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Sunday, July 29, 2012

Ryan Lochte's Surfer Attitude - What Is It?

Sports Illustrated Magazine once wrote, "...Ryan Lochte might be more known for his surfer's attitude and freak injuries than for his gold medals, but expect him to tear up the pool..."

Sports Illustrated could not be more right after the first night of swimming competition when Lochte's years of intense training paid in a dominating gold-medal performance in the 400 individual medley.

The magazine also hinted at Lochte's surfer's attitude. But what is a "surfer's attitude"?

The wildly held perception of surfers being relaxed and easy-going is correct. How can you NOT be relaxed and easy-going when you surf and are enjoying yourself in the open water? As Dr. Wallace J. Nichols has researched in a newly emerging field called neuro-conservation, there is a deep connection with the ocean and the human mind. Surfing, swimming and lounging around the seashore leads to people to be mellow.

"Humans have a deep emotional connection to the sea that drives many of our decisions, from what seafood we eat and where we live, to how we vacation and relax," said Dr. Nichols, founder of BLUEMiND and a research associate at the California Academy of Sciences.

Ten-time Olympic gold medalists like Gary Hall Jr., five-time medalist Shane Gould, 3-time gold medalists Sandy Neilson-Bell and Rebecca Soni all know this BLUEMiND concept well. While Hall has chilled on the Florida coast en route to 10 Olympic medals, Soni has mellowed out in Manhattan Beach in Southern California between their intense pool training sessions.

Their secrets are also appreciated by 12-time Olympic medalist Natalie Coughlin and 100 butterfly gold medal favorite Dana Vollmer as well as the famously chill Lochte.

But a surfer's attitude is more than just being laid-back and cool. It is much more encompassing of other attributes includes

* the ability to work with others
* an appreciation for the environment
* the ability to deal with and reduce stress
* the willingness to face problems in a measured way

The surfer's attitude partly comes about because the ocean and surfing can be unpredictable. Each day and every wave can be different. Without the ability to micro-manage the environment and people around them, they learn to be flexible and adapt to the ambiance and the physical world.

This attitude also arises because surfing takes time and patience. The physical skills to surf take repeated effort and incremental effort. It is the same with swimming whether your swimming is done in the pool or open water.

The attitude also results because the ocean is a great equalizer. Out in the open water, Mother Nature treats all surfers and swimmers exactly the same. Commonalities among surfers and swimmers are much more obvious in the open water than differences. Family connections, wealth or physical beauty mean nothing out in the waves or open water. Everyone can enjoy the oceans equally - or be frustrated by its tides, currents, waves and wipe-outs.

This attitude is most importantly embodied by athletes like Lochte who is simply...positive. Unrelentingly positive taking in life, embracing it and accepting risks as they come.

Copyright © 2012 by World Open Water Swimming Association

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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 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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