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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

A Winning Formula For Milko Van Gool

As Quinten Nelson and Andrew Coyle of the Irish Long Distance Swimming Association walked to the boat in the early morning of July 30th, they were happy to see a tiny black rental car coming at them a 5:15 am. "The care was filled by its driver: a tall, bulky, fresh-looking man with fair hair, known as Milko Van Gool," said Coyle.

It was all business. Escort boat captain Nelson asked Milko how he was feeling and the reply was very positive. "The car was parked, Milko had his photo taken with his passport open, the boat was untied, and without any further ceremony we departed."

It was a fortuitous start to the day. "The conditions were very soft for the start, almost calm, with a clear sky. There was no precipitation and a full tide." Milko had a thick layer of grease applied around his limbs for comfort during the swim. His very dedicated trainer, Marcel, supported Milko with an authoritative voice and a shrill whistle throughout the entire swim. Marcel did not leave the deck even once.

When the boat, named Guy and Clare Hunter arrived as close to the rocks at Donaghadee as was safe, Milko jumped into the water and swam over to shore. Nelson then approved that he was ready to depart by sounding the boat’s horn of the 18 nautical mile crossing to Portpatrick. "Milko’s stroke was very strong, with a positive roll and steady six-beat kick which lasted right to the finish.

A couple of hours from Donaghadee we began to sight Lion’s Mane jellyfish at which point Marcel would issue a deafening whistle
." Marcel could lift his fingers to his mouth and whistle almost instantly. "He would then visually instruct Milko what direction to swim in to avoid them. But one jellyfish, which Marcel hadn’t seen, caused Milko to take a bad cramp as he kicked violently to avoid it. This happened two hours forty minutes into the swim, and Milko groaned in pain when it occurred."

But 2 minutes later he had recovered fully. Apart from jellyfish, the only wildlife visible in the water were a number of very sturdy looking seals who seemed intrigued by the Dutchman, swimming along quite close to him for a period when we were about seven miles off shore "These fellows lifted Milko’s spirits unlike the nuisance jellyfish."

Milko was also accompanied by a photographer and chronicler named Alan, who worked for the charity which the swim was in aid of. This charity restored Africa’s oldest boat named Chauncy Maples so it may be used as a mobile clinic for the benefit of people living around Lake Malawi.

To maintain his energy levels, the feedings of varying amounts of liquid were done every 20 minutes for the entire duration of the swim. Food was given once an hour in the form of a half banana or biscuit. "This formula seemed to work well for Milko as his stroke rate remained very steady for almost the entire swim, except for the last hour when he was in a state of exhaustion."

While for the first five hours, the wind was not an issue, blowing between 0-5 knots. Around noon the wind began to increase steadily. At 2 pm, the wind was blowing a southerly 20 knots. "The waves impeded the steadiness of Milko’s stroke at a point where he was tiring; second the boats pitching made it difficult for him to feed and the waves sometimes covered his head while he was drinking; third, the choppy water made it impossible to sight jellyfish because of reflection. As we approached Scotland, the wind was blowing from the south, but simultaneously the ebb currents of the rising tide were moving southwards, we had a wind against tide situation which creates very rough water."

Nearing the Scottish coast, skipper Nelson was concerned that the rising tide, which floods towards Portpatrick. "With a natural tendency to veer right, this was to augment the problem for Milko, as right, heading from Bangor to Scotland, means south. Thankfully, heeding a great number of gestures, whistles and hollers from Marcel, Milko was able to maintain a good course along with the boat."

The onshore breeze was creating a hostile landing place for Milko, with waves crashing against the cliff face and frothing quite dramatically. "Exhausted and cold, Milko gradually pulled closer to the rocks. Despite the current, he swam to maintain a course north of Portpatrick village for touchdown. In the final yards before touching land, Milko actually disappeared in white froth before his two hands became clearly visible against the black rocks."

Photo and report from Irish Long Distance Swimming Association observer Andrew Coyle together with escort boat captain Quinten Nelson, Milko van Gool, and Irish Long Distance Swimming Association president Billy Wallace in photo above.

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

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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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.

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