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Friday, April 5, 2013

Lance Armstrong And Second Acts In The Open Water

Athletes of every generation have demonstrated the ability to create worldwide controversy and revved up the raging emotions of sporting fans.

Tommie Smith and John Carlos gave a Black Power salute at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics. Mike Tyson bit off the ear of Evander Holyfield in a boxing match. O.J. Simpson was found not guilty in the murder of his former wife and her friend. Lance Armstrong used performance enhancing drugs and intimidated individuals who questioned the legality of his actions.

These athletes - and others like them - have set off the media and ignited the nerve of the general public for various reasons, from making political statements to fixing games for betting purposes. But life inevitably goes on and these athletes - like non-athletes everywhere - continue on with their lives. And so it is with Lance Armstrong who entered a U.S. Masters Swimming-sanctioned pool event. After FINA strongly came out against his participation, U.S. Masters Swimming barred from participating in its sanctioned event (see here).

The marathon swimming community (see here) and others in the U.S. Masters Swimming pool swimming community (see here) have largely welcomed Armstrong being barred from competition. While this issue raging on in online forums, pool decks and coffee shops, Armstrong's desire to swim in an amateur adult pool swimming event raised a few thoughts related to open water swimming.

In the aquatic world, in fact in the entire endurance sporting world, is there any sport or any aquatic activity that enables second acts, second comings, or second chances in life like open water swimming? We think not. Here are our reasons for thinking so.

From the perspective of competitive swimmers:
Competitive age-group swimmers, not to mention high school and collegiate swimmers, train hard 6 days per week, spending up to 2 hours in the morning before school and another 2+ hours after school swimming. Lap after lap, month after month, year after year. After all those thousands of hours spent with their head down swimming back and forth in a chlorinated pool, their aquatic careers are often dictated by seconds and tenths of seconds. Swim a best time and they are happy. Miss a qualification time and the season ends in disappointment. Many of these swimmers eventually burn out and quit the sport. They move on, sometimes to do other sports, but also many just stop exercising at least for a while.

But they are also individuals who enjoy challenges and have the discipline to achieve other goals in life. Many of these individuals eventually make their way back to swimming and they find participation in open water swims are a perfect blend of low-stress competition and a fitness motivator while they can enjoy the outdoors and the camaraderie of others.

So for retired competitive swimmers who are drawn back to the water, open water swimming presents an ideal opportunity for a second chance at athletic competition.

From the perspective of long distance freestyle swimmers:
The world of pool swimming is extremely competitive. In the United States, there are more than 300,000 competitive swimmers, but fewer than 50 of them make the Olympic team. In the United States, there are over 280,000 students who swim on their high school team, but fewer than 1,000 of those students eventually receive a college scholarship for swimming. The chances of making an Olympic team or receiving a college scholarship are even (dramatically) lower for a distance swimmer since there are fewer distance swimming events (500y, 1650y, 800m, 1500m) than the shorter-distance events at every level.

While many swimmers do not train and compete with the Olympics or a college scholarship as their primary goals, these finely-trained athletes are well-positioned to swim further and in tougher conditions in the open water than their sprinting colleagues. Many of these individuals find that they are very well-suited to just getting out in the open water and letting it rip for a mile, two miles, three miles and more. No flip turns, no dive starts, no counting of laps or worry about split times. They can just swim and swim and swim in the dynamic environment of the world's oceans, lakes and river.

So for long distance freestyle swimmers, who have developed the strength and stamina in the pool but without Olympic speed, open water swimming presents an ideal opportunity for a second chance at athletic competition.

From the perspective of women who pre-dated the Title IX legislation in the United States:
Decades ago, American women who are now in the 50's, 60's and 70's did not have the same opportunities for collegiate competition as young women in contemporary times. The Title IX legislation opened the door for many young women who enjoy the challenge, thrill and camaraderie of athletic competitions.

But when the demographics of open water swimming are analyzed, the number of women over 50 years old are seen flocking to the sport. They enjoy the camaraderie and competition of sport as well as the opportunity to challenge themselves outdoors with the presence of others as themselves.

So for women in the second half of their lives, open water swimming presents an ideal opportunity for a second chance at athletic competition.

From the perspective of individuals who learned how to swim as adults:
The sport of triathlons is booming. It is absolutely exploding like marathon running did in the 1970's. This fact and the fact that an aging population is finding the aches and pains of high-stress endurance sports like running is no longer an option are reasons why many adults are now turning to swimming.

Many adults who learn to swim in the latter stages of their life are usually not looking to do a butterfly race or practicing track starts off of a diving block. Individual medley, aerobic threshold sets, and shaving down for meets are not in their fitness plans. They just want to learn how to swim efficiently. They usually want to learn how to feel fluid and swim efficiently in the water.

It is these individuals who become competent and confident enough in themselves who are looking for a competition. But they prefer not to stand alone on a diving block at a swim meet. Rather they enjoy participation in a mass start where they can blend into the crowd and enjoy an achievement with many others. For many of these individuals, they did not compete competitively in sports as teenagers, but they enjoy participating in a stress-free celebration of open water swimming.

So for these adult-onset swimmers, open water swimming presents an ideal opportunity for a chance at athletic participation in the second half of their life.

Open water swimming for various reasons and for many individuals presents a comeback of sorts. Swims in oceans, lakes and rivers offers a unique low-stress, fun-filled, camaraderie-driven, self-satisfying means to triumph against nature, rally from years of relentlessly tough pool workouts, recover from years of poor health, or enjoy a resurgence from prior athletic participation. It revives the soul and strengthens the body, especially refreshing for those who wish for and looking at a second act, second coming, or second chance.

* Lance Armstrong has been banned by the United States Anti-Doping Agency, and is ineligible for any World Anti-Doping Agency member or affiliated competition including those events sanctioned by U.S. Masters Swimming and the American Swimming Association.

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

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

A Thank You Gift from WOWSA


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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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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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