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Saturday, April 27, 2013

Reflection Upon Open Water Swimming Competitions

Athletes of every sport spend hours of time preparing for a race, match, game, or event. Preparation includes practice, workouts, drills, scrimmages, weight-training, dryland work, rehabilitation, and mental preparation.

While majority of athletes accept that it is the work they put in beforehand that has the greatest impact on the big day’s outcome, there is also a lot to be said for the work done right after.

Since every open water race is very different due to the conditions and competition, each race also presents a learning experience for the athlete - if they choose for it to be. While there are those rare perfect races where everything seems to go right for the swimmer, it is much more common for athletes to make mistakes along the way.

Should I have swum left or veered right? Should I have started my sprint earlier? Should I have taken more food or stayed in the pack a little longer? Should I put more lanolin under my arms or put more tape on my transponder?

These are only a few questions that go through swimmers' minds after a competitive event where they know they could have swum faster or performed better.

While these mistakes are frustrating for the swimmer, and can even sometimes cost the athlete the race or a podium spot, they can also act as invaluable learning experience.

If you are alone without a coach, it is good if you sit down and immediately reflect on the race while everything is still fresh in your mind. The simplest way to go about doing this is to write down what went well and what did not on a piece of paper. Because the swim is now documented from your perspective, you can then self-analyze this information then and long after whenever necessary. Sometimes, a mistake made may be specific to that certain race; however, more often than not, the swimmer will be likely be facing a similar experience sometime in the future in another race. With the reflection adding to your experience, it is highly likely that the same mistake will not be made twice and you will be able to act in a more advantageous way.

Open water swimming, particularly at the elite level, requires not only talent and hard work, but also intelligence. Therefore, the veterans of the sport often have an advantage over the rookies in terms of strategy and tactics. That being said, an athlete who is relatively new to open water has the ability and opportunity to improve immensely with each race. If you are with a coach, your coach can use the Socratic Open Water Method. Named after the Classical Greek philosopher Socrates, you can effectively learn and be taught based on asking and answering questions from your coach. A wise coach can stimulate a clear pathway to objectively reflect upon your performance and help illuminate important concepts for you.

An open water swimming coach should be inquisitive after a race or solo swim. Through intelligent inquisition, experienced coaches can be instructive. By asking you a series of questions, coaches can enable you to internalize and understand what you did in a race or a swim - both good and bad, right and wrong. By encouraging you to visualize who you were swimming with, understand what your pace was, reflect how you felt at different points during the swim, analyze the shape of the pack during key points during the race and your positioning throughout the race, you will eventually become a more seasoned performer.

Open water coaches who question you before and after a race help you profoundly understand what can and should be done because you are out in the open water by yourself. Every decision you make in competitive situations – at the start, at the turn buoys, in rough water, in a pack, nearing the finish and during the final sprint – has a direct impact on your placing. And your decisions must often be made on the spur of the moment, but each decision has long-term impact on the performance. Therefore, coaches can assist you by constantly questioning and pushing you to come up with the optimal answers quickly for yourself in innumerable situations.

Before the race, coaches can ask:

1. Will you use Vaseline® or lanolin?
2. How many pairs of goggles are you taking to the race?
3. Who is your competition?
4. What is the shape of the course? How many buoys?
5. What is your goal?
6. What drinks or foods are you using?
7. How did you do last year? Where you satisfied?

After the race, coaches can ask about the start:

1. Where were you at the start?
2. Who was next to you?
3. Did you choose that position?
4. What was the pace at the start?
5. How did you feel until the first turn buoy?

Regarding the middle of the race, coaches can ask:

1. Where were you in the middle of the race?
2. Did you purposefully go to this position?
3. Where you boxed-in at any point?
4. When did the pace pick up?
5. Who was swimming in front of you?
6. Who was swimming behind you and to your left and right?
7. Are these swimmers faster than you?
8. What was your stroke tempo?

Regarding the turns, coaches can ask:

1. Did you speed up before or after the turn buoys?
2. Did you have the inside position around the turn buoys?
3. Did you get hit? If so, what did you do?
4. How can you avoid getting hit around the turns?
5. What was your position going into the turns?
6. How did you actually make the turn?

Regarding navigation, coaches can ask:

1. Did you know where you were going at all times?
2. Was it hard to see anything?
3. Did you take a good line to the finish?
4. Did you feel any ocean swells out there? How were the currents running?
5. How often were you lifting your head to sight?
6. Did you see the lead kayak?
7. What sides were you breathing on?

Regarding the finish, coaches can ask:

1. When did the sprint begin?
2. Did you catch up to anyone once the sprint began?
3. Were you using your legs the whole time?
4. Was there any physical contact coming into the finish?
5. Were you satisfied with your finish?
6. How can we train better for a better finish?

Regarding future improvement, coaches can ask:

1. Do you need more dryland training?
2. Do you need to work on more efficiency in the water?
3. Do you need to build up your legs?
4. Do you need more open water practices?
5. Do you need different training partners?
6. Do you need different support crew members?

While it is not exactly the Socratic method as established in the classroom or in ancient Greece, the idea of the Socratic Open Water Method is to help you reflect upon to improve and understand the myriad situations that happen in the open water.

Photos from the FINA Open Water Swimming Grand Prix race in Isla Cozumel.

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

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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.
LEARN MORE...

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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