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Friday, July 20, 2012
Craig Dietz Catches Olympic Fever In Swim Across America
They will inspire us and showcase the sport as never before. Their tactics will be analyzed, their swimming styles will be emulated and their exploits will be all over the social media.
As a result, many others will want to give the sport a try. Some will try to swim in the open water, others may attempt to do a triathlon, and others will attempt a marathon swim for the first time.
Certainly there are growing numbers of marathon swims around the world (see here).
Craig Dietz, the Limbless Waterman, is no different. After completing his longest swim to date - the 4.4 miles of the Great Chesapeake Bay Swim, his goals became greater.
"I've never been one to just sit around and do nothing. I like to push myself," explained Dietz to Fox News. In the Great Chesapeake Bay Swim, he faced a typically aggressive field of competitors. "I got punched in the nose by a swimmer out there. He was - not on purpose - just swimming by me, didn't see me and just stroked right into my face."
After giving a speech at the Global Open Water Swimming Conference on the Queen Mary in Long Beach, California, Dietz will enter the Swim Across America 10 km swim on September 23rd.
He was originally going to enter the Swim Across America 5 km swim, but he caught the Olympic fever and decided to swim in the replica of the Olympic 10km Marathon Swim course. "Find another way to challenge yourself. There's different strokes for different folks, but find some way to get out there and challenge yourself," advises the dynamic motivational speaker.
How will Dietz, a man born without arms or legs, be able to swim a 10 km marathon swim? Through ingenuity and drive. The same way he has learned how to drive, cook, send emails and do nearly everything else others do in the course of their lives.
He will share his positive outlook and inspirational lifestyle at the 2012 Global Open Water Swimming Conference.
"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."
But how does he do it? How would a person swim 10 km without arms and legs, hands or feet? What is unimaginable to the Olympic swimmers in London is second-nature to Dietz.
The first impression of Dietz is how personable, humble, and confidence he is. His charisma exudes from every pore and radiates with his smiles and facial expressions. Like many others, he receives a bit of help putting on Vaseline before he swims, but he also receives help putting on his goggles and swim cap. And like others standing on the shoreline waiting for the race to begin, he spends time joking with swimmers and friends, small talking with even the most non-stop chatterers.
When the race start approaches, he climbs out of his wheelchair and moves across the beach to the water's edge. He gets assistance taping one swim fin to his right leg stub as 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, he showers other competitors with smiles, nods and winks that are mutually exchanged. But a competitive seriousness underlies his friendly veneer 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 intensely competitive A-types, he preps himself for 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, just as intensely as the next athlete. He is at a clear disadvantage, but nothing is stopping him. Streamlined as can be, 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 undulate like a dolphin, getting every ounce of energy that he can from his 12-inch leg stub and swim fin.
Dietz can't do freestyle. He is not doing backstroke. But his style 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 10 km swim at the Swim Across America 10 km swim in Marine Stadium, "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
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.
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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.
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