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Monday, September 17, 2012

Incredulous Inspiration On The High Seas

Athletes, coaches and administrators are arriving in Southern California this week to attend the 2012 Global Open Water Swimming Conference on the Queen Mary on September 21 – 22 and the Swim Across America event on Sunday, September 23 in Marine Stadium.

The Swim Across America event will be streamed live online, but there will be plenty of additional highlights over this 3-day extravaganza.

Firstly, there will be the assembly of arguably the greatest collection of female marathon swimmers in history: Olympic champions, world champions, professional marathon swimmers, channel swimmers and national champions from various countries.

The esteemed group includes Greta Andersen, the top professional marathon swimmer from the 1950s and 1960s, Penny Dean, the top professional marathon swimmer from the 1970s, Shelley Taylor-Smith, top professional marathon swimmer from the 1980s and 1990s will be joined by Pilar Geijo, the top professional marathon swimmer from thus century and 12-time English Channel swimmer Dr. Marcella MacDonald, International Masters Swimming Hall of Fame Honor Swimmer Suzanne Heim-Bowen and dozens of other accomplished women.

The keynote speeches for the Conference will be electrifying with a pair of charismatic individuals: Diana Nyad and Craig Dietz. On the Queen Mary, Nyad will talk about her swim attempts from Cuba where she will show incredible footage of a 63-year-old woman attempting to overcome squalls and box jellyfish, the most venomous creatures on the planet. She will be joined Craig Dietz, an indescribably courageous athlete who was born without arms and legs.

Craig is an attorney, drives a car, and is married. The Pennsylvania native will follow-up his presentation by entering the Swim Across America event in Marine Stadium. Both Nyad and Dietz will describe living without limitations and will generate everything from laughter to tears during their speeches.

The 3-day weekend will include the following activities:

Friday, September 21st
• Welcome Reception at 6 – 8 pm with a Marine & Swimming Art Exhibit and the Screening of 50-Year-Old Freshman: Suzanne Heim-Bowen

Saturday, September 22nd
• Keynote Speeches by Diana Nyad (USA) and Craig Dietz (USA)

• Achieving the Impossible by Lewis Pugh (UK/South Africa) and Greta Andersen (USA/Denmark) and Trent Grimsey (Australia) on the English Channel

• 2012 London Olympics by Colin Hill (Great Britain), Ricardo Ratto (Brazil), Shelley Taylor-Smith (Australia), Dr. Khwaza Aziz (Bangladesh)

• 1st Open Water Safety Panel with Steven Munatones (USA), Moderator Forrest Nelson (USA), Michael Read MBE (UK), Dr. Marcella MacDonald (USA), Ned Denison (Ireland), Dr. Penny Dean (USA), Bryce Elser (USA), Captains Ala Miki and Scott Dixon (USA) International Swims: Ricardo Ratto (Brazil)

• Dealing with Jellyfish by Diana Nyad (USA) and Ron Adley (USA)

World Open Water Swimming Awards luncheon honoring Pilar Geijo (Argentina, World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year), Jamie Patrick (USA, World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year), and Lt. Colonel Nejib Belhedi (Tunisia, World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year)

International Swimming Hall of Fame recognition honoring Drury Gallagher (USA), founder, Manhattan Island Swimming Association, introduced by Tim Johnson & Dr. Jane Katz, Chad Hundeby (USA), English Channel and Catalina Channel record holder, introduced by Dale Petranech, Eleanor Studley Hurd (USA), swam between Europe and Asia posthumously honored, accepted by Virginia Downing (daughter) and Robert Hurd (son), Des Renford (Australia), 19-time English Channel swimmer posthumously honored, accepted by Michael Read MBE, and Vicko Šoljan (Croatia), founder of the Croatian Long Distance Swimming Association, introduced by Janez Maroevic

• Mass Participation Swims by Janel Jorgenson (USA) on Swim Across America, and Wayne Riddin (South Africa) on the Midmar Mile, and Yutaka Shinozaki (Japan) on Japan Open Water Swimming Association

• 2nd Open Water Safety Panel with Moderator Forrest Nelson (USA), Michael Read MBE (UK), Dr. Marcella MacDonald (USA), Ned Denison (Ireland), Penny Dean (USA), Bryce Elser (USA), Captains Ala Miki & Scott Dixon (USA)

• Extreme Swims by Ram Barkai (South Africa), International Ice Swimming Association

• River & Stage Swims by Martin Strel (Slovenia), Big River Man

• Coaching Elite Open Water Swimmers by Catherine Vogt (USA) on Ous Mellouli and Haley Anderson

• Coaching Marathon Swimmer by Ned Denison (Ireland) and Dr. Marcella MacDonald (USA)

• Ocean Recovery Alliance by Doug Woodring (Hong Kong) on Ocean Environmentalist

• Third World Swimming by Dr. Khwaja Aziz (Bangladesh)

• Art and the Open Water by Dr. Lisa Stansbie (UK)

• Technology in the Open Water by Stephen Coulter (Australia) on iSwimToo, and John Mix (USA), Luane Rowe (Australia) on FINIS

International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony and Dinner honoring:

• Larisa Ilchenko (Russia), 2008 Olympic 10K Marathon Swim gold medalist
• Maarten van der Weijden (Netherlands), 2008 Olympic 10K Marathon Swim gold medalist and leukemia survivor, introduced by Dr. Mariusz Wirga
• Sri Chinmoy (India), posthumously inducted as Honour Administrator, introduced by Vasanti Niemz
• Ned Denison (Ireland), accomplished marathon swimmer, coach and Honour Administrator, introduced by Phil White of the Northeast Kingdom Open Water Swimming Association
• Chris Green (UK), introduced by Bev Thomas with descriptions by Tim Johnson, Skip Storch, Michael Read MBE
• David Parcells (USA), channel swimmer posthumously inducted as an Honour Swimmer, introduced by Dr. Marcella MacDonald
• Faros Maratón Swim (Croatia) as an Honour Organisation, accepted by Janez Maroevic
• Irish Long Distance Swimming Association (Ireland) as an Honour Organisation accepted by Ned Denison
•Marcos Díaz (Dominican Republic), United Nations Swimming Ambassador

Sunday, September 23rd
• Swim Across America Long Beach: 100m, 800m, 1.5km, 5km and 10km swims in Marine Stadium, site of the 1932 Los Angeles Olympic Games rowing competitions

For more information and to register, visit here.

Copyright © 2012 by World Open Water Swimming Association

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