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Saturday, April 27, 2013
Marine Marks And Memories Among Open Water Swimmers
Swimming at high altitude in Switzerland or battling the high surf of Hawaii can create aquatic differences that are greater than between a 50 freestyle and a 400 individual medley.
The most experienced open water swimmers - men like Michael Read and Kevin Murphy who have swum hundreds of swims across five continents or women like Michelle Macy or Penny Palfrey who have swum thousands of kilometers around the world - have an unusual database in their minds.
Little stings and big stings. Little zappers and massively painful whallops from tentacles that are either nearly invisible and extremely colorful. Stings can leave the skin red and puffy, or simply leave small marks that soon go away. The jellies come in all sizes and shapes, and produce myriad levels of discomfort and pain.
Jellyfish are found in every ocean and even in a few freshwater locations. Jellyfish have roamed the seas for at least 500 million years, making them the oldest multi-organ animal.
"They were big," said Olympic champion Larisa Ilchenko talking about the blue blubbers that covered the surface of the course at the 2009 World Swimming Championships in Melbourne, Australia.
"I could hear girls screaming on the first lap when they got stung." World champion Angela Maurer who was also in the same race agreed, "My whole body just burned. There were so many jellyfish out there."
Fellow competitor Britta Kamrau similarly describes a FINA World Cup race in Haikou, China when the swimmers faced a shifting tides and stiff winds, "We were more than 10 hours in the water, but we all did only 15 kilometers before they finally cancelled the race. It was horrible, there were very bad and painful jellyfish with us throughout the whole race."
From Ireland's Lion's Mane and Mexico's agua mala to the Caribbean Sea's box jellies and Australia's stingers, jellyfish can leave marks and memories on those open water swimmers who travel the world.
Upper photo by Dr. Jim Miller shows the Australian blue blubbers that relentlessly stung swimmers at the 2009 FINA World Swimming Championships in Melbourne, Australia. Photo on left shows a Lion's Mane jellyfish during Colm O'Neill's North Channel crossing.
Copyright © 2013 by Open Water Swimming
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.
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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.
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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.