 1.1 km dash from Union Hall to Glandore in West Cork. That same summer, she was one of 93 swimmers from Ireland who completed the South End Rowing Club Alcatraz swim. She then quietly started knocking off longer distances. By 2009 she hit the cold open water in Cork, Ireland with a passion and did a 13 hour 58 minute English Channel solo swim at the age of 38. This February she completed her 4th solo Rottnest Channel Swim and established an open water swimming group in 2011.

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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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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.

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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.

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.

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