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Saturday, November 3, 2012

A Celebration Of Catalina Channel Champions

While the Channel Swimming Association was honoring its heroes and heroines of the 2012 season in the Dover Town Hall, their Pacific Ocean colleagues of the Catalina Channel Swimming Federation were honoring its own champions at its annual banquet in San Pedro, California.

The following swimmers and relays were officially ratified as members of the Catalina Channel swimming fraternity:

A standing ovation was given to Grace van der Byl not only for her tireless efforts as a volunteer observer, paddler and kayaker, but also for her record-setting solo swim of 7 hours 27 minutes from Catalina Island to the California mainland.

1. Jaime Caballero (Spain) 9:31:30
2. Ernie Hoftyzer (USA) 9:36:43
3. Laurie Jo Hall-Cueto Arreola (USA) 9:15:30
4. Anna Carin-Nordin (Sweden) 12:40:06
5. Chris Geer (USA) 9:56:14
6. Miquel Suñer Comalat (Spain) 8:11:13
7. Eddie Irwin (Ireland) 9:39:21
8. Maria Selina Moreno Pasagali (Spain) 11:11:53
9. Dave Van Mouwerik (USA) 12:09:07*
10. Sue Free (USA) 11:23:38*
11. Hendrik Meerman (USA) 12:48:30*
12. Adam Moine (USA) 9:14:11
13. Dan Boyle (USA) 10:55:40
14. Laura Lopez-Bonilla (Spain) 14:31:36
15. Mariel Hawley Davila (Mexico) 11:27:28
16. Monica Bender (USA) 9:51:14
17. Jaimie Monahan (USA) 13:28:41
18. Ned Denison (Ireland) 8:50:04
19. Douglas McConnell (USA) 12:41:13*
20. Roger Finch (South Africa) 9:45:02*
21. Gabor Molnar (Hungary) 9:00:48
22. Bridgette Hobart Janeczko (USA) 11:27:25*
23. Grace van der Byl (USA) 7:27:25
24. Adam Walker (UK) 12:15:15

* members of the Catalina Channel Half Century Club

In addition to the 23 solo swims during the 2012 season, the Catalina Channel Swimming Federation also ratified retroactively the following five swims:

1. Daisy Murchie (USA) 15:40:00 on September 2, 1956
2. Leo Vigil (Cuba) 17:14:45 on July 22, 1957
3. Captain Stewart Evans (USA) 20:55:00 on August 26, 1958
4. Greta Andersen (USA) 11:07:30 on October 16, 1959
5. Isaac Papke (USA) 12:45:00 on June 30, 1963
There were also 10 relay teams that successfully crossed the 20.2-mile channel formerly known as the San Pedro Channel:

1. Tripod Team 1 (Tom Cook, Kelley Schall, Tanya MacLean, Steven Coopersmith, Lynn Kubasek, Paula Selby) 13:16:41
2. Tripod Team 2 (Dan Simonelli, Julian Rusinek, Marc Horwitz, Natalie Kreizinger, Carol Hayden, Kim Miller) 13:16:41
3. Tripod Team 3 (Karl Jacobs, Thomas Johnson, Kenny Jacobs, Patsee Ober, Marta Gaughen, Yafa Minazad) on 13:16:41
4. Rocking Hot Chicks & One Dude (Cindy Meyer, John York, Heidi Thomas, Ashley Josephson, Carol Sing, Teri Clavell) 12:17:20
5. Swell Guys (Bill Crane, Stephen Cross, Steve Frantz, Steve Dockstader, Roger Renstrom, Rich Henry) 16:15:05
6. Wild One Women Women's Relay Team (age record age 70 and over) 16:15:05 (Carol Sing, Debbie Peckham, Betsy Jordan, Janett Lamott, Dudley Rockwell, Sandra Vickers) 7. Commotion on the Ocean (Peter Hayden, Vanessa Mesia, Tim Davies, Ben Barham, Julian Rusinek, Karl Jacobs) 14:11:26 8. CO and CA Kelp Patties (Charlotte C. Plummer, Averill Sehler, Jerry Orten, Michelle Poole, Howard Burns, Cherie Edborg) 10:07:53
9. Just Keep Swimming (Steven Klein, PK Gauchen, Sherry Winston, Alicia Bartley, Robyn Beresh, Kate Martin) 13:08:19
10. San Francisco Bay Dolphins (Rachel Elginsmith, Jesse Czelusta, David Cameron, C. Brian Elginsmith, Paige Coulam, Leigh Fonseca) 11:45:59

As there is every year, the stories, drama, courage and support team coordination behind each and every swim were too numerous to recount in a single day or single article, but the ambiance was always enlightening and inspiring. People from every walk of life, from 17 to their 70's, male and female, veterans and newcomers showed they had the fortitude, commitment and tools to cross one of the world's major channels.

Forrest Nelson, president of the Catalina Channel Swimming Federation, pointed out that these swimmers are uniquely special. "Most humans cannot comprehend the courage of what these people have, to cross this channel is something that requires so much of each individual." He gave credit to a variety of individuals and noted a number of trends:

1. The number of foreign swimmers continues to increase with swimmers from Spain, Hungary, Ireland, Sweden, Mexico, Great Britain and South Africa.

2. Paula Selby, one of the volunteer Federation board members, made sure that two qualified and trained observers were available for each and every one of the 40 attempts. A total of 45 observers volunteered their time - and lost at least one night of sleep on the high seas.

3. Jeff Beeler and Becky Jackson-Beeler continue to provide detailed training for all observers that include CPR and AED certification.

4. Neil and Grace van der Byl established a matchmaking service for swimmers to meet up with available kayakers, paddlers and other crew members.

5. Margaret Clark spent countless hours updating the Catalina Channel Swimming Federation website that will include the recently updated history of the channel by Dr. Penny Lee Dean from 1927 through 2012.

6. John York managed the Dottie York Scholarship Fund that was created to assist those who wish to cross the channel, but need financial assistance to do so.

7. Don Van Cleve continues to ably serve as the hard-working Secretary of the Federation.

8. Dr. Dean spent innumerable hours updating the Catalina Channel history with historical facts covering the last 10 years. She will continue to write the channel history as it happens.

Dr. Dean talked about a number of heroes including Daisy Murchie who swam from Avalon to Long Beach in 17 hours 4 minutes in 1955. "At the age of 39, she became the first woman to cross the Catalina Channel. This pioneer also swam the Salton Sea a few times as promotion for a neighboring city. She swam around Atlantic City with Tom Parks and worked out in Alamitos Bay with Greta Andersen."

Dr. Dean introduced Tom Clardy who became, in 1982, the first amputee to cross the Catalina Channel (note: blind King Benny Nawahi was the first disabled swimmer to cross). Clardy lost his leg as a police officer when he was hit by a car. Clardy recalls, "Swimming made me feel better. I got hit hard physically as a Navy SEAL in Vietnam and then again as a police officer. It was then when I lost my leg. Swimming saved me. The more I move, the better I feel. The less I move, the worse I feel. So swimming is great for me."

Ernie Hoftyzer said of his 9 hour 36 minute crossing, "I prepared physically but not mentally on my first attempt last year. When I got to the 10-hour mark, I thought the cheeseburger sounds pretty good, and got out. It was then that Tina Neill told me, 'The island will always be there.'"

Chris Geer of Long Beach, California said of his 9 hour 56 minute crossing, "I quit swimming in high school because I hated it. Later, I started running and did marathons. But in my 30's, I got back in the pool and realized that I still hated it. But then I fell in love with open water swimming - and this has been great."

Dave Van Mouwerik, another tireless volunteer of the California Channel Island community, said of his 12 hour 9 minute crossing, "I wanted to join this club for a while..."

Sue Free said of her 11 hour 23 minute crossing with a huge smile on her face as a member of the Half Century Club, "[Swimming Catalina] seemed like a thing to do for my 50th birthday."

Hendrik Meerman said of his 12 hour 48 minute crossing, "It is a long path to get here, but there are many people who help you along the way. I didn't make it last year, but I was able to get it done this year and finish business. Thank you very much for the support." Meerman joined the Half Century Club as it just turned 50 years old right before his crossing.

Adam Moine said, "I didn't know anything about Catalina Channel but the Dottie York Scholarship and Signet Marine in Redondo Beach helped me with their much-appreciated support."

Monica Bender, a young hometown girl of San Pedro, said of her 9 hour 51 minute crossing, "It was quite an experience at the age of 17. People usually don't do it at my age. The most interesting thing about my swim was how it was not planned very well. But my dad pulled it all together in time. My mom kayaked for me and my brother swam with me, at least for a while. I had a lot of people there at the finish for me. It made all the pain worthwhile."

Bridgette Hobart Janeczko, another new member of the Half Century Club who grew up in lakes in upstate New York, said of her 11 hour 27 minute crossing, "Along with Sue Hall, there were two of us who had the idea of swimming across the Catalina Channel at the age of 50. I really wanted to climb up the rocks [on the California coastline at the finish]. I was fortunate to be able to swim on my 50th birthday and I am really glad I could be here."

Grace van der Byl, the popular new record holder for her Catalina to mainland swim of 7 hours 27 minutes, said with tears in her eyes, "I am already crying. I am a swim coach. We do it because we love this, not because of the money. I was encouraged to apply to the Dottie York Scholarship. I want to swim this channel in her honor, in order to make her proud. I just didn't want to swim across, I wanted to make it special. I have been an observer and paddler [for others]. Each crossing made me want to swim this channel even more. I didn't feel like I did this [crossing] by myself, I did feel like I did this together with all of you."

Only 4 of the 5 sub-8-hour solo swims across the channel. Forrest Nelson summed up the ceremony by recalling "the raw emotion that is shown out in the channel. There are tears shed in those goggles. But there is also the spanning of generations, from the youth of the 70-year-old women. I hope we will all be there too at that age. I also enjoy seeing the youthful glow of Monica Bender who shares a remarkable likeness of Lynne Cox in her face.

This is a year-round sport. It is a pleasure to work with you all. You are a fantastic group."

Four of the five swimmers who have swum across the Catalina Channel under 8 hours were present at the ceremonies and are pictured above: John York (7:41:14), Grace van der Byl (7:27), Penny Dean (7:15:55), Peter Huisveld (7:37:31). Karen Reeder was the only sub-8 swimmer missing.

Photos courtesy of board member Paula Selby are posted World Open Water Swimming Association

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2014 Global Open Water Swimming Conference

Learn more...
Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

2014 Global Open Water Swimming Conference Agenda

Friday, 19 September



Welcome Reception at Mount Stuart House, Isle of Bute, Scotland

Documentary films shown throughout the reception:

Blue Journey-Amerika Samoa – Stronger Together: The Waterman’s Way
(film by Bruckner Chase)

Dancing With The Water, Crossing of Lake Pontchartrain
(film by Wayne Ewing about Matthew Moseley's Lake Pontchartrain crossing)

Bering Strait Swim Chukotka - Alaska
(film by Admiral Konstantin Sidenko about the relay between Russia and Alaska)

The Clean Swim – Hong Kong to Macau
(film about Simon Holiday's Pearl River Delta crossing)

Saturday, 20 September



Registration and Coffee at Mount Stuart House, Isle of Bute, Scotland



Keynote Speech:
Colleen Blair (Scotland) on The History of Scottish Swimming



Christopher Guesdon (Australia) on Multidimensional Roles In The Sport



Colin Hill (England) on Recent Explosion in UK Open Water



Shelley Taylor-Smith (Australia) on The Feminine Code of Achievement - How a Lady from Down Under Revolutionized Professional Marathon Swimming



Simon Murie (England) on Open Water Swimming Holidays: How A New Sector Was Created Within The Travel Industry



Swimming The Oceans Seven
A round table discussion moderated by:
Kevin Murphy (England), with Stephen Redmond (Ireland), Anna-Carin Nordin (Sweden),
Darren Miller (USA), Adam Walker (England), Kimberley Chambers (New Zealand)



Coffee and Break



World Open Water Swimming Awards Luncheon:
with co-hosts Shelley Taylor-Smith (Australia) and Steven Munatones (USA)

Pádraig Mallon (Ireland), 2013 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year

Olga Kozydub (Russia), 2013 World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year

Bering Strait Swim, 2013 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year

Honoring: Vladimir Chegorin, Maria Chizhova, Elena Guseva, Ram Barkai, Jack Bright, Oksana Veklich, Aleksandr Jakovlevs, Matías Ola, Henri Kaarma, Toomas Haggi, Nuala Moore, Anne Marie Ward, Toks Viviers, Melissa O’Reilly, Ryan Stramrood, Cristian Vergara, Craig Lenning, Rafal Ziobro, Andrew Chin, Jackie Cobell, James Pittar, Paolo Chiarino, Mariia Yrjö-Koskinen, Ivan Papulshenko, Zdenek Tlamicha, Zhou Hanming, Oleg Adamov, Andrei Agarkov, Alekseev Semen, Tatiana Alexandrova, Roman Belan, Elena Semenova, Alexander Brylin, Afanasii Diackovskii, Vladimir Nefatov, Evgenii Dokuchaev, Oleg Docuckaev, Roman Efimov, Dmitrii Filitovich, Olga Filitovich, Victor Godlevskiy, Olga Golubeva, Alexei Golubkin, Alexander Golubkin, Alexandr Iurkov, Oleg Ivanov, Pavel Kabakov, Eduard Khodakovskiy, Aleksandr Komarov, Aleksandr Kuliapin, Andrey Kuzmin, Irina Lamkina, Vladimir Litvinov, Andrey Mikhalev, Victor Moskvin, Nikolay Petshak, Sergey Popov, Vladimir Poshivailov, Grigorii Prokopchuk, Dmitrii Zalka, Natalia Seraya, Viacheslav Shaposhnikov, Olga Sokolova, Andrei Sychev, Alexei Tabakov, and Nataliia Usachaeva [represented by Admiral Konstantin Sidenko and Nuala Moore]



Alexey Salmin Pavlovich (Russia) and Dmitry Dragozhilov (Russia)
on the 2016 Winter Swimming World Championships [film]



Sally Minty-Gravett (Jersey) on Motivating Swimmers



Dmitry Blokhin (Russia) and Aleksei Veller (Russia)
on the First World Ice Swimming Championships [film]



Matthew Moseley (USA)’s Dancing With The Water, Crossing of Lake Pontchartrain [film]



Simon Holliday (England) and Doug Woodring (Hong Kong)’s The Clean Swim – Hong Kong to Macau 2014 [film]



International Swimming Hall of Fame (ISHOF)
and International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame (IMSHOF)

IMSHOF Induction Ceremonies and Dinner
with co-hosts Shelley Taylor-Smith (Australia) and Steven Munatones (USA).

Recognition of International Swimming Hall of Fame honorees:

  • Elizabeth Fry (USA), IMSHOF Honour Swimmer

  • Vojislav Mijić (Serbia), IMSHOF Honour Swimmer

  • James Anderson (USA), IMSHOF Honour Administrator

  • Dr. Jane Katz (USA), IMSHOF Honour Administrator

  • Indonesian Swimming Federation Open Water Committee (Indonesia), IMSHOF Honour Organisation

  • Melissa Cunningham (Australia), Irving Davids – Captain Roger Wheeler Award by the International Swimming Hall of Fame and IMSHOF Honour Swimmer

  • Sandra Bucha (USA), ISHOF Honor Open Water Swimmer and IMSHOF Honour Swimmer

  • Jon Erikson (USA), ISHOF Honor Open Water Swimmer and IMSHOF Honour Swimmer [represented by Sandra Bucha]



International Swimming Hall of Fame (ISHOF) Introduction Video.
Welcome speech by host Shelley Taylor-Smith (Australia)






International Swimming Hall of Fame (ISHOF)
Induction Ceremonies and Dinner with host Shelley Taylor-Smith (Australia)

Recognition of International Swimming Hall of Fame honorees:

  • Mercedes Gleitze (England)
    ISHOF Honor Pioneer Swimmer and IMSHOF Honour Swimmer
    [represented by daughter Doloranda Pember]

  • Dale Petranech (USA)
    ISHOF Honor Contributer and IMSHOF Honour Administrator

  • Claudio Plit (Argentina)
    ISHOF Honor Open Water Swimmer and IMSHOF Honour Swimmer
    [represented by Shelley Taylor-Smith]

  • Judith van Berkel-de Nijs (Netherlands)
    ISHOF Honor Open Water Swimmer and IMSHOF Honour Swimmer
    [represented by Niek Kloots]

  • George Young (Canada)
    ISHOF Honor Pioneer Swimmer and IMSHOF Honour Swimmer
    [represented by the Catalina Channel Swimming Federation]

  • David Yudovin (USA)
    ISHOF Honor Open Water Swimmer and IMSHOF Honour Swimmer

Sunday, 21 September



Registration and coffee at Mount Stuart House, Isle of Bute, Scotland



Nuala Moore (Ireland) on The Mindset of 1000m at 0ºC



Admiral Konstantin Sidenko (Russia)’s Bering Strait Swim Chukotka - Alaska in 2013 [film]



Ned Denison (Ireland) on Swimming The World



Bruckner Chase (USA)’s Blue Journey-Amerika Samoa
Stronger Together: The Waterman’s Way



Rok Kerin (Slovenia) on Lifestyle Benefits From Open Water Swimming



Survey distribution and group photo-taking



Swim at Stravvana Bay, Isle of Bute


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."

Copyright © 2014 by World Open Water Swimming Association

A Thank You Gift from WOWSA

WOWSA is celebrating the
1-Year Anniversary of the monthly Open Water Swimming Magazine
by giving you a free copy of the anniversary issue.

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Open Water Swimming Magazine

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

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 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.

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.

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Open Water Swimming Event Sanctioning

World Professional Marathon Swimming Federation

Open Water Race Calendar

Coaches Education Program