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Sunday, July 29, 2012

Pyramid Of Open Water Success

Competitive open water swimmers should learn how to deal with each possible scenario that can present itself during an open water race.

John Wooden, the legendary UCLA basketball coach, was a great educator who created one of the most profound definitions of success: the Pyramid of Success. Coach Wooden's Pyramid of Success includes 15 blocks, from industriousness to enthusiasm.

Based on Coach Wooden's Pyramid of Success, the Pyramid of Open Water Success describes the optimal training regimen for a successful open water swimmer, whether the athlete is aiming to do a ½-mile lake swim for the first time, cross the English Channel or win the Olympic Marathon Swim 10km.

The cornerstones of the Pyramid of Open Water Success comprises of Base Training, Speed Training and Distance Tolerance. These training fundamentals, referred to as the base, are well-known and understood by pool coaches and are rooted in the distance pool training methodologies used since the early 1970s.

At the mid-level of the Pyramid of Open Water Success, the key components of success are Race Specific Training, Skill Training and Open Water Acclimatization. These three training fundamentals are less well-known and only occasionally emphasized by coaches or athletes in their daily training regimens.

At the apex of the Pyramid is Tactical Education. This is the knowledge and understanding of what to do in a dynamic environment where one's competitors and the water conditions are variable. Athletes need to plan for, anticipate, adapt and respond to the ever-changing environment during competition. This education, which is vital to success, can only come from real-world experiences, observation and study.

The seven essentials include the following:

1. Base Training: Getting in shape during pre- and mid-season by swimming hundreds of miles through daily and repeated aerobic training sets (e.g., 6,000 – 10,000 meter workouts). This is a basic component of competitive pool training programs.

2. Speed Training: Improving one's speed by focusing on up tempo swims including anaerobic training sets. This is another basic component of competitive pool training programs.

3. Distance Tolerance: Developing one's ability to swim the specific distance of one's chosen open water distance (e.g., 1500 meters, 10K or 20 miles). This is another basic component of distance freestyle training groups of competitive pool training programs.

4. Race Specific Training: Simulating open water race conditions in the pool or acclimating the swimmer to such conditions during open water training sessions. This includes pace-line sets, leap-frog sets and deck-ups. Pace-line sets are where groups of swimmers closely draft off of one another in the pool, changing pace and leaders throughout the set (e.g., 3 x 1000 with a change of leader every 100). Leap-frog sets are another example where the last swimmer sprints to the front of the group every 100 meters. Deck-up sets (10 x 100 @ 1:30) are where swimmers must immediately pull themselves out of the water and dive back into the pool after every 100. This simulates on-the-beach finishes when an athlete is swimming horizontally for a length of time and then must suddenly go vertical to run up to the open water finish. Deck-ups also assist the swimmer's preparation to make quick tactical moves during a race or in response to unexpected tactical moves by one's competitors because there are often heart rate spikes during a race.

5. Skill Training: Teaching the fine points of open water racing techniques requires feedings, sightings, starts, turns, positioning and navigation practices during pool practices or, ideally, in the open water. For feeding, swimmers can place gel packs in their swim suits to practice fluid in-take during main sets. For navigation and sightings, swimmers can do 6 x 400, but they must lift up their heads twice every fourth lap to sight balloons on the pool deck, moved around by the coach. For turns, swimmers can touch the wall, without doing a flip turn or pushing off the wall, during the last 2 laps of 5 x 200. For drafting, three swimmers can swim together with one swimmer slightly behind drafting for a set of 9 x 300 with a draft every third lap and descending by groups of three. To replicate start and finish conditions, swimmers sprint short distances (25's or 50's) with three swimmers per lane starting at the same time.

6. Open Water Acclimatization: Especially for newcomers to the sport, acclimatization is required to get swimmers familiar with the open water environment. This includes getting used to cold water, warm water and rough water. This also includes understanding – and experiencing – jellyfish, marine life, wind chop, boat fumes, oil slicks, kelp, fog and rain as well as swimming through waves and currents before one's race. It also includes "aggressive swimming" sets when a group of swimmers in a tight pack practices buoy turns and finish sprints where the swimmers purposefully knock off the goggles or swim cap of one chosen swimmer. These types of experiences are parts of open water races at one point or another. To be successful, these experiences must be encountered and mastered during training.

7. Tactical Education: Most importantly, swimmers must study and understand the dynamics of open water racing and know why and how packs get formed and why they take on certain shapes. Swimmers and coaches must understand, for example, why and how packs get strung out, where swimmers should tactically place themselves in the pack at different points during the race and the importance of hydration and feeding station techniques. These tactics should be reviewed while observing successful open water swimmers through film so questions can be asked and different scenarios can be studied. An example of who best to study is Olympic 10K champion Larisa Ilchenko, who is not the fastest 800-meter swimmer in open water competitions, but who rarely lost a major competition.

Base Training, Speed Training and Distance Tolerance are taught by experienced swimming coach worldwide. But different types of skills and sets are needed for success in open water competitions, whether it is a local lake swim or the Olympic marathon swim . Race Specific Training, Skill Training and Open Water Acclimatization are three additional types of training required to properly prepare for open water racing which is becoming increasingly competitive.

Players and coaches of land-based team sports study film. The best race car drivers know when to slow down the field or speed up. These athletes have an arsenal of tools that is necessary for victory. Open water swimmers similarly need an arsenal of tools to win. Before they jump in the water, swimmers need to know how to deal with each possible scenario that can present itself during a race. Even though some swimmers may have an innate tactical IQ, most athletes will have to learn.

Competitive open water swimmers need to learn what these tools are as a first step. Knowing when and how to use these tools is the next step. It is really a tactical education - an overlooked aspect of open water training – that separates consistent winners from the rest of the pack. This know-how and skills must be developed and will become the most important tools in this rapidly growing sport.

With proper focus on the Pyramid of Open Water Success, swimmers can best position themselves for success in the open water.

Copyright © 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 by Open Water Source

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

The Staff of the World Open Water Swimming Association

2014 Global Open Water Swimming Conference

Learn more...
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

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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.

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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.
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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:
https://www.worldopenwaterswimmingassociation.com/preview-open-water-swimming-almanac


The trends are very clear.
The tide is rising for open water swimming.

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