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Wednesday, April 10, 2013
Differences Between Men And Women In The Open Water
As fitness and endurance sports becomes increasingly popular among the Baby Boom generation, we find the exploits of working adults and retired people to be beyond inspirational and truly heroic. Men and women, many with no previous athletic background, perform extraordinary feats in fresh and salt water under warm and cold, tranquil and rough conditions.
In this work of passion, we encounter hundreds of accomplished female athletes who attempt and complete all kinds of marathon swims, channel swims, relay swims, ice swims, extreme swims, stage swims, triathlons, ultra-endurance events and other spectacular endeavors.
But we are frequently reminded of one major difference between men and women in our sport. It is said that Men Are From Mars and Woman Are From Venus, but in this area, the genders seem to be in different galaxies. That is, when we either have information or report on a women's plans or attempts, we are occasionally asked to either keep this information confidential until the attempt is successful or to remove the information from our online properties (i.e., the public realm). Such requests are received nearly weekly - and it is our strict policy to adhere to their wishes.
These requests come from women of all ages, abilities and cultures. Curiously and conversely, these kinds of requests do not come from men. The few times that we can recall confidentiality is requested or that we are asked to remove information from the public realm from a man is when he is swimming with a team that includes a woman or he is paired with a woman on a duo swim.
We were deeply curious why this difference exists as it is one of the very few clear, major differences between men and women in the open water swimming world.
Out of curiosity, we asked over 100 female swimmers, triathletes and endurance athletes living across 5 continents in dozens of countries for their input, opinions and reasoning on these questions:
· Why do some women not want anyone to know about their attempts ahead of time?
· Why is there a need to keep these swims quiet?
· Why do some only want their swims publicly revealed upon success?
· Are there specific reasons some women make this request while such requests rarely come from men?
Their insight was fascinating. This is only a small sampling of the responses received. All replies were anonymously provided:
· "...My original thought was that for some reason women must feel that it is some kind of jinx to promote the swim before the attempt. Of course that is totally irrational, but that was my first thought..."
· "...I know some women who do not want to talk about their plans because it will jinx it..."
· "...personally, it means less pressure. Also, I found something truly delightful in surprising folks with my swims. It makes the challenge a little more interesting...and it will be fun to announce [my swims] the day before or after the swim. Perhaps its a confidence issue too. I'd like to think I can achieve my goals, but my experience so far with the ocean reminds me that Mother Nature is always boss..."
Theme: Unprecedented Achievement
· "...I have a swim I am asking to keep confidential because it is a first. A good friend made the suggestion and I was able to get my A Team to help out. I will let you know about it when I succeed. I am pretty excited, but I don't want anyone to jump my first..."
· "...this is prevalent in the corporate sector too, at least in Australia where women don't want other women to know if they're applying for a promotion. In a word fear and a lack of self confidence..."
· "...women are very different than men in the work place. They may not want their superiors to know that they are taking so much time to train and or have to possibly ask for time off to train or compete..."
· "...could it be that women are much more afraid of failure in the physical realm? Maybe women, like ethnic minorities, feel they have to be better just to be seen by society as good as. So perceived failure is truly terrible. Only success is allowed, so it’s best to keep attempts quiet unless they are successful..."
· "...some women are afraid of what they can achieve and are reluctant to toot their own horn. Other may not want that additional burden of everyone knowing to be in their head during their swim..."
Theme: Unwelcomed Comparisons
· "...it invites negative comments like you are too skinny to swim that..."
· "...it invites unwanted commentary and advice [when people tell you] this is the way you need to do it..."
· "...publicity can also invite incendiary familial commentary like I have a brother..."
· "...so women are treated differently than men is a given. I wonder if we take failure harder. I had my first ever DNF last year though I felt like I was in good company..."
· "...Simply put, I think innate characteristics are involved as well as the way girls and boys are brought up [differently], although this is changing to some degree. Throughout time, women have been in the background behind men so to speak. I think even that comes into issue on this subject..."
· "...I think female athletes are still subjected to more judgment than our male counterparts..."
· "...22 years in the [work place] and 12 of those as the only woman taught me more than I should ever have to know about men. No matter what anyone thinks, men and women are very different. Things that seem natural and normal to them would leave me absolutely perplexed as to why. I often felt like I was in that other galaxy..."
· "...If it were me, I would do as Nike says and just do it! But I've got too many chores to do, mouths to feed, husbands to tend to, and old people to take care of..."
· "...women may feel guilty to admit that they want to spend this kind of time training and on themselves and for themselves, particularly women in a relationship or with a family..."
· "...women have a stronger since of guilt when it comes to do doing anything for themselves. Things that may take them away from family or the office..."
· "...women may worry that the public will know that their children and their homes are left alone while they are gone training or competing..."
· "...women may also be more apt to back out at the last minute due to a family or office emergency. By keeping their intentions to compete private, nobody has to be disappointed when and if she decides to cancel..."
· "...women want to be recognized for their achievements rather than their attempts at achievement and for some reason, men don't really care..." · "...similar to when woman do not like to let anyone know they are pregnant until they are far enough along to feel there in no chance of a miscarriage..."
· "...the main reason I was keeping it on the down-low is I did not want my mother to hear about it and have her get a bad night's sleep worrying about me. One friend posted something online and I told her to take it down. I considered it my swim to talk about and felt no one else should be doing the talking for me. I accept the fact that when I enter something like [famous swim race], I forfeit that right to privacy...
· "...if the world was a perfect world by my definition, no one would know about my swims until after I complete them...
· "...I am one of those people who did not like to advertise our swims beforehand. Superstitious? Maybe. But there are so many variables with weather and all, we didn't want to advertise the swim until it was underway. Since many of the swims [here] were 'first time' swims, we didn't want to say we were going to do something and then it not materialize. We would feel stupid. However, once the swim was a 'go', usually a couple hours before I stuck my toe in the water then the press was called. Fear of failure was not it because I had a few of those learning experiences and I am okay with that. It was more: until all of your ducks were in a row don't say anything. I say, approach your swim quietly and then when you know it is a go, send out your press releases. I have to say though, it seemed like when we did have a lot of PR before a swim, it sort of colored the decision of whether or not to 'go' and the atmosphere was circus-like. Plus, I like a small crew and press as it was just about the swim..."
We wonder what social scientists and psychologists think about these differences, insights and perceptions, but in the open water, Mother Nature and Father Time treat men and women with equality.
Photo shows German teammates and professional marathon swimmers Alexander Studzinzki and Nadine Reichert.
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.
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.