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Saturday, June 23, 2012

Why Michael Phelps Could Be A Great Open Water Swimmer

Without a doubt, Michael Phelps would be a great open water swimmer, if not one of the best of all time.

The open water swimming world may never see Phelps body surf into shore, be fed from an escort boat or lead a pack around a turn buoy, but his aquatic talents would grace the oceans of the world just as easily as they do in pools.

There are at least 10 reasons why Phelps would be a great open water swimmer:

1. He trains more than enough.
2. He has years of tough training behind him.
3. His pain threshold is well-established. He has the mental toughness to ignore the pain and discomfort that comes with swimming long distances in extreme water temperatures among marine life.
4. He swims freestyle extraordinarily well and his breathing pattern is well-suited to turbulent conditions.
5. He has the ultimate in speed and endurance to beat the fastest men on the planet at 1 km or 1 mile, 5 km or 10 km.
6. He loves winning.
7. He admits to wanting to see more of the world than airports, hotels and swimming pools. Traveling around the world and competing at some of the best beaches and lakes is a great alternative.
8. Other Olympic pool swimming champions - Shane Gould, Sandy Neilson-Bell, Jim Montgomery, John Kinsella - have all learned to enjoy and appreciate the open water as they hung up their swimsuits and transformed to open water aficionados.
9. He is already supporting open water swims like the Swim Across America events.
10. He enjoys sports and athletic competitions, and swimming will remain deeply embedded in his DNA. He may not wish to compete against young guns in 2016 or 2020, but winning in front of 18,000 other competitors at the Midmar Mile or other such mass participation events would undoubtedly bring out his winning smile.

We expect to see Mr. Phelps at the seashore sooner than people expect.

Copyright © 2012 by World Open Water Swimming Association


  1. Let's get him for our Alcatraz Invitational next year...see if he can handle balmy 60f

    El Sharko

  2. I think to encourage swimmers to immediately transform themselves from a 80°F pool swimmer to a 60°F open water only works in limited situations and with a small number of athletes. We believe it is more prudent to encourage and invite swimmers/triathletes to enjoy their first attempts at open water swimming in temperatures and conditions that they are comfortable with. Then, after they enjoy their initial swims, they can be introduced to more extreme conditions and temperatures. This way, the motivation comes from within rather than being forced upon externally by those already comfortable with extreme temperatures and conditions. It seems a gradual introduction to extreme conditions, distances and temperatures works better for most people and leads to a life-long appreciation and love of the sport. Of course, there are others who simply love rough water, tough currents and cold water temperatures right off the bat. But an introduction to the sport in a tropical setting under gorgeously tranquil conditions is probably the best long-term strategy for Mr. Phelps and many others. On the flip side, pool coaches would not ask a novice open water swimmer to enter a 200 butterfly or 400 individual medley during their first swim meet (although we have no doubt that many San Francisco Bay swimmers could reel off a number of 200 flys and 400 IMs...)


Thank you very much for your interest in the world of open water swimming.

The Staff of the World Open Water Swimming Association

A Thank You Gift from WOWSA

WOWSA is celebrating the
1-Year Anniversary of the monthly Open Water Swimming Magazine
by giving you a free copy of the anniversary issue.

Open Water Swimming Magazine Anniversary Issue
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Download the file to your computer, and then right-click to extract the magazine which is inside the zip folder. The magazine is in PDF format.

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Open Water Swimming Magazine

Open Water Swimming Magazine

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.

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 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.

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.


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