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Monday, December 31, 2012

Arend Grondman, From Skipper To Swimmer

Roger Finch, a member of the Triple Crown of Open Water Swimming and the Half Century Club, lives in Johannesburg, South Africa.

1,263 miles from Cape Town and a large platoon of the South African extreme swimmers, ice swimmers, marathon swimmers and channel swimmers, Finch found it a tough task logistically to prepare for his channel swims in the land-locked Jo'burg, known as the largest city in the world not situated on a river, lake, or coastline.

"I looked to Cape Town," said the jovial Finch. "It's one of the most successful cities in the world for completing the English Channel, so I flew down to Cape Town for cold water ocean training."

He met up with his new swim pilot Arend Grondman who also guided Ned Denison on his recent False Bay crossing. "He was keen to help me achieve my dream of crossing the English Channel. Now Arend is an ex-smoker that has had a heart bypass and has never swum before so I did have a few doubts in my mind. But we did get on well.

Very soon, I was crossing from Robben Island to Cape Town regularly in all sorts of weather and ocean temperatures between 10-12ºC (50-53ºF). Due to the Cape's weather, it is not easy to predict when you can swim. But when there was a chance, I would contact Arend, jump on a plane and go. I swam about 14 crossings in less than a year to prepare for my trip to Dover. Never once was Arend too busy for me. He would drop work and all that he was doing to go out to sea with me. On one of my crossings in 2011 to 3 Anchor Bay, he said to my support team if I take Roger on another crossing I'll get in and swim it myself
."

Granted Arend had never swum in the sea and was 58 years old. But a promise was a promise.

Dial forward after Finch completed his English Channel swim in 2011 and became the 67th person to complete the Triple Crown of Open Water Swimming in 2012 with a circumnavigation of Manhattan Island and a Catalina Channel crossing as well as a 19.7 km solo Rottnest Channel Swim to boot.

"Just after Christmas, I asked Arend to pilot me on a Robben Island crossing as conditions were good," Finch explains. "When we got to Robben Island, he told me was going to do the crossing with me. I smiled and thought it was a joke. He didn't have any feed, but he said I was too fat and would use mine."

Soon, shock turned to pride. Surprise transformed to a profound understanding and mutual respect between two men who had been through 14 channel crossings. "I am so proud to say that Arend jumped in. He got down to swimming the channel. His first 3.5 km was good, but as the cold started to bite deep and the arms were tiring, his pace slowed. Along the way I showed him seals and dolphins and gave him encouragement. Close to the coast of Big Bay where the reef starts, the water temperature drops due to the turbulence and rough water welling up the deep cold water. This is the a place where most swimmers abandon their attempts. Arend's arms were very sore and tired by this point 7 kilometers into his crossing. We could see the beach and all the holiday makers suntanning, but our goal wasn't getting any closer.

He then looked at me and said, 'Roger, please bear with me. I will make this.'

When we did get to the beach, there were many excited people asking if we had swum from Robben Island, congratulating us. My face was wet so no one could tell that they were tears in my eyes.

My pilot, who had never said no to any one of my swims, had told me to trust him and had just made 2012 the most unbelievable swimming year in my life. I may have swum the Rottnest Channel, Manhattan Island and the Catalina Channel to complete the Triple Crown this year, but our swim from Robben Island on December 26th now puts them all in a shadow.
"

Copyright © 2012 by Open Water Source

1 comment:

Thank you very much for your interest in the world of open water swimming.

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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