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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Man vs. Beasts In The Sea Of Cortez

Paul Lundgren has changed the anticipated start date of his second Solo Cortez, an unprecedented 80-mile attempt to cross the Sea of Cortez.

We decided that for the safety of the swim it is best to move the date to early November following the hurricane season that begins in mid-July and ends by October,” explains the California endurance athlete. “The jellyfish reach the height of their bloom in mid-July so hopefully they will be on the decline. The water will be around 78°F and the air temperature highs are in the mid-70°F’s and the lows are in the 50°F’s.

The crew will be more comfortable. I now face five more months of ultra-training. I will make it good
.”

The Solo Cortez attempt may take up to 60 hours and will follow the Channel Swimming Association rules where no stinger suits or protective swimwear is permitted.

If completed, the 49-year-old’s swim across Mexico’s Sea of Cortez will also mark the first successful crossing of that body of water following two failed relays and one solo attempt.

This means I will continue to train for another five months, which isn’t an easy task,” explains the father of twin 7-year-old boys. “It takes a toll on my family.” But with the buy-in from his wife Chris Chorak, Lundgren said, “Life is an amazing process of continual change. There are changes we cannot control, like aging and there are those we can, as in this case—when you have a dream that requires change to make it come to life. By weighing the positives and negatives Chris wisely encouraged me to change course.”

Preparing for such an extreme swim in the Sea of Cortez is reminiscent of the recent attempts by Diana Nyad, Penny Palfrey, and Chloë McCardel across the Straits of Florida between Cuba and the United States. Due to the remote wilderness, largely unchartered by swimmers, preparation is significantly more complex than simply training, showing up and jumping in the water. There are currents, weather, tides and espcially marine life to factor into the plan.

If distance were the only challenge, then ultra-marathon solo swims across the Straits of Florida and the Sea of Cortez would have already been completed. Swimmers like Nyad, Palfrey, McCardel, Lundgren, and numerous others from Kevin Murphy and Stephen Redmond to Vicky Keith and Liz Fry, have the physical tools and mental strength to complete solo swims of at least 100 miles (162 km). But the financial burdens, logistical planning, weather and water uncertainty over a 3-day period, and especially the marine life are the bane of these salt-water ultra marathon swims.

While the mainstream media and most athletes consider sharks to be the primary predator that can end a swim, it is the nearly invisible and relatively tiny jellyfish that are usually the causes for premature finishes.

Tagged the “the world’s aquarium by Jacques Cousteau, the Sea of Cortez is home to carnivorous and potentially deadly Humboldt squid, debilitating and life-threatening jellyfish, and random hungry migrating Great White sharks. In previous attempts, it was the tiniest of these animals – the jellyfish - that led to swimmers being pulled out. For hundreds of millions of years, the jellyfish have existed and survived in the world’s oceans. And now, as the jellyfish are becoming the fastest proliferating creature on Earth, marathon swimmers are venturing out to swim within these blooms of venom-filled invertebrates. Whether Lundgren encounters jellyfish, Humboldt squid, or Great White Shark, these are battles that humans are physiologically ill-prepared to win.

And like marathon swims in the Caribbean and South Pacific, there is another issue that looms high on the pain scale. The pain causes by high salinity on the lips and around the soft tissue of the mouth.

Located between mainland Mexico and Baja California in the western part of Mexico, two hot desert environments, the Sea of Cortez’s salinity content is one of the highest in the world. “The salt is so high that after twelve hours of swimming your tongue begins to peal, leaving the raw nerves exposed to the constant in and out flush of water with each breath,” says Lundgren. “The pain is relentless and continuously increases with intensity.”

Even if everything goes according to plan, Lundgren estimates the swim will take at least 44 hours. For those swimmers who have swum in tropical parts of the world, the discomfort of swimming 2 hours in the salt water is well-known and disliked.

Due to all these concerns, in the case that emergency medical evacuation is required, the logistics and operations are nothing short of a military mission. With proper medical facilities hours away by boat and ground transportation, Lundgren’s support team must be prepared to provide life-sustaining medical attention for as long as eight hours on a boat in what could be stormy seas. Without a doubt, the difference between a comprehensive safety and contingency plan with an experienced team of experts could mean the difference between life and death. “This is something we do not take lightly,” said Lundgren. “Extending the date will provide us the opportunity to insure the swim happens with as few risks as possible. The extra time will also allow us to raise more funds that will help further ensure safety and success.”

The swim, called Solo Cortez, will bring awareness to Eco-Alianza de Loreto A.C., a non-profit conservation organization committed to protecting and preserving the fragile eco-systems of the Bay of Loreto National Park, a World Heritage Site. For more information on Eco-Alianza, visit here. For more information on Solo Cortez, visit here.

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.

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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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.

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

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