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Thursday, September 6, 2012

Swimming Across Lake Michigan And Watching History

During the 2012 Global Open Water Swimming Conference, Greta Andersen will speak and engage the audience on a number of her swims: racing 5 times across the English Channel, getting pulled from the Molokai Channel due to sharks, completing the first two-way crossing of the Catalina Channel, and racing in Lake Michigan. She will show videos of a number of professional marathon swims from her illustrious career and describe her swims at the 1948 London Olympic Games.

One of the vintage films that she will show includes the historic Lake Michigan Swism with footage that was edited by her friend and colleague/competitor Ted Erikson who converted the vintage footage to DVD.

Erikson explained, "Based on several failures by Joe Griffith and Harry Briggs in previous years, several Lake Michigan pro swims were launched by Jim Moran (the Courtesy Man) in the early 1960s." Moran, who built the largest car dealership in the United States, was an avid supporter of swimming. He developed amateur and 3 renowned professional races in his backyard of the vast Lake Michigan:

In 1961, Erikson earned US$3,675 for the 36.75-mile race from Chicago, Illinois to Michigan City, Indiana in 36 hours 37 minutes

In 1962, Dennis Matuch won US$4,000 for the 36.75-mile race to Waukegan, Illinois in 21 hours 10 minutes.

During the same race, Andersen continued onward to win US$10,000 by swimming to the 50-mile point at Kenosha, Wisconsin in 31 hours.

In 1963, Abdul Latif Abou-Heif won US$15,000 for the 60-mile race to St. Joseph, Michigan in 34 hours 45 minutes.

Erikson, who competed in each of the swim, recalls, "Seeking publicity for his car dealership and not anticipating anyone would finish, the prize money broke the budget and no further swims were offered."

To kick things off in August 1961, 6 swimmers dove off McCormick Place in Chicago to swim to Michigan City, Indiana. Mary Margaret Revell retired at 4 miles; Dennis Matuch retired at 6 hours; Elmer Korbai retired at 27 miles and the two Simicek sisters hung on into darkness and stopped at 29 miles.

Erikson, who swam to give himself time to think and exercise, found himself automatically moved from fourth to first. He slowly struggled to complete the remaining distance to finish in 36 hours 37 minutes. His success attracted attention and a deeper field the following year.

One year later, Matuch, Erikson, Jim Wood, Elmer Korbai, Ed Kirk, Andersen, Cynthia Julian, Carol Urist and Britt Sullivan jumped in the fray. Erikson recalls, "Dennis, Greta and Cynthia led the pack but Dennis just beat Greta to the 36.75-mile finish. Greta went on the the 50-mile point with me as everyone else dropped out. Greta won $10,000 while I was a research subject for a medical study and followed several hours later for finish in 35 hours 45 minutes."

16 swimmers from 6 countries stepped it up in 1963 when Moran increased the distance to a seemingly impossible 60 miles. One year to the hour since the 1962 race, the field started at Burnham Harbor. Erikson remembers as if it were yesterday. "Abou-Heif, Greta, and an Argentine swimmer set a fast early space followed by myself and others. Throughout the afternoon swimmers dropped out leaving only Abou-Heif ahead of me by about a mile by evening. In the darkness, my handlers cut all lights on the boat. We crept to within a quarter mile of About before our tactic was recognized. He burst away to win as I kept on swimming to finish in 37 hours 42 minutes, gaining a disturbing title of the best second place finisher in these races. Piqued, those swims prompted a solo 1965 double English Channel crossing in 30 hours 3 minutes, lowering the [then-existing] record by 13 hours."

While the races were disbanded, Erikson recalls other long swims in Lake Michigan. "In 1971, my son Jon at the age 16 swam from Michigan City to Chicago in 24 hours 30 minutes to break my record [of the 1961 course]. Later, in 1988 Vicki Keith made a Lake Huron crossing in 46 hours followed in later lake crossings by Paula Stephenson and Jim Dryer (in a wetsuit)."

Watch this history at the 2012 Global Open Water Swimming Conference on the Queen Mary in Long Beach, California ... and listen to the vivacious Andersen explain how she trained and the ambiance of her era. "I used to train 10 miles a day in Long Beach, California [very near where the Queen Mary currently is located]. With a paddler at my side, but no goggles!"

Copyright © 2012 by Open Water Source

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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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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.

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