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Friday, April 12, 2013

Nial Funchion, Exposing Intangibles In The Open Water

Nial Funchion faces assumed challenges and unexpected confrontations during his marathon swims as he runs up against cold water, currents, tides, wind-generated surface chop, marine life, and boat exhaust in the dynamic environment of channels and lakes. His swims are neither easy task to prepare for nor to accomplish.

But Funchion also faces significantly more challenges and confrontations in the course of his daily life in the station and in the streets as a police officer.

This is one chapter of his story:

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: Is swimming a stress reliever for you?
Nial Funchion: Swimming gives me a clean slate every morning. It keeps the internal system rolling; it clears the tubes you can say. But way more importantly, above all else, it fills up my gas tank.

This has been the routine for the past 22 years at UIC, 20 years of it being on the Police Department. The gas tank that’s gets depleted is my soul, my spirit. Chicago politics, bureaucracy, injustice, prejudice, hypocrisy, mistrust, etc., executes the soul over time and you are left with nothing but an empty shell if you are not careful. This is cold hard COMBAT, a salvaging effort that works due to the people and that you earn your accolades, your SPOT through discipline and effort. It is your opportunity to expose your true self, your core, your guts. I feel people need that. I do. It is the most functional environment, the best people, and filled with the opportunity to receive the most potent compliments but more importantly to GIVE those compliments. There is the practice. All this before 7:30 am
...

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: How many police officers swim as a form of recreation or fitness in your area?
Nial Funchion: I am the only one at UIC that I know of. It is a white rhino group, rare.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: What benefits does swimming provide you that translates to direct benefits for your job and health?
Nial Funchion: Mental health, in my opinion, is the biggest benefit. Maintaining a Champions Attitude. 20 years ago when I took this job I had one goal: to be able to recognize myself at the end. Being around people that do other things, functional, putting in an incredible effort every morning is just something I need to be around. It is the fish bowl that I want to live in. Physically, the benefits are starting to surface. I’m at the tail end of a career, been through the ringer, and I’m just warming up. I’m looking forward, seeking opportunities to tell some stories, write (learn how to spell), and make connections to people’s lives.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: How much money do you want to raise on your charity swims?
Nial Funchion: As long as I have www.beyondbreakwalls.orgG, I will give through that avenue. There is swimming involved and a financial element to it, but that is simply an avenue. I want to reach the soul, the spirit, of people especially patrolmen. Throughout the site, the words ‘it has nothing to do with swimming’ - swimming just gets me in the ring ready for the fight, the salvaging effort. If I was to put a dollar sign on it I would like to make a dent with $50,000 over the next 3 years through www.beyondbreakwalls.org.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: Why do you feel the need to give back?
Nial Funchion: Because I’m fortunate, I got lucky. Not everyone survives. They may make it to the end, but at a cost. The sacrifice is to great sometimes and it doesn’t need to be that way. The soul gets widdled away and all to often you end up simply existing, a shell (like the locust bug) of what you once were. The potential given at birth as a human being gets kicked to the curb all to often and then it’s just a matter of time. Waiting. I went the opposite direction. I still dream, I still have hope in my heart. This is what I give back. Hope and dreams are exemplified through swimming to other shores, it is the example of hope and dreams, no hypocrisy involved. I’m setting a trap to snare some souls, its priceless.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: Did you personally know any officers who were among The Fallen?
Nial Funchion: Absolutely. I remember being on a detail as the Tail 2 car for funeral processions and Presidential details which if it ‘hit the fan’ the procession would continue forward and the Tail 2 car would stay behind to render medical assistance/aid to whomever. This has the potential for disaster, but it was an honor to be in that position especially for the President. But I remember being worn out from all the funerals and it started to get under my skin, the faces started to become familiar. I became depleted after a while and couldn’t ‘fill my tank’ anymore, so I knew I had to back off for a while for a breather.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: Do you think of these individuals while you are swimming?
Nial Funchion: They are my carrots. I can see their faces sometimes and remember some of the experiences. I think of the sacrifice, their families sacrifice, and then when it gets rough in a swim, or my life, I cant justify giving in to any internal excuses.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: If you could say something to these individuals, what would it be?
Nial Funchion:Thank you.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: Why swim as opposed to doing a marathon run or climb up a mountain?
Nial Funchion: Because it has the components of risk, low odds of success, journey, mystery, but it exposes the intangibles of being a human being. You get in at one country and say you will make it to the other. Man that takes ***** guts. Living your live sometimes will take the same guts, same nerve, same strength. It will take stone cold dreaming and hope and its up to you under your own power, your own will, ‘It has nothing to do with swimming’ to make it to that other shore. You will live and become the example to those connections into people’s lives...never existing but living deep.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: As a general rule, do "bad guys" swim?
Nial Funchion: I never was concerned about bad guys in the early hours at the pool or at the beach. I have a personal theory that the discipline it takes to get up at those hours will separate many of those individuals from the mix.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: If you were chasing a bad guy and he dove into a lake to escape, how long would it take for you to capture him?
Nial Funchion: That would be an easy one...



For more information, visit Officer Funchion's website here.

Copyright © 2013 by Open Water Swimming

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Thank you very much for your interest in the world of open water swimming.

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

Swim Across the English Channel...

OWSM-CM

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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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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.
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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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