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Thursday, October 31, 2013
Damián Blaum Rising To The Top, But Not Alone
Maratona del Golfo Capri-Napoli began in 1954 and starts on the island of Capri and finishes 36 km on Marina Grande Beach in Napoli.
One of the competitors last year was Damián Blaum from Argentina, one of the most personable swimmers on the professional marathon swimming circuit. After 8 tough marathon swims when the Olympian was either too cold or too warm, too tired or too sore, he had a breakthrough year won his first FINA Open Water Swimming Grand Prix title this year. As a result, he was nominated for the World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year.
But despite jellyfish stings and jet lag, he races his friends and colleagues while competing together with his wife Esther Nunez Morena. Win or lose, his wide smile is his trademark. Fueled by a positive attitude, he certainly embodies the spirit of open water swimming and possess the sense of adventure, tenacity and perseverance that open water swimmers are known for. As he traveled between Europe and the Americas, he is always accommodating to race directors and fans and his upbeat spirit second to none.
Blaum train between 80,000 and 90,000 meters per week to participate in at least 10 marathon races per year. His is a uniquely grueling, pressure-packed lifestyle where his income depends on his performance.
But Blaum is neither alone in practice or in competition.
Back in 2003, both Blaum and Esther Nuñez Morera participated in a championship event in Barcelona. Then in 2004, they both attended another professional marathon swim in Argentina.
But they had not met yet. "We did not meet at the first two races where we both swim. We did not speak together at first. It took time, more than one season. First, we became friends and, like the other athletes on the pro circuit, we spent time together. It was nice."
But fast forward to 2010 and the pair got married. Now they train in the same pool under the same coach on the same team. And normally they do the same hard, long, grueling workouts together. "Sometimes our intervals are the same, but sometimes I finish before her. It depends on what we are doing that session."
Their lifestyle is uncommon; their joint training is unparalleled; their racing is unique.
With two professional athletes as a married couple doing the exact same events around the world, they even swim with each other during a race in the same pack. That kind of togetherness is unique throughout the entire world of professional sports. But Blaum takes it all in stride with the cool detachment of a professional.
"In the water, this is our sport. We are very professional. Each of us tries to do our own work in the pool and open water. When we go home together, we try to not speak about swimming. But in the Grand Prix races where the men and women start together and swim in a pack together for hours, we sometimes swim together. If I can do it in a pack, I can help her in the beginning. Of course, I will allow her to draft off me. I will do it for her, but it is not easy. There are many things happening in a pack. But if she is not in the pack, she may not be having a good race, so I get worried."
But the worries are far outnumbered by the obvious love they have for one another.
"We do normal things like a couple. I like action movies and she likes romantic movies. She is maybe more relaxed, but I always have to find something to do. I cannot just sit When we have free time, we go to the cinema or to beach. In Spain, we live 30 minutes from the beach, but we have homes in both Spain and Argentina.
She cooks very well and she is a very fast cook. We are lucky because we enjoy a Mediterranean diet with local fish, vegetables, pasta, a normal healthy diet. But when we are in Argentina, I am the manager of the barbeque," Blaum explains with a characteristically wide smile.
But like every couple, they have their differences. "Her favorite soccer team is Rio Plate; mine is Barcelona. We take the same drink in our races, but I like bananas. She eats sports bars. She takes the window seat on the airplane, I always sit beside her. In the car, it depends. On long drives, I normally take the wheel."
And they both know what works for them, being of the same mindset, enjoying the same lifestyle, born only a month apart in 1981. We have done the professional marathon circuit in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012, and now in 2013. More than 60 races. For years, they have swum and competed together. And they plan to continue doing it for a long time more.
Not hand-in-hand, but certainly stroke-for-stroke.
The nominees for the World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year include:
1. Alexander Brylin, Ice Swimmer from Siberia (Russia)
2. Damián Blaum, Around The World Marathoner (Argentina)
3. Darren Miller, Achieving the Oceans Seven (U.S.A.)
4. Doug Woodring, Energetic Environmentalism (Hong Kong)
5. Glen Christiansen, Recovering from Trauma (Sweden)
6. Jim McConica, Ageless Wonder (U.S.A.)
7. Jose Diaz, Horizontes Sin Fronteras (Spain)
8. Mally Richards, 60 Years In The Making (South Africa)
9. Oussama Mellouli, Olympic Ambassador (Tunisia)
10. Pádraig Mallon, Extraordinaire Event Director & Swimmer (Ireland)
11. Rafael Gutiérrez Mesa, Getting Things Strait in Gibraltar (Spain)
12. Thomas Lurz, World Champion (Germany)
13. Tomi Stefanovski, Mastering the Traversee (Macedonia)
14. Vojislav Mijić, Tirelessly Resilient Race Director (Serbia)
15. Wayne Riddin, Midmar Mile Miracle (South Africa)
Online voting takes place here.
Copyright © 2013 by World Open Water Swimming Association
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.
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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 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.
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