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Sunday, March 31, 2013

Swimming On The Professional Marathon Swimming Circuit

Part 1 is here. Part 2 is here.

Lexie Kelly from Long Beach, California explains first-hand about her second race as a professional marathon swimmer at the Maratón Acuática Internacional Santa Fe - Coronda in Santa Fe, Argentina.

"...After a full day, I began throwing up, became feverish, and had some of the worst stomach problems I've ever had. We took a van that afternoon with the Croatians and Macedonians to Santa Fe for the next race. I spent most of the week in bed where [my coach] Mike Collins brought me Gatorade and I slept almost every second of the day. But I forced myself to get a swim in at the pool. I couldn't eat; I had no appetite and I felt nauseous at the very thought of food. I started taking antibiotics which helped me gradually feel better by the end of the week.

There were 3 different pools in Santa Fe for us to train in. The organizers randomly selected which pool you swam.

I swam at one of the pools the majority of the time, but I wanted to see them all so went to the others at least once. The pool the Italians were given was one giant pool party. There were so many people in the pool with loud upbeat music, fans, and so much energy. It was a lot of fun getting to experience the ambiance. The pools were all very warm to swim in, but it was fine because it simulated the river's warm water temperature. There were a few local girls who found me on Facebook and brought me "good luck" presents at the pool. They were so sweet and really made me feel special.

I don't think many Americans visit their hometown. Unlike Rosario, there were tons of pre-race obligations to attend in Santa Fe. We went to several different cities along the course from Santa Fe to Coronda visiting different city officials, going to sponsor lunches, and even were asked to be in a parade before our sprint race in Coronda. I tried to stay in good spirits although I was still feeling terribly sick.

We were taken by bus, always escorted by police officers on bike or cars everywhere we went. There was even a police officer standing up on the bus with us en route to Coronda. At an official greeting at a Shell gas station, we were met with statuesque models in Shell outfits. They took us inside and we were offered snacks, coffee, water, and other goodies. Then we were told to get on one of the boats they had hitched to trailers with streamers and balloons. All of a sudden, we were in the middle of a big parade. They introduced us to the crowds.

People were lined up along the road and motorcycles and bicycles followed the floats down to the sprint race. By this time it was already 6:30 pm. We were told to put on our swimsuits and caps and walk down to the sprint race start which also was the finish of the marathon swim. The course wasn't explained in English so I asked Andrea Volpini to quickly explain it to me before it started. Since he has been going to these events for 8 years, I figured he knew. Just as he was finishing his explanation, the start horn went off so I just started swimming after the pack upstream. The current was very strong and I ended up cutting the buoys which were more like giant buckets very close. Too close it turned out. I smashed my head pretty hard on the buoys and also got caught in the anchor rope.

The sprint race was just for practice so I'm glad I got to see what the water was like. There was another ceremony where once again the stickers we handed out were treated like large denomination dollar bills. We had another late dinner at 10 pm and arrived back at the hotel just after midnight. Throughout the festivities, I greatly enjoyed getting to know the event directors who were so friendly and entertaining.

On race morning, we gathered our things and were taken by buses to the start. It was important to have all of our gear and feeding items because if you forgot something, you had to live with it. The start was right across from the party pool. Many spectators came to watch us suit up, grease up, and prepare for a long race. There was an introduction of the swimmers where we walked on a large stage so the crowd could see us.

The start was an upsteam swim again. After a bit, we crossed the river to head south. The pace was lovely and the pack stayed together for about 2 hours. Then one by one people trickled off until I swam solo for 7.5 hours. The crowd was unbelievable for a 57 km race. Despite swimming by myself, I can't remember a moment where I ever felt alone. Through the cities there were more people lining the shore than I ever imagined possible. Even when we swam past areas where there wasn't a town, there were party boats cheering us on with people dressed in feathers, capes, and costumes. And everywhere flags were being waved.

One of the girls who I met previously at the pool came out with her family and brought me a present. She made a handmade bracelet and wrote me a nice letter practicing her English. The support was greatly appreciated because I was still having major stomach problems. About 2 hours into the race, I alternately felt OK and then felt horrible. I couldn't keep anything solid down without feeling nauseous so I stuck to mostly Gatorade and my energy mix.

We thought we were closer than we really were at the end. The wind picked up and the boats from the lead pack had turned around and were headed back up river. This combination caused so much headwind and chop that it was very frustrating. The the finish felt the best. Whether you were first, in the middle, or last, the crowd treated us like a star. After the ceremony, they took us to eat at a Lions Club sort of deal where there was pizza and lots of unhealthy food.

But even after 57 km of swimming, I felt no sense of hunger. Instead, I was very very sick but I knew that I had to force myself to eat. When I got back to my room, I was probably in the worst condition I had been in. I slept it off and took the next day off where we ate at McDonald's since they were a sponsor of the event.

I went to see the doctor later that day. She was very helpful and gave me advice to eat white rice to absorb, cheese, and lots of fluids. Along with my stomach issue, I had developed a wrist injury that seemed to be a torn tendon from the catch in my stroke. One of the swimmers from Macedonia had had the same issue in the past so he loaned me his wrist brace. I started to feel a little better, but I still didn't have an appetite for the rest of the week. And with my wrist injury, I could only kick. But our send-off was great. On the last night we spent in Santa Fe, there was a huge presentation with sponsors, officials, awards, and lots of models and promo girls followed by a cocktail hour with a dance. It was a lot of fun, dancing, food, and Argentinian music.

The third race was only 25 minutes away so once again I traveled with the swimmers and coaches from Croatia and Macedonia by taxi to the bus station and then up to Parana. We had lunch when we arrived and escorted by Belen, the local athlete organizer, to the pool. This was the best pool we had swam in since we were in Argentina. It was very clean and not as hot as the other pools. It was also nice because it was a very short walking distance to the pool.

The week consisted of lunches and dinners with the fellow swimmers and lots of resting trying to recovery from a 57 km swim and knowing a 88 km marathon swim was coming up. It is mentally tough. Karla Šitić from Croatia and I got along very well so we spent a lot of time hanging out.

There was a very nice presentation of the swimmers again in Paraná, once again escorted out to the stage by models and promo girls. At every event they gave us nice shirts and hats to wear with sponsor logos so people would recognize us as athletes. There was a race briefing to go over the course and contingency plans for the long race.

That afternoon, they drove us up to the start of the race in the city of Hernandarias. I don't know if I would call it a city or even a town. It was very small. We would stay here the night before so we wouldn't have to wake up at the crack of dawn to take the 2-hour drive back to the start. They split us up into several different bungalo locations where Karla and I ended up sharing a bed. Luckily, our room had air conditioning while the coaches were in the living room without air conditioning. A volunteer asked us what we wanted to eat for breakfast and brought us back all of our requests from the store. Then we took naps and basically hung out not doing much of anything that day other than our medical check ups. Later, we had dinner and presentation of the athletes that night.

To be continued about the 88 km race.

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
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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...

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.
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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