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Tuesday, May 7, 2013
Swimming The Five Lakes Of Mount Fuji
Those five famous lakes in Japan ring the majestic Mount Fuji, the largest mountain and active volcano in Japan at 3,776m (12,389 feet).
The foremost aquatic adventurer swam across Lake Yamanaka, Lake Kawaguchi, Lake Sai, Lake Shoji, and Lake Motosu, five tranquil oases located 100 km south of Tokyo.
Several years later in 1992, I wanted to replicate what Cox did because I was living in Japan and my planned swim from Russia to Japan had been unexpectedly cancelled due to political reasons. But I felt energetic so I added a few twists to swimming across the lakes: I decided to run or bike between the lakes and then run from the hotel near the lake to the summit, a total of 21 km in distance and 3 km in elevation gain.
The logistics were a bit cumbersome as I had to obtain an escort boat flotilla in five different lakes to guide me across the lakes as well as organize an escort caravan of Harley Davidson motorcycle riders to escort me between each lake on the land routes. The run up Mount Fuji was a solo attempt with a local runner, but because it was summer time, there would be plenty of other mountain climbers also walking up the path to Fuji's summit.
But at the crack of dawn, I walked into the eastern shore of Lake Yamanaka and headed towards the other side. If a lake could be described as calmer than tranquil, quieter than serene, then Lake Yamanaka was it. The two escort boats were on either side of me, but I could still see the summit of Mount Fuji every time I took a breath to my left. The beauty was breathtaking. And at times, I was breathless as I swam over lava tubes that shot up significantly colder water that penetrated the warmer surface waters.
My shoes and gear were ready for me as soon as I emerged on the other side. Off I went to Lake Kawaguchi, the second lake in my planned adventure. As peaceful was the swim across Lake Yamanaka, the ride to Lake Kawaguchi was anything but. The motorcyclists had their lights flashed and occasionally honked their horns and sirens to slow traffic and attract attention from passersby. It felt like a presidential arcade and was a totally unique experience for a swimmer who had never been in front of a cycling or running race, or the object of such attention on land. After the bike to and swim across Lake Kawaguchi, the adrenaline had run out and stamina was called for. Lake Sai was at a higher elevation and I had to run up a series of some steep hills to jump in the third lake. Again, the logistics of the local team was flawless as shoes, goggles, caps, and fresh towels were immediately available to me at each transition area.
Lake Shoji, like the other lakes, continued to be an inherently peaceful swim as I continued to breathe primarily to my left, always trying to keep Mount Fuji within my peripheral vision. With only a few more transitions to go, I slowed down swimming across Lake Motosu, the last lake, in order to take in all that I had seen swimming across the Five Lakes of Mount Fuji.
Dinner was a joyous occasion with speeches that ran quite long and a seemingly endless rotation of local delicacies. While some of the crew imbibed liquor, I had one more long journey ahead of me and I just wanted to get refueled for the long jog up Mount Fuji. My goal was to enjoy the climb up Mount Fuji as much as I had relished the swim around Mount Fuji and to reach the summit - and get back down again before nightfall.
Off I went with a fellow runner, a rail-thin marathon runner who had competed in the Mount Fuji Marathon Race. He would led me along the same path. He purposefully set off on a fast pace per my request. I wanted to keep up with him as long as possible and then hang on as best I could. It did not take long for him to start attacking the volcanic mountain like the competitive runner he was. But I was able to keep him in my sights for the first 2 hours. the rest of the 3-hour journey was more like a solo swim...a solitary journey of endurance with the support of an escort team.
But the escort team included men, women and children of all ages trudging up the mountain, always giving good cheer and encouragement as I put one foot in front of the other, always at a higher elevation.
Fortunately, the lactic acid burn in my legs was more of a problem than cramping, but hunger started to creep in as I approached the summit.
The summit was glorious if a bit crowded with smiling, satisfied Japanese and foreigners. My running buddy had waited for me as we then shook hands and headed back down. Sleep that night was a heavy slumber of satisfaction.
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.
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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.