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Saturday, November 3, 2012
Sandra Denius' Dream Come True In The Open Water
It is a heartwarming story. One that begins in her childhood.
Denius grew up in the Alleghany Highlands in the state of Virginia known for its breathtaking mountain scenery and charming towns.
"Most swimming [when I was a child] was done in the open water so open water swimming always made sense to me. I was always comfortable in lakes and rivers even though I was on more than one occasion chased by a swimming snake and had my toes nibbled on by fish in the lake.
Marine life never stunted her love for the water. "My dad, an avid swimmer, encouraged me and my siblings to swim. We always thought it was fun to see how many we could do. When we were in the lake, it was a challenge to see if we could swim from A to B. Sometimes my dad would let me jump out of the boat pretty far out in the lake and swim to shore."
However much Denius swam in her childhood, she had never heard about open water swimming until she moved to college at Virginia Commonwealth University. "I was pretty naïve about a lot of things. While life guarding at the YMCA, I was fascinated and inspired by Missie Hersey who used to swim nonstop during my entire shift as she trained for the Manhattan Island Marathon Swim. I thought she was amazing. Missie, along with John Ferrell, encouraged me to train for and enter my first swim, the Great Chesapeake Bay Swim in 1993. I enjoyed it so much that I finished the 7.5-mile Potomac River Swim in 1994. In 1995 I was the first woman at the Death Valley 5K at Clemson, South Carolina. I wouldn’t have done any of the swims if it weren’t for John who always made things fun with his great enthusiasm and good spirit."
But Virginia Commonwealth University disbanded its swim team just before Denius arrived on campus so she ended up swimming by herself with an occasional masters swim team workout. "I made a few great friends at college, but spent a lot of time swimming, running and biking by myself." Her training gave her a lot of time to think and explore.
And when she first saw Lake Moomaw, her dream came to her.
"Lake Moomaw is one of the most beautiful lakes you will ever see. I’ve always enjoyed swimming there so after I became aware that there were people who swam these types of races I thought it would be a perfect venue. In 1997 I wrote a letter - which I still have - proposing a 1- and 3-mile swim at Lake Moomaw. I never got a response. I felt like no one understood my passion for swimming. So I just moved on to other things keeping a file with my ideas for the Lake Moomaw race."
She never gave up on her dream.
"I thought I could revisit the idea of the Lake Moomaw at some point [in my life]. I have moved numerous times and would get rid of things with each move, but I could never bear to throw out the file with my proposal and ideas for the Lake Moomaw swim. I kept hoping someday..."
But her dreams remain quiet until a career opportunity led to her passion pouring out in a job interview. "I didn't tell anyone of this dream until until recently when I told a room full of people during an interview for the position of Blueway Special Projects Coordinator, Alleghany Highlands." The interviewers posed a question about how best to develop and promote the lakes, rivers and streams of the area and how to work in tandem with other tourism-related projects. "I talked about my ideas for various outdoor events. I thought it was a perfect opportunity to convince people that an open water swim event at Lake Moomaw is a terrific idea...I got the job."
Denius is enjoying a lot of momentum in the area with plenty of support from her friends and neighbors. It is truly a dream come true. "I feel so excited and happy. Five years ago, I moved back to the area with my three children, who also love to swim. There are a lot of great things are happening. But none of this would be possible without the Alleghany Foundation and The Alleghany Highlands Chamber of Commerce and tourism which are committed to making positive changes for our community and local businesses.
The Alleghany Highlands Blueway Project is a significant marketing initiative that will accentuate our lakes, rivers, and streams, lending credibility to the Alleghany Highlands as the premier destination for outdoor enthusiasts. The swim will present one of our most beautiful assets of the area and people will discover the hidden gem that is the Alleghany Highlands."
Dave Holland, a local U.S. Masters Swimming representative, visited Lake Moomaw and agreed that the lake is an ideal location for the Lake Moomaw Swim, a 1-mile event that will take place on August 3rd, 2013 amid the beautiful mountain landscape.
Denius' dream, 15 years in the making, will be followed throughout 2013. Stay tuned.
Copyright © 2012 by Open Water Source
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
Swim Across the English Channel...
Who else is looking for a qualified open water swimming coach to help them swim across the English Channel?Chloë McCardel is a 6-time English Channel Swimmer who inspires and instructs. Access featured content by Chloë in this month's issue of the Open Water Swimming Magazine. Published monthly by WOWSA, the Open Water Swimming Magazine is a digital, interactive publication made available exclusively to WOWSA members. See what you've been missing! Become a WOWSA member today!
Open Water Swimming Magazine
Open Water Swimming MagazineThe 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.
WOWSA Member Benefits include 12 issues of the Open Water Swimming Magazine, the annual 276-page Open Water Swimming Almanac, a free listing in Sponsor My Swim, outstanding product discounts from FINIS, an entry in Openwaterpedia and more...
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 SwimmingAn 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.
But the farmers almanac was just one example among many.
There are, of course, many different kinds of almanacs.
In fact, there is even one for open water swimming...
Preview the Open Water Swimming Almanac:
The trends are very clear.
The tide is rising for open water swimming.