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Friday, March 22, 2013

Why Do Healthy Athletes Die In The Open Water?

Like their counterparts throughout the world of triathlon, scientists at the University of Portsmouth in the United Kingdom looked into why more athletes die during the swim leg of triathlons compared to during the cycling or running legs. Professor Mike Tipton and his colleagues at the Extreme Environments Laboratory in the University of Portsmouth’s Department of Sport and Exercise Science also delved into the issue why these triathletes die during the competition, but not during training.

According to the information provided by the University of Portsmouth, 30 out of the 38 athlete who died in American triathlons between 2003 and 2011 did so during the swim leg. Professor Tipton suggests they may have died due to Automatic Conflict. Autonomic Conflict presents a significant risk when the body’s cold shock response and diving response are activated simultaneously. The two different responses work in opposite directions. While cold shock response increases the heart rate and leads to hyperventilation. It is generally caused by anxiety brought upon by competing in a mass participation race and an untrained, unprepared-for entry into cold water. The diving response slows the heart rate down in order to conserve oxygen. It is caused by getting the face wet, sustained holding of the breath, and water going into the nasal passage. As a result, the body receives two different physiological directives in conflict with one another, both intensified by the anxiety generated by the crowds of flaying swimmers around them in deep water. When the athletes do not breathe as they normally do, more water can enter their nasal package. The combination of these factors can in turn cause the heart to start abnormal rhythms and, ultimately, cardiac arrest.

Unlike mass starts at 10K runs or cycling century rides, the start of triathlons and open water swims can be chaotic and confusing for both the uninitiated and veterans. Splashes on all sides, swimming in an unknown direction buried in a large group of athletes hitting, grabbing and swimming crookedly is enough to startle any athlete. When cold water is added for the uninitiated, it can be especially terrifying.

This is why teams like Tower 26 and the Open Water Swim Club practice mass starts so athletes can become accustomed to the typical beach start chaos. But the ultimate advice for the newbie and veteran who prefers to experience a more enjoyable swim is to simply wait and stand aside for the Type A aggressive triathletes to beat on each other. “Just stand to the side and give the others a head start,” advises Steven Munatones to those who are more interested in completing a race instead of being competitive. “Start on the very fringes of the pack and avoid having to run in with everyone else. Even if you give others a 10-15 second head start, walk in at your own pace. Give yourself plenty of room without having to deal with swimmers banging into you. Your swim will be largely free of physical conflict if you are a bit patient. Everyone wants to avoid being zip-lined or elbowed, but in the middle of a large pack at the start of a swim or triathlon, contact is inevitable.”

Race directors can also help the situation. The World Open Water Swimming Association recommends that its sanctioned races avoid the first turn being a 90° turn close to the start. “When there is a 90° turn required early in an open water course, there is a significantly higher probability of contact,” says Munatones. “WOWSA recommends that courses are designed so the athletes can take the first turn at an angle. Something like 120° allows all the athletes to cruise around the buoys without a sudden change of direction like a 90° or 180° angled turn does. When athletes are required to make a sudden change of direction in the open water, they often use their legs in a scissors kick or breaststroke kick, and they take wider arm strokes than usual. These actions lead to knees, feet and elbows thrown in different directions, occasionally in the head or body of another athlete.”

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.

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

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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.

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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.
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