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Tuesday, January 15, 2013
Parenting In The Open Water - Part 2
The question frequently comes up in local races how young the youngest competitors can be. Is 12 years acceptable? What about 11? 10? 9? 8?
Does the minimum age requirement change if the conditions get rough or the water cold?
Is it the child's die-hard goal to do a certain open water swim? Are they capable? If they are encouraged early in life to do swims, will they enjoy it and will continue with the sport?
Opinions vary. There is always the precocious child, the rare exception in the athletic world, and the motivated child who is well-trained and capable in the open water. These young individuals deserve every right to realize their dreams of competing in the open water. But there are also ambitious parents who push their children where others would not. Other parents are simply accommodating to their child's wishes and are supporting the child as best they can while balancing safety and their own worries.
Sid Cassidy, one of the most knowledgeable and experienced open water swimmers and coaches in the world, explains well with first-hand experience. "I am not usually in favor or parents pushing their kids too early or too far in open water water events, but I do remember our son Quinn swimming his first mile at the age of 6 in Atlantic City. At that time, the famous Yates Swim was done on an incoming tide so he could have floated to the finish in 25 minutes.
Quinn was a very good young bodysurfer at that time and we finished together (190th and 191st. That day, the jellyfish got so thick in the middle of the channel that I ended up swimming backstroke with a trudgeon kick to stay just ahead of young Quinn who was not happy with the jellies even though they were not really stinging us ... just annoying little clear ones everywhere.
He has done a number of races since then and never really complained, but it was easy to see distance was not his forte and that he was navigationally challenged. Perhaps that is why I was very proud to see him make some strong tactical moves to win his first ocean race earlier this month at the ISHOF Rough Water Swim.
I think overcoming the challenges that any open water swim offers can serve as a microcosm of the challenges our kids face in life. Every time they step into that unknown it's a bit scary, but coming out of it - win, lose or draw - it's up to us as parents to acknowledge that they've grown a bit stronger because of that experience."
Parenting In The Open Water - Part 1 is posted here.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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