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Sunday, July 28, 2013

The Boys Will Bring Us Home...Across The Bering Strait

Nuala Moore and dozens of other like-minded extreme swimmers from all around the world are currently on their way to the Diomede Islands. They will soon embark on what is, by far, the most dangerous and risky open water swimming relay in human history.

They will participate in an unprecedented 86 km relay of the entire distance of the treacherous Bering Strait.

Ireland's Moore explains her thoughts about her upcoming adventure near the Arctic Circle from Russia to Alaska.

"I can’t really explain the level of excitement that we are feeling in taking on the Bering Strait. It is somewhere between juvenile abandonment, absolute respect and genuine fear. The moment where you know you have to walk the walk, where despite all the wants and wills in the world at the end as a team we will bow to the power of nature. If we get through it, it will be because it was possible, not because we are great. And if we don’t, then it was have been fantastic that we tried, either way without doubt swimming in the Bering Strait will be the sum of the team involved and not any one moment."

Moore has completed a number of relay swims: the English Channel in 20 hours and the Round Ireland stage swim in 56 days, but this Bering Strait Swim will push her and her teammates in unprecedented ways. "There has never been a double crossing of the North Channel at 12ºC in a relay so bringing the temps lower to 3-7ºC, it’s hard to say if 40 hours would be adequate as swimming in these temps is much slower movement in the cold."

She understands the elements that the relay expedition may face.

"I think the variable that we need to look at is the massive movement of water of 3,000 meters deep from the Bering Sea upward and North into the Arctic through a small mouth and shallow that is the Bering Strait. How will the water react? Will it run strait or as it looks will it eddy northeast or northwest? Will we be carried backwards for as many hours just to stand still like the North Channel or are calculations based on constant progress? To find this out is all part of the adventure? The pilots will no doubt know the Bering, but will they have any idea how a body propelled by arms and feet react to the movement in the Bering?"

Great questions whose answers will be forthcoming. "One thing for certain in a fortnight, weather willing we will know. We have a ton of questions and to be honest there is no sense of entitlement, just a sense of wonder.

I love to consider adventure as swimming imitating life. We can only swim the water in front of us and even though hypothermia is one of the biggest challenges associated with the swim such as the multiple immersions. 8 hours between legs of the relay may seem like a long time, but if cold takes hold inside than the second and third immersions, it may have its own challenges

Moore asks herself a number of as-yet unanswered questions. "Will the core temperature recover enough to risk the fourth immersion? Will the challenge of not getting adequate sleep and recovery/nutrition affect our heart rate and blood pressure? Will the veins loosen enough to allow the blood through? We need to keep our anxiety levels down both in and out of the water. Most of us have completed 20 minutes at these temps before but it is the back-to-back impact.

How will the transfers work from rib to ship? We have suggested that the minute the swimmer finishes the stint that a rope is thrown to secure the swimmer in case the next stroke is overwhelming and just a stroke too far. It will important to stop with your back to the waves, and not lift your goggles off your eyes, if you do lift downwards. This is does not mean it is dangerous, it just means we are managing risks.

And they manage risk through simple tools as well as sophisticated communications equipment. "We are bringing whistles to tie to our swimwear. I would not hesitate to blow hard if we need to attract attention and also lights for our swim togs and hats. What is the procedure and signals to get a swimmer from the water immediately in the event of marine life? What is their recovery procedure? What is the separation of swimmer to rib procedure in volatile water, both for the swimmer and the crew? How will be lifted from the water into the ribs? In the cold it is difficult to pull your body up. What about the engines? If one swimmer is slow getting in and the other swimmer is gone on then how will that work on the rescue cover? How will the walk up the gangplank work in the cold and wind of the Arctic?"

The team is gathering only days before their actual swim, but they will have lots to do before they embark on history's most potentially dangerous open water swimming relay where literally everyone could be easily lost at sea. "We have suggested a harness to hold onto, but will also ask to do a dry run of everything before we leave shore. Once there are procedures, there should not be panic but this is where the trust comes in. We can’t do the job of the crews and they cannot do ours. They may be as worried about putting us into this water as we are of them not being able to watch us in the water. But this is where meeting of teams come into play. Without a doubt, the trust will be a challenge."

Many relay members have completed a mile at 3ºC+. Some have swim over an hour in even lower water temperatures so they all know the inherent risks. "But seeing and knowing how the impact of all of these swims have on the body and the cost to the physical and mental, we can only wonder in absolute awe and amazement at the ability of Lynne Cox to complete 4 km in 2 hours at these temperatures. We wonder at the impact of completing these distances in volatile water as opposed to a somewhat controlled environment which most of us operate in?

We have little fear about the swim. We are filled with absolute excitement and respect. If we feel for a second that this is not possible, there is no shame in that. The winter swimming at 0ºC in Russia in Tyumen and Murmansk has allowed us experience intense swims, bone with the other swimmers, and respect the approach that each of us has and the amazing sense of adventure and team spirit that exists in the cold water world and swimming in general. Over the years, we have existed with such excellent rescue cover at home where we accept that the teams we work with are constantly working to get us there.

As Anne Marie [Ward] mantras "The boys will bring us home...

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.


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...


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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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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 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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