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Friday, December 21, 2012

Dieter Loeliger, A Unique Man With A Remarkable Record

"Every swim is hard and no fun," recalls Dieter Loeliger who swims the annual Rottnest Channel Swim in order to keep fit physically and mentally.

"I was an asthmatic, still am, the swim can help with my asthma to a degree."

Since the inception of the race in 1991, more than 16,500 relay swimmers and over 1,000 solo swimmers have crossed the Rottnest Channel. But none older than the Western Australian who will be 80 years old for the 2013 event.

A celebrated and prolific member of the Half Century Club, Loeliger has done the 19.7 km Rottnest Channel Swim 14 times. It is a record that is remarkable for anyone, but entirely unique for a man entering his 9th decade on earth. It is one thing to swim daily in a pool, but to be nearing 80 years old and swimming a rough water 19.7 km ocean swim off the coast of Western Australia is an entirely different achievement of grit, determination and a healthy lifestyle.

At the awards presentations in 2006, he was asked if he would do a solo again. He said that unless everyone sang Happy Birthday, he would not. Several thousand people obliged and he has continued his remarkable streak:

- Finished in 8:04 in 2012 at 79 years
- Finished in 9:02 in 2011 at 78 years
- Finished in 9:21 in 2010 at 76 years
- Finished in 6:18 in 2007 at 74 years
- Finished in 7:45 in 2006 at 72 years
- Finished in 6:06 in 2005 at 71 years
- Finished in 6:30 in 2004 at 71 years
- Finished in 8:31 in 2003 at 70 years
- Finished in 6:49 in 2002 at 69 years
- Finished in 6:08 in 2001 at 68 years
- Finished in 5:55 in 2000 at 67 years
- Finished in 6:51 in 1999 at 65 years
- Finished in 6:54 in 1998 at 65 years
- Finished in 6:07 in 1996 at 62 years

Fellow Australian marathon swimmer Chris Palfrey recalls two early instances where their paths initially crossed.

"During my first Rottnest Channel Swim in 2000, halfway across the channel, the steering on my escort boat failed. After spending a fair bit of time treading water hoping they could fix the problem which they eventually didn't, the choices were either end my swim or try to hook up with another boat. Even though I had lost a lot of time, I was determined to finish. It was decided that I would swim over to another boat, which I did. I explained my dilemma and the skipper said he was fine to guide both swimmers. He left the kayaker to guide us for a few minutes whilst he went to my boat to pick up my drinks.

I had no idea who the other swimmer was. He was slower than I, but he had a really efficient and steady stroke and ground out the kilometres like a machine. We swam side by side for the next 2½ hours. And whilst we didn’t exchange a single word, we seemed to develop a bond, which is unique to open water swimmers.

At the 18 km mark, my boat reappeared. The coast guard had towed them to Rotto, where with the right tools, they were easily able to fix the steerage problem. After a quick chat and getting my drinks back, I rejoined my proper crew. The other swimmer, meanwhile had got a lead of about 50 meters on me. Now close to the finish, I was determined to catch him back up and thought I would easily do so. But whether it was the cold I was feeling or muscle stiffness, there was no way I could bridge that gap, and he ended up finishing 1½ minutes ahead of me. As I met up with him at the finish, it was only then I found out his name (Dieter), and very surprisingly that he was 67 years of age.

The next time we met, Dieter was in the 2001 swim. We didn’t really bump into him on race day, as there are very large numbers of people in this race, competing as solos and teams. The day after the race, we hired bicycles, and decided to have a leisurely day riding around the island. With 30 plus kilometres of undulating hills in the Perth heat, it was anything but leisurely toward the end, although the scenery of the bays was worth the effort.

We stopped at the cape at the very western edge of the island, hoping to see some whales or other marine life and who should we see arrive a couple of minutes after us? Dieter! He had had another strong swim the day before and was now on a jaunt round the island. Just what you would do at age 68, the day after a 20K swim. We finished the ride with him, stopping here and there for a swim in the bays, and have been friends ever since
."

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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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


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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.

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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There are, of course, many different kinds of almanacs.

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The trends are very clear.
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