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Friday, February 15, 2013

World Swimming Majors, A Marathon Swimming Database

There is a self-reporting ranking system for marathon swimmers of all ages, abilities, backgrounds and nationalities called the World Swimming Majors.

This database enables individuals to post and see rankings by age, by nationality, by gender, by year and by location (e.g., English Channel, Catalina Channel, Cook Strait, Strait of Gibraltar).

The ranking system will continued to be tweaked and modified in order to create buzz and continue the building excitement in the marathon swimming world. Thousands of athletes still need to be added to the automated system from 1875 to the present.

The ranking system will also be expanded to include all open water swims of all distances.

The World Swimming Majors is an online virtual resource that uses a cumulative point system to calculate a global ranking of marathon swimmers for each calendar year.

Swimmers can upload their swims and times into the World Swimming Majors database to determine their relative standing in the marathon swimming world by age, gender and swim. That is, marathon swimmers around the world can subjectively rank themselves with others of the same age based on a variety of parameters. World Swimming Majors ranking system takes into consideration the following in a subjective weighted system:

• the swimmer's age
• the distance of the swim
• the water temperature
• currents
• the official time of each marathon swim

The database appropriately weighs some factors, but admittedly does not take into account every dynamic element that makes each marathon swim unique.

The World Swimming Majors database is an attempt to create a self-reporting ranking system that (1) compares athletes of all ages and genders across the world, (2) celebrates marathon swimmers of all backgrounds and abilities, and (3) promotes the sport of marathon swimming.

The initial idea for the annual competition was influenced by running's World Marathon Majors, an annual point competition that includes the Boston Marathon, London Marathon, Berlin Marathon, Chicago Marathon and New York City Marathon. Along the same lines, the World Swimming Majors was created in 2010 to advance the sport of marathon swimming, raise public and media awareness of its athletes and increase the level of interest in marathon swimming among the aquatic and endurance athletic communities. As open water swimmers experience, swimmers face more climatic variables than marathon runners which makes ranking marathon swimmers much more difficult. Furthermore, while marathon runs are standardized at 42 km (26 miles), marathon swims are defined as anything over 6.2 miles (10 km) in any body of water that can include oceans, lakes, rivers, bays, rowing basins, canals, channels, fjords, lagoons, reservoirs and estuaries. Currents, tidal flows, fluctuating air and water temperatures, marine life, ocean swells, wind speed and direction, and swimming at night all have a potential effect on the time and the potential success of marathon swims.

The World Swimming Majors online calculator determines a swimmer's ranking by weighing and compensating for significant differences between marathon swims. Each swimmer receives more points for doing a faster swim, but only relative to each particular swim. So an English Channel swim in 10 hours generates more points than an English Channel swim in 15 hours, but a Strait of Gibraltar crossing in 10 hours does not generate the same amount of points as in an English Channel swim in 10 hours. Also, adjustments for age, water temperature and currents (e.g. in the Manhattan Island Marathon Swim or Round Jersey Swim) are weighted in the calculations. It is important to note that the World Swimming Majors calculator does not attempt to take into account the following:

• myriad water conditions
• wind speed
• wave height
• number of competitors
• appearance of marine life
• tides


• conditions change during the course of marathon swims, even within each day and hour, and
• inaccurate, inconsistent or unavailable data make objective comparisons impossible.
• conditions change from swim to swim even on the same course
• some factors in open water swimming are difficult to quantify (e.g., the appearance of a shark or the sting of a Portuguese Man o War or swimming at night or swimming against a tidal flow for 1 or 2 or 3 hours).

As a result, the World Swimming Majors system is not be perfect and is purposefully introduced to the global marathon swimming community for discourse and debate. The database includes many of the better-known marathon swims in the world. The swims are geographically distributed around the world and present a variety of challenges to the marathon swimmer – from jellyfish and sharks to tidal flows and cold water...and distance (in statute miles or kilometers). The World Swimming Majors include the following swims:

1. Cadiz Freedom Swim, Cape Town, South Africa (7.5 km or 4.7 miles)
2. Catalina Channel, California, U.S.A. (33 km or 20 miles)
3. Clean Half Marathon Swim, Hong Kong (15 km or 9.3 miles)
4. Cook Strait, New Zealand (26 km or 16.2 miles)
5. Ederle Swim, New York-to-New Jersey, U.S.A. (28.2 km or 17.5 miles)
6. English Channel, England-to-France (34 km or 21 miles)
7. Jarak-Sabac Marathon Swim, Serbia (18.7 km or 11.6 miles)
8. Faros Marathon Swim, Croatia (16 km or 9.9 miles)
9. Ijsselmeerzwemmarathon, Netherlands (21 km or 13 miles)
10. International Self-Transcendence Marathon Swim, Lake Zurich, Switzerland (26.4 km or 16.4 miles)
11. Isle of Jersey Circumnavigation, Jersey (70 km or 43.5 miles)
12. Jersey-to-France (29 km or 18 miles)
13. Kalamata-Koroni Marathon, Messiniakos Gulf, Greece (30 km or 16.5 miles)
14. Lake Ontario, Niagara-on-the-Lake to Toronto (minimum 50 km or 31-mile course)
15. Lake Tahoe, California lengthwise (35.4 km or 22 miles)
16. Manhattan Island Marathon Swim, New York, U.S.A. (45.9 km or 28.5 miles)
17. Maui Channel, Hawaii, U.S.A. (15.3 km or 9.5 miles)
18. Molokai Channel, Hawaii, U.S.A. (41.8 km or 26 miles)
19. North Channel, Ireland-Scotland (30 km or 18.6 miles)
20. Pennock Island Challenge, Alaska, U.S.A. (13.2 km or 8.2 miles)
21. Rottnest Channel Swim, Perth, Australia (19.7 km or 12.2 miles)
22. Santa Barbara Channel, California, U.S.A. (minimum 30 km or 19-mile course)
23. Strait of Gibraltar, Spain-Morocco (minimum 18.5 km or 11.5-mile course)
24. Swim Across The Sound, Connecticut, U.S.A. (25 km or 15.5 miles)
25. Swim Around Key West, Florida, U.S.A. (20.1 km or 12.5 miles)
26. Tampa Bay Marathon Swim, Florida, U.S.A. (38.6 km or 24 miles)
27. Traversee Internationale du lac St-Jean, Quebec, Canada (32 km or 20 miles)
28. Tsugaru Channel, Japan (20 km or 12.4 miles)
29. World 25 km Championships (site determined each year) (25 km or 15.5 miles)
30. Boston Light Swim, Boston, U.S.A. (12.8 km or 8 miles)

All swims must be done without a wetsuit and based on the traditional rules of the marathon swimming world (i.e., no touching individuals or objects, clearing the water of one’s own ability) unless there are some local differences (e.g., use of pace swimmers or swim streamer).

Historical swims (i.e., swims done in past) are acceptable and can be inputted based on generally accepted documented proof. This way, the global open water swimming community can see how greats from the past (e.g., Lynne Cox, Penny Dean, Greta Andersen, Matthew Webb, Paul Asmuth, Philip Rush, Claudio Plit, Abou-Heif) would rank if they all swam in the current era.

Copyright © 2013 by World Open Water Swimming Association

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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.

2014 Global Open Water Swimming Conference Agenda

Friday, 19 September



Welcome Reception at Mount Stuart House, Isle of Bute, Scotland

Documentary films shown throughout the reception:

Blue Journey-Amerika Samoa – Stronger Together: The Waterman’s Way
(film by Bruckner Chase)

Dancing With The Water, Crossing of Lake Pontchartrain
(film by Wayne Ewing about Matthew Moseley's Lake Pontchartrain crossing)

Bering Strait Swim Chukotka - Alaska
(film by Admiral Konstantin Sidenko about the relay between Russia and Alaska)

The Clean Swim – Hong Kong to Macau
(film about Simon Holiday's Pearl River Delta crossing)

Saturday, 20 September



Registration and Coffee at Mount Stuart House, Isle of Bute, Scotland



Keynote Speech:
Colleen Blair (Scotland) on The History of Scottish Swimming



Christopher Guesdon (Australia) on Multidimensional Roles In The Sport



Colin Hill (England) on Recent Explosion in UK Open Water



Shelley Taylor-Smith (Australia) on The Feminine Code of Achievement - How a Lady from Down Under Revolutionized Professional Marathon Swimming



Simon Murie (England) on Open Water Swimming Holidays: How A New Sector Was Created Within The Travel Industry



Swimming The Oceans Seven
A round table discussion moderated by:
Kevin Murphy (England), with Stephen Redmond (Ireland), Anna-Carin Nordin (Sweden),
Darren Miller (USA), Adam Walker (England), Kimberley Chambers (New Zealand)



Coffee and Break



World Open Water Swimming Awards Luncheon:
with co-hosts Shelley Taylor-Smith (Australia) and Steven Munatones (USA)

Pádraig Mallon (Ireland), 2013 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year

Olga Kozydub (Russia), 2013 World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year

Bering Strait Swim, 2013 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year

Honoring: Vladimir Chegorin, Maria Chizhova, Elena Guseva, Ram Barkai, Jack Bright, Oksana Veklich, Aleksandr Jakovlevs, Matías Ola, Henri Kaarma, Toomas Haggi, Nuala Moore, Anne Marie Ward, Toks Viviers, Melissa O’Reilly, Ryan Stramrood, Cristian Vergara, Craig Lenning, Rafal Ziobro, Andrew Chin, Jackie Cobell, James Pittar, Paolo Chiarino, Mariia Yrjö-Koskinen, Ivan Papulshenko, Zdenek Tlamicha, Zhou Hanming, Oleg Adamov, Andrei Agarkov, Alekseev Semen, Tatiana Alexandrova, Roman Belan, Elena Semenova, Alexander Brylin, Afanasii Diackovskii, Vladimir Nefatov, Evgenii Dokuchaev, Oleg Docuckaev, Roman Efimov, Dmitrii Filitovich, Olga Filitovich, Victor Godlevskiy, Olga Golubeva, Alexei Golubkin, Alexander Golubkin, Alexandr Iurkov, Oleg Ivanov, Pavel Kabakov, Eduard Khodakovskiy, Aleksandr Komarov, Aleksandr Kuliapin, Andrey Kuzmin, Irina Lamkina, Vladimir Litvinov, Andrey Mikhalev, Victor Moskvin, Nikolay Petshak, Sergey Popov, Vladimir Poshivailov, Grigorii Prokopchuk, Dmitrii Zalka, Natalia Seraya, Viacheslav Shaposhnikov, Olga Sokolova, Andrei Sychev, Alexei Tabakov, and Nataliia Usachaeva [represented by Admiral Konstantin Sidenko and Nuala Moore]



Alexey Salmin Pavlovich (Russia) and Dmitry Dragozhilov (Russia)
on the 2016 Winter Swimming World Championships [film]



Sally Minty-Gravett (Jersey) on Motivating Swimmers



Dmitry Blokhin (Russia) and Aleksei Veller (Russia)
on the First World Ice Swimming Championships [film]



Matthew Moseley (USA)’s Dancing With The Water, Crossing of Lake Pontchartrain [film]



Simon Holliday (England) and Doug Woodring (Hong Kong)’s The Clean Swim – Hong Kong to Macau 2014 [film]



International Swimming Hall of Fame (ISHOF)
and International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame (IMSHOF)

IMSHOF Induction Ceremonies and Dinner
with co-hosts Shelley Taylor-Smith (Australia) and Steven Munatones (USA).

Recognition of International Swimming Hall of Fame honorees:

  • Elizabeth Fry (USA), IMSHOF Honour Swimmer

  • Vojislav Mijić (Serbia), IMSHOF Honour Swimmer

  • James Anderson (USA), IMSHOF Honour Administrator

  • Dr. Jane Katz (USA), IMSHOF Honour Administrator

  • Indonesian Swimming Federation Open Water Committee (Indonesia), IMSHOF Honour Organisation

  • Melissa Cunningham (Australia), Irving Davids – Captain Roger Wheeler Award by the International Swimming Hall of Fame and IMSHOF Honour Swimmer

  • Sandra Bucha (USA), ISHOF Honor Open Water Swimmer and IMSHOF Honour Swimmer

  • Jon Erikson (USA), ISHOF Honor Open Water Swimmer and IMSHOF Honour Swimmer [represented by Sandra Bucha]



International Swimming Hall of Fame (ISHOF) Introduction Video.
Welcome speech by host Shelley Taylor-Smith (Australia)






International Swimming Hall of Fame (ISHOF)
Induction Ceremonies and Dinner with host Shelley Taylor-Smith (Australia)

Recognition of International Swimming Hall of Fame honorees:

  • Mercedes Gleitze (England)
    ISHOF Honor Pioneer Swimmer and IMSHOF Honour Swimmer
    [represented by daughter Doloranda Pember]

  • Dale Petranech (USA)
    ISHOF Honor Contributer and IMSHOF Honour Administrator

  • Claudio Plit (Argentina)
    ISHOF Honor Open Water Swimmer and IMSHOF Honour Swimmer
    [represented by Shelley Taylor-Smith]

  • Judith van Berkel-de Nijs (Netherlands)
    ISHOF Honor Open Water Swimmer and IMSHOF Honour Swimmer
    [represented by Niek Kloots]

  • George Young (Canada)
    ISHOF Honor Pioneer Swimmer and IMSHOF Honour Swimmer
    [represented by the Catalina Channel Swimming Federation]

  • David Yudovin (USA)
    ISHOF Honor Open Water Swimmer and IMSHOF Honour Swimmer

Sunday, 21 September



Registration and coffee at Mount Stuart House, Isle of Bute, Scotland



Nuala Moore (Ireland) on The Mindset of 1000m at 0ºC



Admiral Konstantin Sidenko (Russia)’s Bering Strait Swim Chukotka - Alaska in 2013 [film]



Ned Denison (Ireland) on Swimming The World



Bruckner Chase (USA)’s Blue Journey-Amerika Samoa
Stronger Together: The Waterman’s Way



Rok Kerin (Slovenia) on Lifestyle Benefits From Open Water Swimming



Survey distribution and group photo-taking



Swim at Stravvana Bay, Isle of Bute


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."

Copyright © 2014 by World Open Water Swimming Association

A Thank You Gift from WOWSA

WOWSA is celebrating the
1-Year Anniversary of the monthly Open Water Swimming Magazine
by giving you a free copy of the anniversary issue.

Open Water Swimming Magazine Anniversary Issue
File Size: 13MB


Download the file to your computer, and then right-click to extract the magazine which is inside the zip folder. The magazine is in PDF format.

CLICK HERE to download your free copy now.

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 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...

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 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:

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


Open Water Swimming Event Sanctioning

World Professional Marathon Swimming Federation

Open Water Race Calendar

Coaches Education Program