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Tuesday, July 16, 2013
An Adventure Like No Other In The Mighty Red River
"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.
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
2014 Global Open Water Swimming Conference
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
Swim Across the English Channel...
Who else is looking for a qualified open water swimming coach to help them swim across the English Channel?Chloë McCardel is a 6-time English Channel Swimmer who inspires and instructs. Access featured content by Chloë in this month's issue of the Open Water Swimming Magazine. Published monthly by WOWSA, the Open Water Swimming Magazine is a digital, interactive publication made available exclusively to WOWSA members. See what you've been missing! Become a WOWSA member today!
Open Water Swimming Magazine
Open Water Swimming MagazineThe 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...
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.
2014 Open Water Swimming Almanac
An Almanac for Open Water SwimmingAn 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.
But the farmers almanac was just one example among many.
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:
The trends are very clear.
The tide is rising for open water swimming.