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Monday, March 18, 2013
Dan O'Connor Escapes The Judge To Go Open Water
Ashley Twichell, like O'Connor an upstate New Yorker who went to college in the state of North Carolina, interviews him on his emerging interest in open water swimming.
Twichell: What was your first open water race?
O'Connor: My first race was called Escape the Judge in Skaneateles, New York. It’s a 1-mile race with extremely clear water and a low-key, fun race. I really enjoyed this experience, and was therefore really excited to be invited to the 2010 Open Water National Select Camp. I figured open water was a new calling.
Twichell:: How did the camp go?
O'Connor: The camp was great It was at California State University Long Beach, right before 2010 USA Swimming Open Water National Championships. Even though I participated in the Skaneateles race, I was very inexperienced, and was pretty close-minded about open water. I really had no idea what to expect. I was so used to pool swimming, and the constant conditions of lane lines, clear water, and no physical contact. However, I was beyond lucky to have Fran Crippen as the camp mentor. He stayed with us throughout the entire camp, practicing with us and giving presentations, even though he also had to compete in Nationals (which were also the World Championships Trials for USA Swimming) in just a couple of days. He gave us invaluable tips that only an experienced, talented veteran could provide. So, by the end of the camp, I was really excited to compete in the 10K at Nationals.
Twichell: Tell us about the race itself.
O'Connor: It started off really well. But I was a complete rookie. The thing that stands out most in my memory is how physical it was. Right from the beginning, I was getting hit and thrown around. I was not ready for this [kind of] open water at all. Around the 5K, I was in the back of the lead pack, and giving it my all trying to stay with them. Slowly but surely, I began to feel myself dying. Not only did I lose the lead pack, but people began passing me frequently. At around 6K, I was so physically and mentally exhausted that I decided to pull out of the race. I had an internal argument with myself about whether or not to do this, but in my gut knew I could not last another four kilometers.
Twichell: As you were being brought back to shore on the boat, what was going through your mind? O'Connor: My biggest emotion was relief that I was out of the race. I didn’t have any regrets, because I knew I honestly couldn’t have swum any farther. Afterwards, though, I was disappointed that I hadn’t been able to finish, and that it certainly hadn’t gone as I had hoped or planned.
Twichell: So you were scheduled to compete in the 5K two days later. With the 10K race not going so well, what made you decide to compete, rather than just calling it quits?
O'Connor: I knew I hadn’t trained for a 10K, and knew that I had hung in there pretty well for 6 of the 10 kilometers. I had a lot more confidence going into a 5K race (one hour) as compared to a 10K race (two hours).
Twichell: How did you do in the 5K?
O'Connor: In this race, I stayed laid back for a little while. I was in the pack right behind the lead pack for most of the race, and then at the 3K, I felt a burst of energy and decided to switch gears. I passed a lot of people, and ended up finishing 11th overall, the 8th American. This was a MUCH more enjoyable experience than the 10K.
Twichell: What did you take home from the entire experience? The camps, the races, and open water in general?
O'Connor: Even though I had a really tough experience in the 10K, the much more enjoyable experience of the 5K made me walk away from the trip wanting to continue on with open water. I loved how it was so purely race-oriented, and so different from pool swimming.
Twichell: You decided to give the 10K another shot in 2011 in Ft. Lauderdale, and then again in 2012 in Ft. Myers, both at the USA Swimming National Open Water National Champinships. How did these two races go?
O'Connor: In both races, I kind of misjudged my pacing again in the 10K. I exerted too much energy in the first half of the race. However, I did finish both of these races, but not as high as I would have liked. The 5K in 2012 was the first time everything actually clicked for me in an open water race where I placed third. This race was different from the others in that I actually stayed in the middle of the lead pack for the race, and didn’t let myself stress that I wasn’t right at the front, or freak out if someone passed me. I kept reminding myself that this was an hour-long race, and I had plenty of time to make my move. If something didn’t go as I had planned, I kept repeating to myself that this was the norm for open water races.
Twichell: You are an accomplished pool swimmer; an Olympic Trial qualifier in multiple events, and an NCAA All-American honorable mention. What drives you to also compete in open water?
O'Connor: I feel like I am a lot more of a distance swimmer than the pool allows for; the farther the distance, the better I get. However, I have never gone into a 10K with a great strategy. Therefore, I know that I can be so much better than I have shown so far; this makes me want to continue trying, until I have the race I know I can.
Twichell: What are the biggest lessons you have learned from your open water experiences?
O'Connor: Knowing that I have to pace myself is definitely the biggest one. Also, to take advantage of drafting, and knowing I don’t need to be at the front of the pack, especially in the beginning. In fact, this is actually detrimental for me. Also, to not stress or worry when unexpected things happen, or something goes wrong; realizing that this is happening to everybody, and is just the nature of open water.
Twichell: What advice do you have for young swimmers who are thinking about trying an open water competition?
O'Connor: It is definitely worth it to give it a shot; for me, open water is so much more engaging and stimulating than a pool race. The majority of people I know who have given open water an honest shot have grown to love it. In addition, there is a lot of potential for mobility and moving up in the open water scene.
Copyright © 2013 by Open Water Swimming
2014 Global Open Water Swimming Conference
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
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 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.
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 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.
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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Preview the Open Water Swimming Almanac:
The trends are very clear.
The tide is rising for open water swimming.