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Monday, July 8, 2013

A Champion's Reflections, Eric Nilsson On The Kingdom

Last Saturday, Northwestern University All-American swimmer Eric Nilsson won the World Open Water Swimming Association 10 Mile World Championship at the Kingdom Swim in Lake Memphremagog, Vermont.

After pushing himself to the limit and being pushed by teenager Feodor Orlov over the entire 16.2 km course, we asked the veteran about the Kingdom Swim.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: How did you feel before the 10-mile Kingdom Swim?
Eric Nilsson: The morning of the race, upon waking up, I actually felt surprisingly good and alert which was a nice surprise. There's nothing worse than waking up feeling groggy and not up for a long race. Everything went smoothly before the race with checking in, finding my kayaker and getting to the start line. I am never good at eating much before a long morning race, but I managed to get a granola bar and some Gatorade in.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: How did you feel in the first half of the race?
Eric Nilsson: I felt strong from the beginning of the race, taking it out pretty smooth but concentrating on a long efficient stroke and light kick that I thought I would be able to hold for the duration of the race. I found my kayaker with relative ease and I was able to see each of the buoys that I needed to without too much difficulty which was a relief because there was a good bit of distance between each buoy. I like knowing where I am going. I maintained the stroke and was in a good mental state for the entire first half of the race. I would say it went by pretty quickly. The only hitch during the first half was that my kayaker dropped her life jacket and in her attempt to retrieve it, fell behind me and had to be towed back up to me by the state trooper. So I had to choose my own line and swim by myself for 15 minutes or so.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: How did you feel in the second half of the race?
Eric Nilsson: Right at about halfway through the race, I started having trouble seeing any of the buoys, so I had to blindly trust and follow my kayaker's lead which makes me a little uneasy. But I did trust my kayaker Sandy, so I did not waver from her. There were some buoys that I couldn't see until I was about 20 feet from them, but luckily Sandy could see them well before me. At about two-thirds through the race, my entire body, both arms and legs, and especially hip flexors began to fatigue. This is the point where it seems like the race is at a stand-still and no progress is being made. The addition of not being able to see the buoys makes it seem to go by even slower. Knowing that progress is being made and that the race will end soon helps push me through this though. I didn't have trouble seeing the last buoy which was nice, but at that point all of my muscles were right on the border of cramping, so I couldn't really make any different motions aside from my standard stroke, and needed to keep sighting to a minimum because my hip flexors would cramp each time I did. I managed to get a little momentum going for the finish. Seeing the finish line always gives me some energy. A beach finish meant I needed to get on my feet to get across the line which can be, and was, a little difficult after several hours in the water, especially with leg muscles on the verge of cramping, but I managed to hobble across.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: How did you get over the fatigue during the race?
Eric Nilsson: I started feeding early in order to help alleviate fatigue later in the race, but some still came at about two-thirds through the race. At this point, I would just focus on keeping my stroke even on both sides. As my arms were fatiguing slightly greater than my legs, I picked up my legs just a little bit. Other than that, just keeping my mind off the fatigue helped.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: What did you eat or drink? How often?
Eric Nilsson: I drank a small cup of Gatorade every 15 minutes, and added a gel pack to the Gatorade at every other feeding.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: Did you and your kayaker talk during the race?
Eric Nilsson: Very minimally, but we would exchange a few words during the feeding, just checking up on each other.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: What was your strategy versus your competition?
Eric Nilsson: My general strategy in races is to go out strong and try to hold on. During this race I tried to take it out smoother than I have in the past, because I knew I was not in the shape I have been for some of my other long races, so I knew I needed to pace myself in order to be able to finish. Other than that, I just try to not let people draft off of me. As I was in the lead pretty much from the start in this race, I tried to not let up during any part of the race, knowing that Feodor would be right there passing me if I did. I did check back every now and then, seeing where my competition was at, although I tried to do so less in the second half of the race.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: How did you feel after the race?
Eric Nilsson: My muscles felt pretty spent after the race, but I felt good and accomplished, as I often do after a long race or workout. I don't think there are many better feelings than just after an endurance session, when you can relax and get something to eat.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: Was this race easier or harder than the 10K USA Swimming National Championship races?
Eric Nilsson: I can compare it to the 2011 10k National Championships. This race was completely different than that race, mainly because of the conditions. I was swimming in the lead in this race, as compared to chasing the lead pack in 2011. This race had some mild swell, but it was a lake swim and had generally good conditions. The 2011 10K National Championships basically occurred during a storm with large swells and limited visibility. That race was decided for me at the beginning when I got caught in a group and couldn't get out past it for 15-30 minutes. After that I may have caught the lead pack a little but it is tough swimming solo in an open water race when others are in a group, and I never managed to re-enter the pack with the leaders.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: What are your next open water swimming goals?
Eric Nilsson: This summer I have just a couple more races lined up including the Trans Tahoe Relay which I have done the past 2 years, the 8-mile Boston Light Swim which I competed in last year, the RCP Tiburon Mile which I've done the past 3 years, and some local New England races. My main goals include getting enough swim and workout time in my schedule to get into shape. I plan on competing in some competitive races in the next couple years, possibly some FINA Open Water Swimming Grand Prix races and 10K USA Swimming National Championships.

Photos courtesy of Phil White.

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.

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The Other Shore


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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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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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