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Saturday, April 14, 2012
Use Your Brain to Swim 100 Meters In 30 Seconds
Some of these individuals participate in open water swims and are always well-deservedly supported and cheered on by their fellow swimmers and spectators.
In order to help these individuals, the American military is spending money to study limb replacements. DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) has a program to develop an arm that is directly controlled by neural signals with an ability to function almost identically to a natural limb.
With US$153 in funding, the scientists came to some surprising conclusions. MIT bioengineer Rahul Sarpeshkar describes the human arm as "...amazing. It does a lot of very intelligent local computation that the brain doesn’t even do. We don’t understand the coding schemes that biology employs. We don’t understand how its feedback loops work together."
Open water swimmer and podiatrist Dr. Lyle Nalli of the Talbert Medical Group concurs about the complexity of the human foot. "The foot is an engineering marvel. It can hold our entire weight and propel it and without pain or callouses. Try walking on your hands for a length of time; that hurts as does the blisters you'll get. Yet the foot has a delicate sense of touch such as anything sharp, rough, hot, cold, etc. Assuming a similar delta of signal speed between foot to brain and foot to spinal cord, the sensory input to the foot, like the hand, is also being handled locally.
Thus, those events in the water that require more usage of the foot could futuristically have a quantum leap in performance should we learn how to fine tune or harness this local neural activity. For example, the breaststroke has the greatest technical demand on the foot of the four competitive strokes. Could we statistically get the greatest percentage improvement compared to other stroke events?
What about water polo? Players extending higher out of the water. Will the goal size have to get larger to adapt? Will ball speed increase due to better leverage? So too could we see improvements have a great impact on open water swimming. It is not always a simple flutter kick, but at times one must tread water, do breaststroke kick, or transition from swimming to running."
So while coaches teach, video-tape and explain how to properly swim through the water, and swimmers think about what they do and how to get better, if the arm and legs employ intelligent local computation on how to move precisely, fluidly and efficiently, the swimming community has a long way to go before it truly understands how to swim faster and streamline better in the water.
At the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, researchers study what the brain does when limbs move. The neuro-scientists do not know how these neural firings form and influence thought, but also how they interact in instructing arms, legs, hands and feet how, when and where to move.
Todd Kuiken of the Rehabilitation Institute’s Center for Bionic Medicine in Chicago described the body’s inner workings and proprioception to Wired Magazine. "There are muscle receptors. There are tendon receptors. There are capsule receptors, even skin receptors, all contributing in a very complex way that we don’t understand."
Scientists know that signals from the arm to the brain take 300 milliseconds vs. 30 milliseconds from the arm to the spinal cord. Gerald Loeb of the University of Southern California explains, "The moment-to-moment timing of the hand’s muscle contractions is dependent on sensory feedback that is never going to the brain. It’s being handled locally."
So as scientists, engineers, researchers, coaches and athletes learn more about how the limbs work and move as a result of neural activity locally, in the spinal cord, in the brain and remotely through artificial tools, one possible long-term benefit may enable swimmers to move through the water much more efficiently and powerfully. If directly our limbs either consciously or subconsciously in the optimal pattern and pace becomes possible, then the speed and strength, balance and endurance of swimmers will continue to incrementally increase.
Thinking about the future, how will coaches of the latter part of the 21st century coach their athletes? The mind, as open water swimming community is fond to state, may truly be 80% of swimming. If the mind and body can cooperate in currently undefined ways, perhaps swimmers of the future will be able to swim 100 meters in 30 seconds or across the English Channel in four hours?
Leonardo da Vinci designed flying machines, but it took centuries for his ideas to be implemented by mankind. Likewise, moving through the water like dolphins is only a dream of contemporary swimmers. But who really knows how fast and streamlined swimmers will become?
Let’s see how scientists and coaches pick the brain of swimmers in future generations.
Photo above shows Natalie du Toit, the only amputee to qualify in an Olympic final, the Olympic 10km Marathon Swim at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.
Copyright © 2012 by Open Water Source
2014 Global Open Water Swimming Conference
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
Swim Across the English Channel...
Who else is looking for a qualified open water swimming coach to help them swim across the English Channel?Chloë McCardel is a 6-time English Channel Swimmer who inspires and instructs. Access featured content by Chloë in this month's issue of the Open Water Swimming Magazine. Published monthly by WOWSA, the Open Water Swimming Magazine is a digital, interactive publication made available exclusively to WOWSA members. See what you've been missing! Become a WOWSA member today!
Open Water Swimming Magazine
Open Water Swimming MagazineThe 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...
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.
2014 Open Water Swimming Almanac
An Almanac for Open Water SwimmingAn 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:
The trends are very clear.
The tide is rising for open water swimming.