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Friday, September 27, 2013

Breaking OWT In The Pool For The Open Water

Open water butterflyer Brian Suddeth made a visit to the Meadowbrook Pool in Baltimore, Maryland to visit the swim center where Michael Phelps trained. He attended a session called BreakOWT, a 3-hour training seminar geared on helping pool swimmers make the transition to open water swims.

The sessions were taught by trainers from Michael Phelps Swimming in cooperation with Swim Across America.

"It was pretty neat to make a 'pilgrimage' to the place where this master of his craft got his start. The place obviously is showing wear as it has been around for many years, but that wear was caused by thousands of people to visit year after year to swim, socialize and enjoy the atmosphere. They have a white sand beach near the pool, so the regulars refer to it as 'THE Baltimore Beach.'"

The BreakOWT is a 3-hour course that presents concepts and allow its participants to figure out what works for them. The BreakOWT sessions help prepare pool swimmers for their first open water event, specifically for the Swim Across America charity fundraiser event. "A significant part of the class was focused on specific things related to the logistics of that event, and calming nerves and expectations," explains Suddeth. "The course has the advantage of letting you experience in microcosm many of the challenges you may experience in the event. This class is not for the experienced or competitive openwater swimmers who are already successful; it is for newbies who are full of what if's. It's not about how to win a triathlon, but how to enjoy open water swims in a relatively non-competitive atmosphere."

With a maximum of 25 participants, the amount of individual attention each swimmer receives is maximized. "The sessions included several cycles of presentations and discussion, then opportunities to put skills into practice in the pool. The effective skills and drills practice was focused on experiencing some of the issues in open water swims, seeing how you can cope with them. Our instructors suggested that each swimmer keep what is working for them, and put the rest aside, concentrating on only 3 drills that will challenge you, work for you, and give you a new focus in your practices."

The participants were mostly concerned with swimming off course (sighting mechanics), water quality (germs, pollution, cloudiness), contact (bumps and bruises from other swimmers, aquatic creatures, and underwater objects), hydration and fueling (what to eat before the swim, how to stay hydrated during the swim, and the recovery after), panicking, water temperatures, wearing wetsuits or not, waves, and lost goggles. "The goal of the instructors was to give the students either a tool or knowledge to deal with an issue, or the experience of actually dealing with it in the water. We did several basic drills to let the instructors understand the level of each student. For example, relaxed breathing out through nose underwater, vertical float, stroke mechanics and general swim style, and the 4 B's of swimming: breathing, buoyancy, balance and body position. This was followed by drills in sighting techniques (alligator style with goggles only, full face pop-up, and full torso up) and sighting on distant objects in line with the buoys.

The instructors reminded us that we are swimming in a group, not alone, and there are plenty of support kayakers, and markers around to keep a sheep from straying too far from the flock. We practiced rolling from full front down to full front up and back again. This was to help the swimmer remember to relax and breathe and a key coping skill needed to deal with panic, panting, goggle issues, cramps, contact, and other surprises. The key to finishing is to stay comfortable, confident and relaxed so you can continue. A key skill for fighting panic is to slow down, breathe deeply and bring the rate of your breathing down and get past the feeling so you can continue safely
.

To deal with goggle issues like leaks, fogging, and getting goggles knocked loose, we filled our goggles and started to swim, then halfway down the lane, had to clear them as we progressed. This was primarily a just-do-it exercise to let swimmers experience a challenge and cope with it. Just experiencing the issue, and dealing with it on the way is helpful, as most pool swimmers stop and grab the floats, or the poolside when they deal with goggle issues. That isn't practical in the open water."

Even the most basic elements of open water swimming events were covered. "Since event caps and timing chips are required and most of the attendees didn't use caps and hadn't dealt with the ankle bands before, the instructors discussed and demonstrated cap and ankle band fitting for comfort and minimizing annoyance.

One of the more useful drills they did was getting used to the start. They put a buoy out and had us run down a ramp in the kiddy pool, start stroking, loop around the buoy, and return. We did this singly, by two's, and finally in a group of five, with one of the instructors in the group swimming over and under us to help us experience minor contact. This was followed by a longer "mini-swim" with several buoys to swim around. Since the "Cuisinart start" mixed in with more competitive swimmers is one of the things many people have a concern about when they first start open water swimming, it was quite comforting for the newest swimmers to get a feel for what it will be like. I could see the rising confidence in their eyes after doing that a few times
.

The instructors were patient, had experienced the specific Swim Across America event the students were training for before, knew the course and event day logistics, and were able to field all sorts of random questions. My own open water style is a bit off the norm, but the instructors were even able to do some observations of my butterfly stroke, and give me a bit of tuning feedback to help me extend better and improve my dolphin rhythm. The course was reasonably paced, packed with event-specific details, and geared toward helping each participant figure out how to beat their own confidence boogieman."

Courtesy of Brian Suddeth.

Copyright © 2013 by World Open Water Swimming Association

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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.

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

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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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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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There are, of course, many different kinds of almanacs.

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The trends are very clear.
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