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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Calm, Cool And Collected In The Gorgeous Galápagos

Bob Placak went on a family vacation to the Galápagos Islands (Archipiélago de Colón). "The ocean was so beautiful. These islands are magnificent. With so much wildlife on land and in the turquoise blue waters, the Galápagos are a paradise, especially for open water swimmers."

During one of the excursions to Espanola Island, Placak was enraptured by the gorgeous water and asked his guide how far their boat was moored offshore. "About a mile and a half," was the answer. With his goggles in hand, the founder of the RCP Tiburon Mile told the guide of his background as a world-class swimmer. "I asked her all the requisite questions about tides, currents and marine life.

I asked her about sharks and if there have been any attacks. She said yes to both questions but such attacks were indeed rare
."

But the allure of swimming in one of the most gorgeous marine environments in the world was too strong to ignore for the Californian. "I started out and the water was so crystal clear. I could see about 75 feet down. I was having a great time. I was escorted by 10-12 penguins and a few sea lions while giant turtles, stingrays and other brightly colored tropical fish swam beneath me. After a mile, I figured that I would push the pace and get a good final half-mile workout in.

As I started to get going, I came up on a reef. In the shallower water at a distance of 35”, I saw a 7-foot Galápagos shark. It was moving slowly. I stopped. And then another appeared. I stayed calm and kept my eyes on them, but they started moving erratically. Ahead of me, behind me, then disappearing and reappearing. I knew I was in a tough position. But I managed to stay calm and knew that I was not going to go down without a fight. But the two sharks kept moving around me, fast. Their fins were out of the water, and then the next moment, they were diving and swimming, circling around me
."

As Placak was eggbeatering vertically, he kept his eyes glued to the sharks as they darted in and around the reef and popping up in different locations. Also very importantly, he remained calm, cool and collected, analyzing the situation instead of panicking. “About ½ mile from the boat I knew it could be what would seem to be the longest half-mile swim of my life. I was about a mile offshore, so that was out of the question. So I started to wave to the boat in the hope that maybe, someone on the boat was watching. I didn't know, but I had to get help fast while I stayed calm and watching those sharks."

In fact, the tour guide Tanya Helmig never let her eyes wander from Placak once he left shore. Placak's wife Graciela who witnessed her husband waving without splashing the water around him recalled, "Tanya was on her binoculars the whole time Bob was in the water. Once she saw Bob waving his arms, she radioed to the boat and they immediately sent a boat to intervene."

And it was just in time to resolve Placak's predicament out in the open. "It was just me and those two [sharks]. There could have been more, but I didn't see any. I knew this could be the fight of my life. I didn't know when or how or what I would have to do - punch or kick. I realized that I could get hurt, but this was not going to be the end of me. It was like walking down a dark street at night and suddenly you turn a corner and meet two thugs. Well, I had swum into the territory of these two sharks. I was the visitor."

Placak did the right thing by stopping and going vertical, by treading water. He became larger relative to the shark when he shifted from the horizontal position swimming freestyle to the vertical position doing eggbeater. As experts recommend, he kept his wits about him and never took his eyes off the sharks. His heart rate decreased - rather than increasing in a flight of panic - when he stopped swimming to calmly assess the situation. Fortunately, his guides were also diligent and immediately came to his help. "They got to me within 5 minutes and I hopped in that boat and they drove me to shore. In retrospect, it was quite a lifetime experience."

But the shark encounter was not the end of his ocean-faring vacation. "Later that afternoon, I was the first one in our dive. I didn't want this experience to stop me from enjoying what the Galápagos offers. The boat, The Integrity, and the guide Tanya are so wonderful. As a competitive swimmer, I have traveled the world, swimming, site seeing and watching all kinds of competitions, but the Galápagos with their history, mammals and scenery, are truly something unique."

Copyright © 2013 by World Open Water Swimming Asociation

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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.

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...
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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.
LEARN MORE...

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.

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:
https://www.worldopenwaterswimmingassociation.com/preview-open-water-swimming-almanac


The trends are very clear.
The tide is rising for open water swimming.

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Open Water Race Calendar

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