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Saturday, August 17, 2013

Nial Funchion Achieves His Goals And Keeps Going

Nial Funchion faces assumed challenges and unexpected confrontations during his marathon swims as he runs up against cold water, currents, tides, wind-generated surface chop, marine life, and boat exhaust in the dynamic environment of channels and lakes. His swims are neither easy task to prepare for nor to accomplish.

But he keeps going. And he continues to achieve his goals along the way.

He completed the Catalina Channel to become the 72nd person to achieve the Triple Crown of Open Water Swimming. And he keeps going, helping out others in the sport with his own aims to complete the Oceans Seven.

But Funchion also faces significantly more challenges and confrontations in the course of his daily life in the station and in the streets as a police officer.

This is one chapter of his story along the way:

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: Is swimming a stress reliever for you?
Nial Funchion: Swimming gives me a clean slate every morning. It keeps the internal system rolling; it clears the tubes you can say. But way more importantly, above all else, it fills up my gas tank.

This has been the routine for the past 22 years at UIC, 20 years of it being on the Police Department. The gas tank that’s gets depleted is my soul, my spirit. Chicago politics, bureaucracy, injustice, prejudice, hypocrisy, mistrust, etc., executes the soul over time and you are left with nothing but an empty shell if you are not careful. This is cold hard COMBAT, a salvaging effort that works due to the people and that you earn your accolades, your SPOT through discipline and effort. It is your opportunity to expose your true self, your core, your guts. I feel people need that. I do. It is the most functional environment, the best people, and filled with the opportunity to receive the most potent compliments but more importantly to GIVE those compliments. There is the practice. All this before 7:30 am
...

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: How many police officers swim as a form of recreation or fitness in your area?
Nial Funchion: I am the only one at UIC that I know of. It is a white rhino group, rare.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: What benefits does swimming provide you that translates to direct benefits for your job and health?
Nial Funchion: Mental health, in my opinion, is the biggest benefit. Maintaining a Champions Attitude. 20 years ago when I took this job I had one goal: to be able to recognize myself at the end. Being around people that do other things, functional, putting in an incredible effort every morning is just something I need to be around. It is the fish bowl that I want to live in. Physically, the benefits are starting to surface. I’m at the tail end of a career, been through the ringer, and I’m just warming up. I’m looking forward, seeking opportunities to tell some stories, write (learn how to spell), and make connections to people’s lives.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: How much money do you want to raise on your charity swims?
Nial Funchion: As long as I have www.beyondbreakwalls.org, I will give through that avenue. There is swimming involved and a financial element to it, but that is simply an avenue. I want to reach the soul, the spirit, of people especially patrolmen. Throughout the site, the words ‘it has nothing to do with swimming’ - swimming just gets me in the ring ready for the fight, the salvaging effort. If I was to put a dollar sign on it I would like to make a dent with $50,000 over the next 3 years through www.beyondbreakwalls.org.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: Why do you feel the need to give back?
Nial Funchion: Because I’m fortunate, I got lucky. Not everyone survives. They may make it to the end, but at a cost. The sacrifice is to great sometimes and it doesn’t need to be that way. The soul gets widdled away and all to often you end up simply existing, a shell (like the locust bug) of what you once were. The potential given at birth as a human being gets kicked to the curb all to often and then it’s just a matter of time. Waiting. I went the opposite direction. I still dream, I still have hope in my heart. This is what I give back. Hope and dreams are exemplified through swimming to other shores, it is the example of hope and dreams, no hypocrisy involved. I’m setting a trap to snare some souls, its priceless.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: Did you personally know any officers who were among The Fallen?
Nial Funchion: Absolutely. I remember being on a detail as the Tail 2 car for funeral processions and Presidential details which if it ‘hit the fan’ the procession would continue forward and the Tail 2 car would stay behind to render medical assistance/aid to whomever. This has the potential for disaster, but it was an honor to be in that position especially for the President. But I remember being worn out from all the funerals and it started to get under my skin, the faces started to become familiar. I became depleted after a while and couldn’t ‘fill my tank’ anymore, so I knew I had to back off for a while for a breather.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: Do you think of these individuals while you are swimming?
Nial Funchion: They are my carrots. I can see their faces sometimes and remember some of the experiences. I think of the sacrifice, their families sacrifice, and then when it gets rough in a swim, or my life, I cant justify giving in to any internal excuses.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: If you could say something to these individuals, what would it be?
Nial Funchion:Thank you.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: Why swim as opposed to doing a marathon run or climb up a mountain?
Nial Funchion: Because it has the components of risk, low odds of success, journey, mystery, but it exposes the intangibles of being a human being. You get in at one country and say you will make it to the other. Man that takes ***** guts. Living your live sometimes will take the same guts, same nerve, same strength. It will take stone cold dreaming and hope and its up to you under your own power, your own will, ‘It has nothing to do with swimming’ to make it to that other shore. You will live and become the example to those connections into people’s lives...never existing but living deep.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: As a general rule, do "bad guys" swim?
Nial Funchion: I never was concerned about bad guys in the early hours at the pool or at the beach. I have a personal theory that the discipline it takes to get up at those hours will separate many of those individuals from the mix.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: If you were chasing a bad guy and he dove into a lake to escape, how long would it take for you to capture him?
Nial Funchion: That would be an easy one...

For more information, visit Officer Funchion's website here.

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.

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.

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...
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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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The trends are very clear.
The tide is rising for open water swimming.

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