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Friday, April 26, 2013
Managing Motherhood In The Open Water World
She has completed marathon swims across False Bay in South Africa, the Strait of Gibraltar from Spain to Morocco, Swim Around Key West in Florida (USA), International Swimming Marathon of Toroneos Gulf (Greece), English Channel in 12 hours 3 minutes, Around Robben Island, around Bizerte (Tunisia), around Danger Point and Gansbaai (South Africa), around Cape Agulhas (South Africa) and Cape Point (South Africa), from Robben Island to Bloubergstrand (South Africa).
She discusses how she combines everything she does - forge a successful entertainment career in an extremely competitive field with motherhood and extreme endurance sports - at such a high level.
Daily News of Open Water Swimming: How do you combine an entertainment career with motherhood and high-level athletics?
Bruwer: I'd like to describe it as an "organic juggle"! Yes, I do a lot of different things (all pretty high intensity!) but my love for - and absolute enjoyment of – all that I do completely outweighs the occasional feeling of being overwhelmed.
I need to constantly challenge myself and through my varied activities. I also own a small business that operates in the South African entertainment industry. I'm certainly never bored. Prioritizing is essential, and fortunately it has always been clear to me what my "priorities within my priorities" should be: my kids must come first. They need to be happy, fulfilled and looked after, and although I have to do a lot of delegating when it comes to their care, I refuse to be an absent mother and try to spend as much extra time with them as possible. Another essential is to have the right support team around you, and I'm very fortunate to have wonderful people in my life and business, as well as my music and swimming careers. I don't have much free time but I don't feel I'm missing out; I'm highly stimulated and constantly excited by new possibilities.
Daily News of Open Water Swimming: What kind of weekly schedule do you keep in order to balance all your responsibilities and interests?
Bruwer: Because my schedule as a musician is very unpredictable, there's really no such thing as a weekly schedule. I have to take every day as it comes to a certain degree, which ironically means that my routine needs to be extra tight, albeit flexible. Certain essential items need to be fitted into each day. When I'm performing in or out of town, some of these items need to be delegated and/or moved around in order for the machine to keep working.
Daily News of Open Water Swimming: Would you like your children to follow in your footsteps?
Bruwer: I think in these times it is very important to be self-sufficient. In that sense, yes, I would like for them to be able to decide what it is they want and take control to make that happen. I don't necessarily want for them to be musicians or athletes; but I would love for them to be able to integrate whatever it is that enriches them as individuals, into their daily lives in a similar way I do, as it certainly has been my secret for happiness. But I do understand and feel strongly about the fact that every person is unique and that your kids may be nothing like you. I believe that personality dictates to a large degree how an individual needs to approach life in order to be fulfilled. So I guess I just want them to be true to themselves and be OK.
Daily News of Open Water Swimming: Does motherhood or swimming influence your music in any way?
Bruwer: My swimming and music is definitely inter-connected. I think motherhood has made me a more sensitive musician. While in the water, I seem to have become much more patient and a bit less competitive since having become a mother. On a physical level, the swimming has definitely helped my lung capacity and I am known to have some of the best lungs in the business.
Daily News of Open Water Swimming: Does your music or motherhood influence your swimming in any way?
Bruwer: Definitely. This Cape Point swim was very interesting as it was my first open water swim in 6 years. I didn't know how my body and mind would react to the challenge of swimming in very icy and shark-infected waters. It took a long mental journey to get to the point where I was really amped to be back in that water. When the day finally arrived, I was very calm. I approached the challenge with a very different attitude than before. In the past I would get really angry when conditions became unfavorable or when things went wrong. Although I would always fight until the end, it would usually be with a resistant attitude. This time round, I felt much more in control even though I was swimming in temperatures far below my perceived minimum. I had said that I would swim in nothing under 16ºC (60.8ºF) – and here I was in 12ºC (53.6ºF). In addition to my experience as a mother, I've been doing a lot of performing – probably about 700 shows across 10 countries in the last 6 years, a lot of which were high pressure and to large audiences. One has to know how to compose yourself and rise above the challenges you may face on stage especially with a show likes ours where the technical aspect is an integral part of our performance; the show must go on and there's no space for negative thoughts.
Daily News of Open Water Swimming: How do you maintain your fitness at such a high level as you raise two small children?
Bruwer: Swimming has been a non-negotiable part of my daily routine - or non-routine - for the past 16 years. My 4 km daily swim is like having breakfast, or dropping my daughter at school. It simply has to happen and I find time for it even if I have to compromise on other business-related things. I have a great infrastructure at home with a nanny who is home from 9 to 5, and a husband who is as involved in the kids' lives as I am, so again, I'm very lucky. My husband built a lap pool for me in our garden, so even on those days in which I really run out of time, there is usually the opportunity to dive in for a quick 2 or 3 km. I wouldn't say that my fitness is at the highest level though; I'm certainly not as fit as I was 7 years ago when I swam the English Channel and False Bay (36 km swim). I can definitely never compete against the top swimmers out there, but yeah, I'm fit. But then as we all know, the biggest challenge of solo marathon swimming is probably the mental fitness, which is a separate essay altogether.
Daily News of Open Water Swimming: What advice would you give a young woman who has similar interests to you?
Bruwer: It is very important to give time to your passions. It is possible. We really do live in a great era, in which you are - if you allow yourself – free to express, enjoy and create yourself. Do not dwell on fear, it will waste time and bring you nowhere. Just go out there and do, do, do. Allow yourself to make mistakes and acknowledge it with grace, and you will grow stronger each time. Nobody else is going to make it happen for you, it is your responsibility to feed your soul.
Daily News of Open Water Swimming: What is next on your schedule, either swimming-wise or music-wise?
Bruwer: Swimming-wise, I was retired until a few days ago. Now I really don't know. I don't think I want to be retired any more. So we will see, we will see.
Music-wise, Sterling EQ is booked for 12 shows across Southern Africa in May. Then the band takes a break in June, during which time I will go on holiday with my family. I can't wait. After this, we hope to start strategizing our fifth release. We have released 3 CDs and a Live DVD thus far, and will inevitable be doing more touring.
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.