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Monday, March 11, 2013

Anticipating And Dealing With The Cold

In the Mediterranean climate of Southern California where hundreds of outdoor pools dot the landscape, there are tens of thousands of swimmers who train daily under professional well-paid coaches.

Under the nearly constant California sunshine, athletes enjoy beautiful aquatic facilities and miles and miles of white sandy beaches. Well-appointed locker room facilities with plush carpeting, health food markets, physical therapy clinics, sports medicine physicians, and weekly competitions are numerous among a population of over 12 million.

Framed by San Diego in the south to Santa Barbara in the north, and Pasadena in the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west, not only are the swimming pools in nearly every Southern California community open from early morning to late at night, but the water that comes from the showers along the public beaches is warm. Lifeguards roam the beaches year-round and the many piers are crowded by multitudes on weekends.

The region has produced many Olympians, world champions and open water swimming stalwarts from Lynne Cox to Penny Dean, Forrest Nelson to John York. The land of aquatic abundance is quite dissimilar to the basics that the members of the Serpentine Swimming Club have.

While the Californians exercise with expensive weight-training equipment, the men of the Serps do push-ups and sit-ups on the hard pavement of Hyde Park. While the Californians deal with afterdrop in saunas after workouts, the Serps cold showers in a post-swim rinse from an outdoor spigot outside a spartan dressing room.

While shivering is the post-swim norm in California when the water drops down to 12-14ºC, the Serps do not even shiver after swimming in 34ºF (1ºC) water for up to 15 minutes. Their skin barely turns pink, although their epidermis is as cold as ice.

It as if the Californians and Serps are two different species of aquatic mammals. How did this split in the human DNA occur? Why does the physiological response to cold water differ so greatly between the American Left Coasters and the hardened Londoners? When the water temperature is 34ºF (1ºC), Toes In The Water is exactly what the Californians do while the Serps simply get on with it and do not even hesitate or hyperventilate as they walk into water that borders on turning solid.

The Californians talk of diets and nutrition, while the Serps are generally lean physical specimens whose physiques are the envy of society. The physiological ability for the Serps to not get hypothermic and not shiver after 1ºC workouts is naturally related to a gradual acclimatization to the cold, but our observation is that this stoic calmness in freezing water exhibited by the Serps must be related to their mindset of just get on with it. "Just get on with it" is a slogan and phrase that seemed to ooze from the very walls of the Serps locker room. Like sugar and milk, "just get on with it" seems to be an integral part of the tea enjoyed by the Serps.

"Just get on with it" sets high expectations that everyone is expected to take part. No questions asked, or excuses granted.

"Just get on with it" establishes a mindset that the elements simply do not present an obstacle to swimming. The phrase feels like the layman's hint of anticipatory thermogenesis. This scientific term was first described by Professor Tim Noakes of the University of Cape Town when he recorded Lewis Pugh's ability to raise his core body temperature by nearly 2°C in anticipation of entering the freezing water during his swims in Antarctica. Anticipatory thermogenesis or the creation of heat before an event is a phenomenon that had been frequently noted by several recent ice swimmers.

"Just get on with it" creates an ambiance that every member is part of a community with a commonly shared camaraderie.

With those high expectations and that stoic mindset buoyed by a friendly ambiance of heart-to-heart camaraderie, the cold-water toughness of the Serps is the result.

But the mindset of the Serps is augmented by the gradual cold water immersion they do from summer to fall to mid-winter. As Dr. Sakura Hingley explains, "They shiver less as they 'lose' their shivering response."

As International Ice Swimming Association founder Ram Barkai concurs, "The issue of raising body temp pre-swim has been found in most of our regular swimmers. I had my core body temp rising by 1ºC before [my] two Norway ice swims. It was measured using a capsule and a tracker. [But] we have swimmers that shiver more than others. We have noticed that experience helps a lot in controlling our shivers. We try and teach everyone to control their shivers, else it becomes an uncountable one and wastes a lot of energy. In our experience, if you keep focused after a very cold swim, try and breathe deep and remain calm, you can build up some control of shivering. I hardly ever shiver anymore regardless of cold, icy or other swims."

Similar to the Russians who recover from ice swims by rubbing snow on the skin, John Tierney takes an icy shower after getting out of the 1ºC water in the Serpentine (shown above in Hyde Park). This experience is what Barkai is currently exploring. "I am even more interested in the recovery phase than the ability to swim in ice water. The Russian experience [at the Russian Winter Swimming Championships in Tyumen, Siberia] taught us a lot. Wet recovery rather than dry recovery is important."

Swimming in freezing water is both a mind and body game and, from our observations, the Serps and the South Africans have perfected it.

But as Nick Adams, a recent inductee in the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame, explains, "There are hubs like this in various places in the world, where normal people regularly do what outsiders believe is superhuman and unique. Hundreds of swimmers from the Serpentine Swimming Club have been swimming large distances and times in near frozen water since the club was formed almost 150 years ago. We don’t think of it as a unique skill. I believe there are millions of people that could do these swims.

What the SSC is, is a collection of people swimming in very cold water because they enjoy it and want to do it. There’s no PR. There’s no publicising what they’re up to. There’s no ego. There’s no competition. There’s no prizes and recognition given or sought. They do it for the love of it. This is the sport of ice swimming in its most natural and pure form
."

Editor's Note: There are undoubtedly some Left Coasters who are as acclimated to the cold as the Serps are.

Copyright © 2013 by Open Water Swimming

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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

5:30

PM


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

9:00

AM


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

10:00

AM


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

10:20

AM


Christopher Guesdon (Australia) on Multidimensional Roles In The Sport

10:30

AM


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

10:50

AM


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

11:10

AM


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

11:30

AM


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)

12:30

PM


Coffee and Break

1:00

PM


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]


2:30

PM


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

2:50

PM


Sally Minty-Gravett (Jersey) on Motivating Swimmers

3:10

PM


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

3:30

PM


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

3:50

PM


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

5:00

PM


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]

6:30

PM


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

6:45

PM


Dinner

7:30

PM


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

9:00

AM


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

10:00

AM


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

10:20

AM


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

10:40

AM


Ned Denison (Ireland) on Swimming The World

11:00

AM


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

11:20

AM


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

12:00

PM


Survey distribution and group photo-taking

2:00

PM


Swim at Stravvana Bay, Isle of Bute






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."


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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