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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Iconic Landmarks In Open Water Swimming

Landmarks are frequently something swimmers sight off of while in the open water.

Piers, buildings, lights, towers, jetties, homes, trees and peninsulas provide the navigational points to help guide swimmers from point to point.

What are some of the most iconic landmarks for open water swimmers?

Here are a few around the world:

Diamond Head volcano in Waikiki Beach, Hawaii (USA)
Forte de Copacabana in Copacabana Beach, Rio de Janeiro (Brazil)
Mount Fuji in Lake Kawaguchi (Japan)
George Washington Bridge in New York City (USA)
Table Mountain in Cape Town (South Africa)

What are some great landmarks are there around the world?

True to their essence, open water swimmers know landmarks do not move...

Nick Adams, president of the Channel Swimming & Piloting Federation, remembers, "For me, swimming home on my two-way [crossing of the English Channel], I will never forget being able to see the lights of Dover and Folkestone from the moment I left France. They slowly separated, but never seemed to get closer."

Italian English Channel swimmer Thomas Kofler similarly recalls, "The landmark that I will never forget was the big antenna in (near) Dover that I continued to spot for hours and hours during my English Channel crossing that started at night at 1 am, starting point was Samphire Hoe. Unfortunately, I looked back from time to time and the red dots on the antenna did not disappear for quite a long time, making me doubt while swimming whether I was on track. Fortunately it disappeared and 15 hours later I touched French soil."

But in the open water, both on short races and during marathon swims, there are also other sensory factors that come into play. For many open water swimmers, landmarks do not always have to be physical landmarks. Adams eloquently describes a common perception, "It's not necessarily the sights one remembers, but often the smells, sounds, tastes and feelings. Whenever I know I am going to complete a swim, and conditions can't stop me, I can see the end beach/pole/wall. I can feel the different temperature. I can hear stones on the bottom and waves breaking. I can smell the seaweed. The clarity of the water changes. Then all the emotions fly out from their suppressed hole, and stream into my consciousness. Often a tear is shed."

Copyright © 2012 by Open Water Source

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