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2016 WOWSA AWARD WINNERS
2016 WOWSA Man of the Year – Nejib Belhedi
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Wednesday, May 9, 2012
How The Limbless Waterman Does A 5K Swim
"I will not run a marathon," says Dietz with a humility and a reality that is inspirational beyond words. "But I can swim and do other things in water. My goal in life is to not let the challenges that I face in my life define me who I am as a person."
How does he do it? How would you swim without arms and legs, hands and feet? What is unimaginable to Olympic swimmers is second-nature to Dietz.
The first impression that exudes from Dietz’s every pore is how confident and capable he is. While others get a bit of help putting on Vaseline or lanolin before the race, Dietz receives help to put on his goggles and swim cap. And like others standing on the shoreline waiting for the race to begin, he kills time joking with swimmers and friends, small talking with the best of the most excitable chatterers.
As the race gets closer, he climbs out of his wheelchair and hobbles across the beach to the water's edge, where he gets a little assistance taping his swim fin to his right leg stub. He listens to the final race instructions. He is focused and attentive, straining like the others to eyeball all the turn buoys on the course. As the race officials get into position, smiles, nods and winks are aimed his way in abundance. But his seriousness is clear as he confirms with others the best line to take and most optimal direction to head. But observers are overwhelmed just how different and difficult his challenge is as he stands at the ready on the shoreline.
While others swing their arms and stretch their legs, Dietz rotates his neck and twists his torso to warm up.
If his goggles are not on just right or his swim cap is askew, he just has to deal with it as he has had to do with everything else in his life.
With minutes to the start, Dietz hops right up to the starting line, mixing it up with the other swimmers.
He knows his abilities and moves with confidence among the crowd of much taller swimmers. And similar to the other swimmers, many who are visibly nervous and others who are intense competitive A-types, he listens to the final countdown and waits for the starting horn.
He glares out at the first buoy, mentally going over his race plan.
The start horn goes off and the pack rushes – runs – in the water. As does Dietz. He isn’t running, but he does rush in, intensely just as the next athletes next to him. He is at a clear disadvantage, but nothing is stopping him. Boom! He splashes in the water head first and immediately rolls over on his back as he rises to the surface. Then like a finely tuned machine, Dietz begins to swim. Without limbs, his only mode of propulsion is to move forward by undulating like a dolphin, getting every ounce of energy that he can from his 12-inch leg stub and swim fin.
It’s not freestyle. It’s not backstroke. It is the ultimate in core work. Coordinated and surprisingly quick, Dietz keeps moving his lower half up and down, and up and down, while trying to keep his head and shoulders as still as possible and his mouth above the water’s surface.
He occasionally rolls his head to the left or right to confirm he is on course. He also has a modified breaststroke that he uses sparingly to sight obstacles and buoys, but he makes his way along the course as others do. He just navigates a bit differently.
But as he says in preparation for his 5 km swim in Marine Stadium in Long Beach on September 23rd, "I swim for the same reasons others do: to challenge myself and to prove something to myself."
The proof is in the pudding – Craig Dietz is quite simply a star of the open water swimming world.
Copyright © 2012 by Open Water Source
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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.
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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.
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.