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Monday, June 10, 2013

I Could Cry Now When I Think About It

It was quite an adventure during this year's Manhattan Island Marathon Swim where a majority of the swimmers had to be boat assisted. Ellery McGowan, the oldest person in the 28.5-mile circumnavigation of Manhattan Island tells her story against the elements:

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: How did your preparation help you compete in the Manhattan Island Marathon Swim?
Ellery McGowan: I kept up my training after the 2012 Ederle Swim which meant swimming in a 25m pool in 27ºC (80ºF) water doing 15,000m a week on average, increasing to 20,000m + plus 1 session of Pilates, one of Gyrotonics, one of Fitball, and one of spinning a week.

I was out in November for a few weeks with a fractured metatarsal, but I could kick with one leg. But I could not play tennis, nor do the spin classes
. I did the long distance training camp at the beginning of April in Mallorca with SwimTrek and completed my 4-hour qualifying swim in water of 13.8ºC (56ºF) and jellyfish galore. From the end of April, I trained outside 5 times a week at our local 50m lido. On most days, the air was cold. Often it was raining, but I knew I had to do it. I had some friends who would swim with me for a couple of kilometers and bring coffee down for when I finished. There was just one day when it was so miserable, I did not go in. This pool averaged 22ºC (71ºF) and I often said to myself, "The air will be this in Manhattan but the water will be colder".

I returned to Mallorca the week before Manhattan Island Marathon Swim to do the BEST OPEN WATER FESTIVAL and the SwimSmooth Training camp. This entailed sea swimming each day as well as 1-2 hours in the pool and some land training. The rough seas were again a good experience and Matthew O’Connor (the BEST co-owner) said I handled the waves well. That was good to know.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: Were you worried at any time that they might pull you from the race?
Ellery McGowan: Some weeks I was apprehensive about being able to do it knowing that I was by far the oldest and slowest, but I knew I had it in me. I was actually rather excited the day before and looking forward to it, especially knowing the weather forecast was going to be better than the week before’s prediction. I knew once I hit the water I would be fine, but on the Thursday when I did the round Manhattan boat trip we went against the tide up the East. It went through my mind that we might get caught, me especially but then I brushed that aside knowing the organisers would have taken all scenarios into account.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: What was the hardest part of the race?
Ellery McGowan: Little did I realise at the Roosevelt Bridge, the race organiser made the decision to pull all the swimmers apart from the elite who had made it through as the rain from Andrea and our delayed start by 1 hour and a quarter meant we missed the weaker than normal tide going up the East. I accepted this, but was delighted that were allowed to get back in after the foot bridge. Mind you I did not want to get back in, but I had another costume, hot tea and was warm again. My daughter-in-law did not want me to go back in but my son advised me to "just swim the Harlem". I thought yes. Why not? The Harlem was cold, very cold in patches and learnt it was 56-58ºF (13-14ºC) later on. There was a lot of debris but I enjoyed seeing Yankee Stadium, the rowing course, the boathouse, and even spoke to a random swimmer in a white hat. It was “one bridge at a time”. Then I saw the big C for Columbia’s rowers and their new sports complex and I was never so pleased to see Spuyten Duyvil Bridge. It was tough coming into the Hudson, like swimming through a whirl pool but the water temperature was heaven in comparison.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: How did you feel as you were swimming down the Hudson River towards the finish?
Ellery McGowan: The Hudson was rough, wind coming up the river. It is such a long way. I had done the rough stuff in Mallorca, the current was with me. My mantra “relax”,from Cassie Patten, “enjoy” and turn “one arm after the other” kept me going. I loved the George Washington Bridge, seeing the little red lighthouse, even the water treatment plant, and rubbish barge depot. When I hit 42nd St where Concorde and Trident are, I knew my way home - Chelsea Piers, Pier 25, the apartment block where my son and his family lived, the World Trade Center, North Cove, South Cove and finally Pier A. The crowds on the piers were great and I gave a few waves along the way. However, I did suffer with unbelievable cramps in my inner thighs, especially when feeding. My swimmers always use even a toe cramp as an excuse to get out of the pool but I know one can swim through them and I can. I didn’t have any negative thoughts on this stretch at all, my body was warm and I could take the waves and wind bashing.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: Did you take any special British or Australian food or drink during the swim?
Ellery McGowan: We used to take Maxim but now it is Maxi, still a high carbohydrate fuel which I mixed up Friday morning with one teaspoon of fructose and Robinson’s Apple and Blackcurrant squash. My mixture was 150 ml (double strength) diluted with 150 ml of hot water which I took every hour and on the half hour an Isogel, an Australian product which does not need water to wash it down. Two of these were substituted with Vipergel (Maxi fuel) which had caffeine. Then of course every two hours I had half a banana. Feeds went to 25 minutes along the way due to the cold.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: Who was your kayaker and on your support team?
Ellery McGowan: My kayaker was Stephen Ahearn whom I met on the water, a very efficient and positive guy. My escort boat was “No Problem”, a good omen really as “no problems” is a very Australian saying. Ed Scola was the skipper. My support team were my son Angus and his wife Renata who live in Connecticut now. They were amazing and Angus had packed extra towels warm clothes for me. They crewed for me on the Ederle swim last year. Whenever I looked up I would see Angus filming, handing feeds over to Stephen, and always a big smile and thumbs up from Renata.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: What was the most enjoyable about the entire experience?
Ellery McGowan: I had been tired for weeks from training and working but I am thrilled that I made it round even with the Boat Assistance. I am not angry that we did not get away on time as New York City had a tough time, it was bad luck. I’m happy we were able to swim and I can say I did the Harlem, the Hudson and nearly all the East. I feel satisfied and I must say it was all enjoyable except for the cold in the Harlem. That homeward stretch was amazing and I could cry now when I think about it.

Copyright © 2013 by Open Water Swimming

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The Staff of the World Open Water Swimming Association

2014 Global Open Water Swimming Conference

Learn more...
Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

2014 Global Open Water Swimming Conference Agenda


Friday, 19 September

5:30

PM


Welcome Reception at Mount Stuart House, Isle of Bute, Scotland

Documentary films shown throughout the reception:

Blue Journey-Amerika Samoa – Stronger Together: The Waterman’s Way
(film by Bruckner Chase)

Dancing With The Water, Crossing of Lake Pontchartrain
(film by Wayne Ewing about Matthew Moseley's Lake Pontchartrain crossing)

Bering Strait Swim Chukotka - Alaska
(film by Admiral Konstantin Sidenko about the relay between Russia and Alaska)

The Clean Swim – Hong Kong to Macau
(film about Simon Holiday's Pearl River Delta crossing)


Saturday, 20 September

9:00

AM


Registration and Coffee at Mount Stuart House, Isle of Bute, Scotland

10:00

AM


Keynote Speech:
Colleen Blair (Scotland) on The History of Scottish Swimming

10:20

AM


Christopher Guesdon (Australia) on Multidimensional Roles In The Sport

10:30

AM


Colin Hill (England) on Recent Explosion in UK Open Water

10:50

AM


Shelley Taylor-Smith (Australia) on The Feminine Code of Achievement - How a Lady from Down Under Revolutionized Professional Marathon Swimming

11:10

AM


Simon Murie (England) on Open Water Swimming Holidays: How A New Sector Was Created Within The Travel Industry

11:30

AM


Swimming The Oceans Seven
A round table discussion moderated by:
Kevin Murphy (England), with Stephen Redmond (Ireland), Anna-Carin Nordin (Sweden),
Darren Miller (USA), Adam Walker (England), Kimberley Chambers (New Zealand)

12:30

PM


Coffee and Break

1:00

PM


World Open Water Swimming Awards Luncheon:
with co-hosts Shelley Taylor-Smith (Australia) and Steven Munatones (USA)

Pádraig Mallon (Ireland), 2013 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year

Olga Kozydub (Russia), 2013 World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year

Bering Strait Swim, 2013 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year

Honoring: Vladimir Chegorin, Maria Chizhova, Elena Guseva, Ram Barkai, Jack Bright, Oksana Veklich, Aleksandr Jakovlevs, Matías Ola, Henri Kaarma, Toomas Haggi, Nuala Moore, Anne Marie Ward, Toks Viviers, Melissa O’Reilly, Ryan Stramrood, Cristian Vergara, Craig Lenning, Rafal Ziobro, Andrew Chin, Jackie Cobell, James Pittar, Paolo Chiarino, Mariia Yrjö-Koskinen, Ivan Papulshenko, Zdenek Tlamicha, Zhou Hanming, Oleg Adamov, Andrei Agarkov, Alekseev Semen, Tatiana Alexandrova, Roman Belan, Elena Semenova, Alexander Brylin, Afanasii Diackovskii, Vladimir Nefatov, Evgenii Dokuchaev, Oleg Docuckaev, Roman Efimov, Dmitrii Filitovich, Olga Filitovich, Victor Godlevskiy, Olga Golubeva, Alexei Golubkin, Alexander Golubkin, Alexandr Iurkov, Oleg Ivanov, Pavel Kabakov, Eduard Khodakovskiy, Aleksandr Komarov, Aleksandr Kuliapin, Andrey Kuzmin, Irina Lamkina, Vladimir Litvinov, Andrey Mikhalev, Victor Moskvin, Nikolay Petshak, Sergey Popov, Vladimir Poshivailov, Grigorii Prokopchuk, Dmitrii Zalka, Natalia Seraya, Viacheslav Shaposhnikov, Olga Sokolova, Andrei Sychev, Alexei Tabakov, and Nataliia Usachaeva [represented by Admiral Konstantin Sidenko and Nuala Moore]


2:30

PM


Alexey Salmin Pavlovich (Russia) and Dmitry Dragozhilov (Russia)
on the 2016 Winter Swimming World Championships [film]

2:50

PM


Sally Minty-Gravett (Jersey) on Motivating Swimmers

3:10

PM


Dmitry Blokhin (Russia) and Aleksei Veller (Russia)
on the First World Ice Swimming Championships [film]

3:30

PM


Matthew Moseley (USA)’s Dancing With The Water, Crossing of Lake Pontchartrain [film]

3:50

PM


Simon Holliday (England) and Doug Woodring (Hong Kong)’s The Clean Swim – Hong Kong to Macau 2014 [film]

5:00

PM


International Swimming Hall of Fame (ISHOF)
and International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame (IMSHOF)

IMSHOF Induction Ceremonies and Dinner
with co-hosts Shelley Taylor-Smith (Australia) and Steven Munatones (USA).

Recognition of International Swimming Hall of Fame honorees:

  • Elizabeth Fry (USA), IMSHOF Honour Swimmer

  • Vojislav Mijić (Serbia), IMSHOF Honour Swimmer

  • James Anderson (USA), IMSHOF Honour Administrator

  • Dr. Jane Katz (USA), IMSHOF Honour Administrator

  • Indonesian Swimming Federation Open Water Committee (Indonesia), IMSHOF Honour Organisation

  • Melissa Cunningham (Australia), Irving Davids – Captain Roger Wheeler Award by the International Swimming Hall of Fame and IMSHOF Honour Swimmer

  • Sandra Bucha (USA), ISHOF Honor Open Water Swimmer and IMSHOF Honour Swimmer

  • Jon Erikson (USA), ISHOF Honor Open Water Swimmer and IMSHOF Honour Swimmer [represented by Sandra Bucha]

6:30

PM


International Swimming Hall of Fame (ISHOF) Introduction Video.
Welcome speech by host Shelley Taylor-Smith (Australia)

6:45

PM


Dinner

7:30

PM


International Swimming Hall of Fame (ISHOF)
Induction Ceremonies and Dinner with host Shelley Taylor-Smith (Australia)

Recognition of International Swimming Hall of Fame honorees:

  • Mercedes Gleitze (England)
    ISHOF Honor Pioneer Swimmer and IMSHOF Honour Swimmer
    [represented by daughter Doloranda Pember]

  • Dale Petranech (USA)
    ISHOF Honor Contributer and IMSHOF Honour Administrator

  • Claudio Plit (Argentina)
    ISHOF Honor Open Water Swimmer and IMSHOF Honour Swimmer
    [represented by Shelley Taylor-Smith]

  • Judith van Berkel-de Nijs (Netherlands)
    ISHOF Honor Open Water Swimmer and IMSHOF Honour Swimmer
    [represented by Niek Kloots]

  • George Young (Canada)
    ISHOF Honor Pioneer Swimmer and IMSHOF Honour Swimmer
    [represented by the Catalina Channel Swimming Federation]

  • David Yudovin (USA)
    ISHOF Honor Open Water Swimmer and IMSHOF Honour Swimmer


Sunday, 21 September

9:00

AM


Registration and coffee at Mount Stuart House, Isle of Bute, Scotland

10:00

AM


Nuala Moore (Ireland) on The Mindset of 1000m at 0ºC

10:20

AM


Admiral Konstantin Sidenko (Russia)’s Bering Strait Swim Chukotka - Alaska in 2013 [film]

10:40

AM


Ned Denison (Ireland) on Swimming The World

11:00

AM


Bruckner Chase (USA)’s Blue Journey-Amerika Samoa
Stronger Together: The Waterman’s Way
[film]

11:20

AM


Rok Kerin (Slovenia) on Lifestyle Benefits From Open Water Swimming

12:00

PM


Survey distribution and group photo-taking

2:00

PM


Swim at Stravvana Bay, Isle of Bute






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."


Copyright © 2014 by World Open Water Swimming Association

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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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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.

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The trends are very clear.
The tide is rising for open water swimming.

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