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Monday, July 22, 2013

To The Wise And Patient Comes Victory, Gianniotis Wins 10K

66 men from 38 countries stood at the starting line of the 10 km world championship race under the warm 28ºC (82ºF) Spanish sun. Amid an enthusiastic crowd lining the shores and enjoying a stunning summer day in Barcelona, this race was different than the norm for the highest echelon of men.

For starters, they looked nervous and proved it with one of the few false starts in recent history.

But the veterans were calm. That combination of composure and confidence would later prove the difference in the race.

Once the massive field dove in the water, the men took a page from the women's book of tactics and strategy. A la Keri-Anne Payne, Oussama Mellouli of Tunisia wrestled early control over the field. He confidently led the huge group around the red turn buoys.

Like the top women, the Tunisian - currently the dominant man in the open water swimming world - challenged the rest of the field to stay with him. The scrum behind Saturday's 5 km world champion dealt the situation as best they could, especially in the midst of the obvious physicality of a huge scrum.

Like a school of fish, the entire pack instinctively swam 25 meters within one another as they continued around the first few loops. Sloshed left and right, the early physicality and warm conditions were bound to have an effect on the race during the second half. Mellouli, Sean Ryan of the USA remained in the early lead and enjoyed cleaner waters than those who remained in their wake.

But veterans lurked quietly in the midst of the confusion and commotion. They would not show their hands until the end of the race.

Like their female counterparts, the pack generated plenty of whistles and yellow cards from the referees. Competitors like Brian Ryckeman of Belgium found themselves in unavoidable situations and were called early for impeding. As the race progressed in the first half, Mellouli and Ryan, both well-known for leading the pack early, settled down the pace a bit and allowed men like 19-year-old Axel Reymond at his first world championships to take over the lead at a 5 km per hour pace while others like Chad Ho of South Africa positioned themselves towards the front.

Banging and slamming into one another, the referees did their best to keep the physicality to a minimum, but the aggression and intensity were a far greater catalyst of action than whistles by officials. By the first loop with Mellouli, Jack Burnell of Great Britain, and Sean Ryan willing themselves into the lead, Lijun Zu of China was red carded (disqualified) while the rest of the tightly-bunched pack continued to scramble in and around the turn buoys and feeding stations.

As the men cruised and churned up their own turbulence on a flat-water day under cloudless skies, Mellouli kept trying to push the pace and made continuous surges building into larger leads during the second loop. But the chase group, led by Canada's Richard Weinberger were not about to let Mellouli get too far of a lead. Like a cycling peloton, they lured MellouliEric Hedlin, who nearly upset Mellouli in the 5 km on Saturday, joined his Tunisian nemesis, Australia's Rhys Mainstone-Hodson, and Britain's Burnell in the front together with the always savvy Thomas Lurz of Germany.

While Aussie Mainstone-Hodson forged into the lead just after half, Mellouli and at least 30 aggressive men followed behind. With another 50 minutes to go, the race was still up for grabs with only half the starting field dropped. The lead pack was seemingly glued together with a revolving door of leaders in the front. Daniel Fogg, fifth at the 2012 London Olympics, moved up during the second half to increase his odds.

But the veterans played their cards right. Like poker players in a casino, they wore their dark goggles, never wavered, and hide their hands until it counted.

And they do not start counting their chips until the last loop.

As the race continued back and forth during the second half, Spyridon Gianniotis of Greece was patient. The 2011 10 km world champion had decided to sit out the 5 km on Saturday. But he was cautiously confident of his chances in the 10 km. Like a grand master playing chess in the open water, Gianniotis was always lurking in the lead pack but never in the front on the front half. He knew the movie was far from its conclusion until the last loop. The Greek soldier waited and waited. Like Socrates, he was about to teach his younger colleagues a lesson in strategy.

"It was unbelievable today", Gianniotis said to FINA's press agent. "I wanted to swim three laps comfortably and then get out in front on the final lap. Whenever anyone swam next to me I pushed up the pace. I'm quite good at sprinting. I watched Mellouli race in his 5km and I know that he has more speed than me."

Gianniotis patiently bid his time until the last loop. Then it was time. And when it was time, he hit the accelerator and made Greece proud.

With 200 meters to go, he surged into a 5-meter lead with France's Damien Cattin-Vidal, Mellouli, and Lurz in the chase group. No one else was in contention. But it was a swim of pure pain. "I pushed it in the last 300 meters just to stay ahead. In the last 50 meters I never felt so bad. I almost fainted I was so tired."

But like a man being chased by two hungry sharks, Gianniotis swam to safety and sealed a victory with a powerful statement and a wise strategy backed by incredible stamina and speed.

Real-time race reports courtesy of Theodore Yach. Final race results are as follows:

1. Spyridon Ginniotis (GRE) 1:49:11.8
2. Thomas Lurz (GER) 1:49:14.5
3. Oussams Mellouli(TUN) 1:49:19.2
4. Damien Cattin-Vidal(FRA) 1:49:19.8
5. Richard Weinberger (CAN) 1:49:19.9
6. Ferry Weertman (NED) 1:49:20.3
7. Allan Do Carmo (BRA) 1:49:26.2
8. Chad Ho (RSA) 1:49:19.3
9. Christian Reichert (GER) 1:49:26.8
10. Guillermo Bertola (ARG) 1:49:28.4
11. Brian Rycheman (BEL) 1:49:29.3
12. Simon Huitenga (AUS) 1:49:29.7
13. Rhys Mainstone 1:49:30.4
14. Valerio Cleri (ITA) 1:49:30.5
15. Jack Burnell (GBR) 1:49:30.6
16. Chris Bryan (IRL) 1:49:33.4
17. Sergey Bolshakov (RUS) 1:49:34.5
18. Gergely Gyurta (HUN) 1:49:34.6
19. Igor Chervynskiy (UKR)  1:49:40.6
20. Kane Radford (NZL) 1:49:43.0
21. Yasunari Hirai (JPN) 1:49:52.8
22. Jan Posmourny (CZE) 1:49:54.4
23. Eric Hedlin (CAN) 1:49:54.5
24. Johndry Segovia (VEN) 1:49:59.7
25. Ventslava Aydarski (BUL) 1:50:00.2
26. Yuto Kobayashi (JPN) 1:50:17.4
27. Miguel Angel Rozas Lopez (ESP) 1:50:18.0
28. Martin Miguel Carrizo Yunges (ARG) 1:50:18.4
29. Igor Snitko (UKR) 1:50:18.9
30. Santiago Paul Enderica Salgado (ECU) 1:50:20.2
31. Ivan Alejandro Enderica Ochoa (ECU) 1:50:20.6
32. Antonios Fokaidis (GRE) 1:50:20.7
33. Vasco Gaspar (POR) 1:50:20.7
34. Kirill Abrosimov (RUS) 1:50:22.5
35. Iván de Jesus López Ramos (MEX) 1:50:22.8
36. Yuval Safra (ISR) 1:50:23.5
37. Thomas Snelson Kilbride (ESP) 1:50:25.1
38. Daniel Fogg (GBR) 1:50:29.0
39. Arseniy Lavrentyev (POR) 1:50:31.7
40. Axel Reymond (FRA) 1:50:33.0
41. Zhang Zibin (CHN) 1:50:55.4
42. Alex Meyer (USA) 1:51:01.8
43. Mario Sanzullo (ITA) 1:51:07.7
44. Luis Bolanos (VEN) 1:51:09.6
45. Phillip Ryan (NZL) 1:51:11.3
46. Shahar Resman (ISR) 1:51:13.6
47. Jan Kutnik (CZE) 1:51:15.1
48. Miguel Alejandro Hernandez Martinez (MEX) 1:51:17.6
49. Vitaliy Kuhdyakov (KAZ) 1:51:42.8
50. Sean Ryan (USA) 1:51:43.7
51. Hercules Troyden Prinsloo (RSA) 1:51:48.0
52. Diogo Villarinho (BRA) 1:53:20.3
53. Zagrani Mohamed Amine (TUN) 2:03:03.3
54. Youssef Hossameldeen (EGY) 2:03:05.3
55. Francisco Montero (CRC) 2:03:27.6
56. Vladimir Tolikin (KAZ) 2:04:47.6
57. Vicentel Vidal Kubiersky (CHI) 2:05.14.7
58. Rodolfo Sanchez (CRC) 2:06:50.7
59. Ching Leung Sunny Poon (HKG) 2:06:55.8
60. Manuel Meneses (GUA) 2:09:15.8
61. Chun Hong Li (HKG) 2:09:17.5
62. Addul Hady (INA) 2:10:46.2
Mandar Anandrao Divase Adel Ragab (EGY) DNF
Saleh Mohammad (SYR) DNS
Lijun Zu (CHN) DSQ

Copyright © 2013 by World Open Water Swimming Association

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2014 Global Open Water Swimming Conference

Learn more...
Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

2014 Global Open Water Swimming Conference Agenda

Friday, 19 September



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



Registration and Coffee at Mount Stuart House, Isle of Bute, Scotland



Keynote Speech:
Colleen Blair (Scotland) on The History of Scottish Swimming



Christopher Guesdon (Australia) on Multidimensional Roles In The Sport



Colin Hill (England) on Recent Explosion in UK Open Water



Shelley Taylor-Smith (Australia) on The Feminine Code of Achievement - How a Lady from Down Under Revolutionized Professional Marathon Swimming



Simon Murie (England) on Open Water Swimming Holidays: How A New Sector Was Created Within The Travel Industry



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)



Coffee and Break



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]



Alexey Salmin Pavlovich (Russia) and Dmitry Dragozhilov (Russia)
on the 2016 Winter Swimming World Championships [film]



Sally Minty-Gravett (Jersey) on Motivating Swimmers



Dmitry Blokhin (Russia) and Aleksei Veller (Russia)
on the First World Ice Swimming Championships [film]



Matthew Moseley (USA)’s Dancing With The Water, Crossing of Lake Pontchartrain [film]



Simon Holliday (England) and Doug Woodring (Hong Kong)’s The Clean Swim – Hong Kong to Macau 2014 [film]



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]



International Swimming Hall of Fame (ISHOF) Introduction Video.
Welcome speech by host Shelley Taylor-Smith (Australia)






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



Registration and coffee at Mount Stuart House, Isle of Bute, Scotland



Nuala Moore (Ireland) on The Mindset of 1000m at 0ºC



Admiral Konstantin Sidenko (Russia)’s Bering Strait Swim Chukotka - Alaska in 2013 [film]



Ned Denison (Ireland) on Swimming The World



Bruckner Chase (USA)’s Blue Journey-Amerika Samoa
Stronger Together: The Waterman’s Way



Rok Kerin (Slovenia) on Lifestyle Benefits From Open Water Swimming



Survey distribution and group photo-taking



Swim at Stravvana Bay, Isle of Bute


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

A Thank You Gift from WOWSA

WOWSA is celebrating the
1-Year Anniversary of the monthly Open Water Swimming Magazine
by giving you a free copy of the anniversary issue.

Open Water Swimming Magazine Anniversary Issue
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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

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.

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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Open Water Swimming Event Sanctioning

World Professional Marathon Swimming Federation

Open Water Race Calendar

Coaches Education Program