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Tuesday, July 16, 2013

An Adventure Like No Other In The Mighty Red River

Sandra Bergquist from Minnesota finished a close third to Karen Zemlin and Jen Schumacher in the 27-mile (43 km) Extreme North Dakota Watersports Endurance Test (END-WET) in 7 hours 1 minutes and was more than pleased with the organization.

"The folks at END Racing are a great bunch of people. The effort they put into this event is second to none. They get the city of Grand Forks, North Dakoto involved in all aspects of the event. They are a very family-oriented group of adventurers who really care about what they do.

Andy Magness and Rob Treuer are the brains and brute behind END Racing. They are traditionally an adventure, biking, running outdoor group, a real grassroots organization. They also have a non-profit run called Ground-Up Adventures that aims to educate and promote youth adventure-based activities. There is always a small-town feel and family atmosphere to the entire event from the test swims to the actual event
."

Her appreciation goes beyond the men at the top. "The volunteers at END–WET put all other event volunteers to shame. They have so many people doing so many things. They aer all happy and just as excited as you are to be there and witness this event. For a city where they say “DON’T swim in the River”, the community really opened up for every swimmer and their families. Everywhere we went in town, people knew and were excited about END-WET. It was similar to Dover, England when everyone thinks that you are crazy for attempting the channel. Everyone thinks you are crazy for swimming in the river.

But like many things in the open water, the success of the event was not guaranteed. "As recent as a week before the race, the Red River of the North was in flood stage that put the race in jeopardy. [Husband] David (shown on left) and I went up the weekend before the swim for a test swim. I got in the water on top of a row of trees that had been underwater due to river flooding. It was a complete different experience then last year, but just as fun and rewarding."

As it turned out, things changed for the better.

"The waters receded days before the race so with the increase in water and river flow rate, expectations were for an extremely quick race with times expected to drop over 3 hours from last year's event. The water dropped even more right before race day with a stage of approximately 17.5 feet, and a flow of 7,200 cubic feet/sec, a seven-fold increase in rate of flow."

On Friday evening after the pre-race technical meeting, there was a showing of Big River Man in an antique fire hall from the early 1900’s. "We had an introduction from Martin Strel who denied drinking as much as the film depicted. Martin was there in support of one of his son Borut’s good friends, Patty Hermann. Martin also sponsored our Open Water Swim series last summer."

The race began at 8 am on the Minnesota side of the river near Grand Forks and East Grand Forks. The start was a rough slab of cement covered in the famous Red River Mud. The field swam about 1.75 miles up to the portage, a 0.25-mile run up the muddy embankment of the river, across a parking lot and down a equally muddy boat ramp and back into the river. The portage was necessary to avoid a low head dam.

Magness explained about the mucky water, "There is no visibility whatsoever. The turbidity - the amount of suspended sediment - is very high. The quality of the water though is also high. It's one of the cleanest rivers in the state, safe to swim in, and doesn't smell or taste bad."

Landon Ascheman has left a new comment on your post "An Adventure Like No Other In The Mighty Red River...": "It was fantastic," said Landon Ascheman who finished in 9 hours 24 minutes. "I did catch the whiff of one fish around mile 22, but that's not bad at all. In my opinion, it was healthier to swim in the Red River than in the pool. In most chlorinated pools I can last about 4-6 hours before the chlorine forces me to quit with a hacking cough. No problem in the river."

After a few miles back in the river, Karen Zemlin was in front Jen Schumacher by about 4 minutes. Bergquist was another 3 minutes behind Schumacher. For the next 10 miles, Schumacher and Bergquist battled for second, switching positions a few times and following Zemlin's lead. At the half-way point, a group of 30 people lined the edge of the river cheering on the competitors and their support kayakers as Zemlin reached the halfway in 3 hours 43 minutes. Schumacher (3 hours 45 minutes) and Berquist (3 hours 46 minutes) were close behind. "Jen and I stayed close, changing positions a couple of times for the next 7 miles. Around mile 22, Jen found some current and made a push to catch Karen."

With 2 miles remaining, Schumacher caught Zemlin to make it an exciting culmination as they fought for the lead until the end. About 200 yards from the finish, Schumacher was in the lead going under 2 large bridges as she swam in towards the edge of the river while Zemlin stayed in the middle. Zemlin's choice was the best one as she caught the current and passed her rival with less than 100 yards before the finish. Zemlin stood up first and ran up the boat ramp 15 yards inland, about 20 seconds ahead of Schumacher.

"The guys at END Racing aim to keep costs low so that anyone from anywhere has the chance to swim a marathon or any of their adventure races. The prizes are not extravagant, but the real prize is getting to experience essence of putting your body through something as grueling a 27 miles in a muddy river in the middle of nowhere in North Dakota and Minnesota. I found a connection and was able to appreciate the river for what is was. And I couldn't be happier for my teammate Karen Zemlin! Who better and more deserving to set the course record and such an amazing inspiration all the way."

Bergquist summed up the second edition of END-WET, comparing it to the inaugural event in 2012. "This year the field was much stronger and the times much faster. The swimmers had to adjust to the stronger current which would move me quite a bit when I could catch it right, but it had so many reverse currents and eddies that you were fighting them at other times. The water is so mucky that you cannot see your hand in front of your face.

Racing with the best made you feel like you belonged with them and cutting 2 hours and 12 minutes off of last year’s time felt great. Finishing third only 3 minutes behind the first and second place swimmers was an amazing accomplishment, but it left me wanting to do it again and to get the win next time
."

And at the end of the day, it was an adventure. "Mud, mucky water, rocks, trees and limbs not to mention a car in the riverbank and some other amazing sights. Eagles soaring overhead and huge catfish nipping at your feet. What an amazing adventure. In most races you can look up and see where you need to go but in this race you really can’t see very much so you have to trust your guide boat even more than normal.

The results:

1. Karen Zemlin (Minnesota): 6 hours 58 minutes
2. Jen Schumacher (California): 6 hours 58 minutes
3. Sandra Bergquist (Minnesota) 7 hours 1 minutes
4. Robert Naylor (Iowa) 7 hours 22 minutes
5. Scott Jensen (North Dakota) 7 hours 23 minutes
6. Rob McClellan (California) 7 hours 35 minutes
7. Michael Johman (Kentucky) 7 hours 36 minutes
8. Carl Selles (Colorado) 7 hours 42 minutes
9. Tim Root (Louisiana) 7 hours 47 minutes
10. Patricia Hermann (Texas) 7 hours 50 minutes
11. John Kenny (Winnipeg, Canada) 7 hours 52 minutes
12. Susana Maxi Martinez (Virginia) 8 hours 0 minutes
13. Molly Nance (Nebraska) 8 hours 2 minutes
14. Ben Smith (North Dakota) 8 hours 32 minutes
15. Amanda Hunt (Illinois) 8 hours 41 minutes
16. Mary Staples (Georgia) 8 hours 48 minutes
17. Franco Prezioso (Maryland) 8 hours 53 minutes
18. Jacob Reed (Missouri) 8 hours 59 minutes
19. William Murtha (North Dakota) 9 hours 17 minutes
20. Landon Ascheman (Minnesota) 9 hours 24 minutes
21. Richard Schoenborn (Florida) 9 hours 28 minutes
22. Matthew Compton (Georgia) 9 hours 33 minutes
23. John Brackett (Florida) 9 hours 51 minutes
24. Caleb Kobilansky (North Dakota) 10 hours 9 minutes
25. Dan Projansky (Illinois) 11 hours 0 minutes

Copyright © 2013 by Open Water Swimming

3 comments:

  1. Thanks for the awesome write up Steve and Sandra. One comment about the water though that i wanted to make sure to get out there - Sandra is right - there is no visibility what so ever... the turbidity (amount of suspended sediment) is very high. The quality of the water though is also high, it's one of the cleanest rivers in the state, safe to swim in, and doesn't smell or taste bad. But we're ok if people want to call it mucky (:

    ReplyDelete
  2. It was fantastic. I did catch the whiff of one fish around mile 22, but that's not bad at all. In my opinion it was healthier to swim here than in the pool. In most chlorinated pools I can last about 4-6 hours before the chlorine forces me to quit with a hacking cough. No problem in the river.

    ReplyDelete
  3. i ran into that too! i think there was one around like mile 5 or so. the river is VERY clean. and safe to swim in. had a blast swimming!
    thanks for such a great event!!! seriously amazing!

    ReplyDelete

Thank you very much for your interest in the world of open water swimming.

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.

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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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