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Monday, July 2, 2012
Rebecca Soni Pretty In Pink And Immersed In Blue
While her fellow pool elite athletes were conserving energy and tapering for the high-pressure Olympic Trials, Soni was reportedly mellowing out near her home in Manhattan Beach, California, and casually swimming in the Pacific Ocean.
One of her fellow American gold medalists, Gary Hall Jr., also understood and appreciates the soothing feeling and renewed energy that can come with an immersion in the Big Blue.
Getting inspired by the shoreline and ocean ambiance is nothing new to open water swimmers or Dr. Wallace J. Nichols, a sea turtle biologist who connects neuroscience with the ocean and researches how the brain's emotional center is lit up by open water.
His BLUEMiND research takes him to meet fishermen and to coastal villages where he encounters people with a common appreciation for the ocean’s beauty, abundance and mysteries.
"We have the power of happiness on our side," is a comment that is easily understood by the open water swimming community and the clearly happy and optimistic Soni.
The empirical evidence to prove this point is overwhelming - across borders, cultures, ages, generations, genders and bodies of water. Check out the decibel level of an open water swimming event at the start of a race and the completion of a race. The amount of conversation, laughter and emotion, among both friends and those who have never met each other before, is vastly greater and louder after a race than before. Swimmers talk about their common experiences and the level of camaraderie and mutual respect are tremendously enhanced.
Soni pulled off arguably the greatest upset at the 2008 Olympics with a gold-medal victory in the 200-meter breaststroke. According to one of her USC coaches, Catherine Vogt, she is also awesome in the open water.
Soni wrote Ten Tips for a Great Swim for the Waikiki Roughwater Swim:
1) Preparation is everything. Elite level distance swimmers who are in reasonable shape may be able to get through the 2.384 mile Waikiki Roughwater Swim without months of race specific training. All others should find a qualified coach and training group to assure that they are in shape to finish the race regardless of the conditions (wind, waves, current). Stretching, cross training and strength training are all helpful tools but perhaps the most important thing is an efficient stroke and good conditioning. By race day you should be able to swim 4000 meters comfortably without stopping or touching the bottom.
2) If there is any doubt that you can finish the race stay on the beach and train for next year.
3) There are no lane lines in the ocean. Practice sighting buoys and landmarks (twin towers, Rainbow Hilton). Learn to read the ripples in the sand on the bottom. They can help you stay on track. You should be able to 'look stroke' while swimming freestyle every 20 strokes or so. Even an Olympic Gold Medalist in the breast stroke swims head down freestyle in the ocean.
4) Wear a comfortable (and stylish) swim suit with minimal drag, a brightly colored swim cap (lime green, and pink are my favorites) and goggles that fit you and will not fog up.
5) Vaseline and sunscreen are key. Vaseline areas that might chafe such as your neck and underarms. Use a high SPF sunscreen and find a friend to get your back. Reapply sunscreen after the race.
6) Honolulu tide charts can help give you an idea of what the currents will be like on race day but for the best indication, swim part of the course (with a friend) the day before the race at the same time that you will be swimming that section of the course. It helps to practice navigating both the start and the finish. The Roughwater Swim Committee offers free clinics and I advise you to take advantage of this great opportunity.
7) Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. On the day prior to the race avoid soda, caffeine and alcoholic beverages. Drink lots of water and/or sports drinks. Don't overdo it but keep sipping up until race time. Rehydrate as soon as possible after you finish the race. There are no aid stations out in the ocean.
8) Eat what you feel comfortable with the day before the race. Avoid foods that you are not used to or that may cause you discomfort. In the morning eat a light but balanced breakfast that you are used to eating. Don't skip breakfast but don't visit the all-you-can eat buffet either.
9) Arrive at the beach at least 45 minutes to an hour before the start. Prior to the start, line up where you expect to finish in your heat. If you know that you are among the fastest swimmers in your heat get right in front and at the gun take off in front to take advantage of the open water. If you are not going to lead the pack, or you are not sure, then take a few steps back, wait a few seconds after the gun and draft the pack out the channel. You will save energy and avoid faster swimmers pushing to get around you.
10) Enjoy the race. If you are in shape and have prepared properly you will have a blast, regardless of the conditions. If you are not prepared, it may not be so much fun. Stay on the beach. While you are on the course, look for turtles, fish and dolphins. It is usually more efficient to stay with a pack where you can draft and share navigation duties than to swim on your own but when you can outsprint or outsmart the competition go for it! Ocean swimming is all about enjoying the environment, getting in great shape and navigating and swimming your best.
Photo of Rebecca Soni in a pink Arena swimsuit at the 2012 USA Olympic Swimming Trials in Omaha, Nebraska by Mark J. Terrill of AP.
Copyright © 2012 by World Open Water Swimming Association
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.
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 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.