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Tuesday, August 28, 2012
The History And Future Of The North Channel
Soutter’s swim from Mull of Kintyre to Ireland is a 11-mile crossing across the North Channel at the straits of Moyle, from Scotland to the Northern Island.
His course has precedence in the marathon swimming world.
Once in the autumn of 1928 and three times in 1929, International Marathon Swimming Hall of Famer Mercedes Gleitze attempted the same crossing of the Mull of Kintyre to Ireland. The prolific pioneering swimmer had previously attempted the 21-mile course in the Mull of Galloway three times but came up short each time.
After these unsuccessful attempts, she turned her back on both the Mull of Galloway and the Mull of Kintrye and took her swimming energies elsewhere throughout Ireland and as far away as South Africa, ultimately completing 51 marathon swims. But the 11-mile course traversed by Soutter and the traditional 21-mile course across the North Channel eluded the pioneer Gleitze.
In 1947, history was made when the North Channel was finally crossed. Tom Blower attempted to cross the 21-mile Mull of Galloway course on July 12th. Although he was unsuccessful, he tried again a fortnight later. On July 27th he became the first person to successfully cross the North Channel in 15 hours 26 minutes. Blower pioneered this 21-mile route that is recognised and ratified as The North Channel, a crossing in the Mull of Galloway, which has been historical path of 14 subsequent swimmers and a handful of relay swimmers with hundreds of unsuccessful attempts.
In the mid-1960s the Irish Long Distance Swimming Association (ILDSA) got involved and offered certification and its observers. The Association ratified records and associated itself with the notorious 21-mile waterway.
The ILDSA certifies the swim across the 21-mile Mull of Galloway course pioneered by Blower (pilots are based in the Bangor Area both Brian Meharg and Quinten Nelson, the swim as it is, may start anywhere surrounding the mouth of the Belfast Lough North or South).
"In its present structure to take on the 11-mile stretch the official pilot boats would have to steam their boats for 6 hours to the start location which would add both huge cost and time to the swim. The 11-mile Mull of Kintyre course first attempted in 1928 by Gleitze and achieved by Soutter in 2012 may come on line if suitable pilots with suitable facilities and accommodations to facilitate the swim and observers, and the necessary certificates and insurance are sourced. It is in the future," confirmed the ILDSA.
The ILDSA explains further, "The 21-mile Mull of Galloway crossing is the challenge that Tom Blower set down in 1947; the challenge was not about getting across the fastest route. The Mull of Kintyre is obviously the shortest route, 10 miles shorter and always was there with it's own localised challenges. The huge distance in these temperatures was the challenge and has made the successes more sweet and the unsuccessful more bearable.
The historical importance of the North Channel Swim was about taking on the mantle pioneered by Blower, his 21-mile crossing. Swimmers to the North Channel found their challenge in replicating the brilliant achievements of those who had gone before them, primarily because of the risk and the dangers that the cold and the deep dark waters held. It is a feared body of water and running over 1,140 feet in The Beaufort Dyke."
By taking on the shortest possible crossing Mull of Kintrye, Soutter has presented another challenge for those who favour a shorter distance. But the ILDSA is clear there is a difference. "Both courses are honourable but it is important to maintain the integrity of the record books that distinction is made between both routes."
But it is now clear the introduction of another route of the Mull of Kintyre, championed by Mercedes Gleitze in the 1920s and achieved by Soutter, will be a welcomed addition to the open water swimming world and something that will be addressed at a future ILDSA meeting.
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
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