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Thursday, October 24, 2013

How To Build A Great Open Water Swimming Club

If there is anyone who embodies the expansive scope of open water swimming, it is Sally Minty-Gravett on the island of Jersey smack dab in the English Channel. From Channel swimmer to coach, from mentor to administrator, the personable swimmer has made swimming her life's work.

Soundly and strategically, Minty-Gravett has been building an outstanding open water swimming club in Jersey for four decades. She gave insight on how she did it at the 2013 Global Open Water Swimming Conference in Cork, Ireland this past weekend.

The Jersey Long Distance Swimming Club (JLDSC) was founded in 1974 by a small group of people. Touted as possibly the best little swimming club in the world, the club founders were keen to create a club dedicated to long distance sea swimming. “My parents were part of the group that formed the JLDSC,” explains Minty-Gravett. “For that I shall be ever grateful. As we all live on an island and pre-1969 there were no indoor pools. So most of us learnt to swim in the sea – hence why we loved it – and still do.”

The original swimmers, including Denize Le Pennec and Minty-Gravett, were competitive swimmers who competed regularly in the sea. Out of the original seven swimmers, four became English Channel swimmers. In 1975, they formed the JLDSC Channel relay team in the Matthew Webb Centenary Race. The average age of the team was 14, so swimming in the sea at a young age has always be part of Jersey Long Distance Swimming Club.

Over the years the club has grown from 10 people to 169 members with a good mix of people from various generations. At the high (i.e., far) end of the spectrum, JLDSC has 25 English Channel swimmers and a number of others who have completed Round Jersey swims, Catalina Channel crossings, and Jersey to France swims.

"The dedication of the committee over the years is what has made the club into what it is today," said Minty-Gravett. "The committee are either swimmers or parents of children who swim and credit must be given to the late and very great past presidents, parents and committee members including Leslie and Anne Minty, Fay and Tommy Devereux, Bernard and Maurice Lakeman, and Mike Kempster – all of whom were instrumental in starting, running and organising the club in its formative years."

Minty-Gravett fosters everyone's love of the sea and mentors those who swim in its ultimate theater. "The best way to experience a English Channel swim before you do it is a relay and juniors love doing relays as it is so much fun. And long distance swimming creates worldwide friendships – for life. There is great support within the club for all solo or relay swims that take place whether the swimmer is a visitor or a local. The youngsters are constantly surrounded by Channel swimmers, Round Jersey swimmers and swimmers who have accomplished a great deal."

But the Channel is not their only focus. "We are very lucky in Jersey that we have beautiful bays to swim in, and can always swim somewhere depending on the wind direction. But most of our Club swims take place in the safety of St.Catherine’s bay.

The swims are all very social and tailored to the swimmer's abilities and experience. Our experienced sea swimmers are asked to lead small pods of children. With children come parents and siblings. What invariably happens is that once one starts, then other family members join in
."

Besides creating an enjoyable ambiance, Minty-Gravett makes sure their progression matches their desires and abilities. "We progress the swimmers from boat to boat on a weekly basis before we swim point-to-point as they gain confidence in themselves and in us as leaders building up to a kayak day and night swims for all."

If there is a model for building a great swimming club, the Jersey Long Distance Swimming Club is certainly it.

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


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.

But the farmers almanac was just one example among many.
There are, of course, many different kinds of almanacs.

In fact, there is even one for open water swimming...

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The trends are very clear.
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