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Thursday, October 17, 2013

Recollections Of The Most Risky Open Water Swim In History

Nuala Moore, Jackie Cobell, Ram Barkai, Anna Marie Ward, Yrjö-Koskinen Mariia, Aleksandr Jakovlev and Dr. Nataliya Fatyanova, the Chief Medical Officer from Russia, presented fascinating photographs and behind-the-scenes information about the Bering Strait Swim at the 2013 Global Open Water Swimming Conference in Cork, Ireland.

Formally known as the First International Intercontinental Swimming Relay Across the Bering Strait, the Bering Strait Swim was a stage relay and, we believe, the most dangerous and risky open water swimming relay in history. With 66 swimmers ages 13 to 67 from 17 countries being guided and escorted by the large Russian crew in the unpredictable Bering Strait, there were a lot of people both on board and in the water who needed to be protected under some wildly dynamic conditions.

The swim started at Cape Dezhnev, Chukotka at 4:24 pm on August 5th with 66 swimmers ages 13 to 67 from 17 countries and 15 regions of the Russian Federation.

Major General Yuri Melnikov, Chief of Operations of the Eastern Military District in Russia was in charge of the event that conducted under the Cold Water Swimming Association of the Khabarovsk Territory and Aquatic Sport Federation of Amur Region. Logistical support was provided by the Eastern Military District Forces with Admiral Konstantin Sidenko in charge.

The escort ship was the Pacific Ocean Fleet’s Hospital Ship Irtysh which was supported by 3 RIBs that covered the swimmers. The team boarded the ship in Petro-Kamchatsky and took 4 days to get the starting point. During the time, they took medical examinations and participated in briefings, safety drills, and presentations, listened to the Guinness Book of World Records representatives, researchers, and kite surfers who traversed the Strait.

The swimmers started off in legs of 10-15 minutes with RIBs shuttling between the larger boat. However, the swim intervals varied with the conditions and water temperature. As each swimmer completed their changes with a high five, the relay rotated as planned continuously for the first three days, but then the team had to stop due to safety reasons.

When the conditions were judged to be safe, the relay commenced as the athletes and crew dealt with wind and fog with variable air temperatures and water temperatures between 2-10°C. “What was difficult were the transfers from the hospital ship to the RIB, in the water back to the RIB, then from the RIB to the ship. This took a lot of time where you would get wet and cold. There was anxiety getting in and out of the water in the ocean swells, but we were all looking out for each other. When the swells were large, the big Russian men on the RIB would grab us and haul us into the RIB in one smooth move. They would look us in the eye and just time catching us as the swells made things very difficult.”

Besides the exhaustion due to lack of sleep and living in close quarters living on a ship, Dr. Vic Peddemors told the team about the über-predator, the killer whale, in the area. “Up there I would be pretty sure that they feed on marine mammals, so they would potentially be interested in approaching a human swimmer. Personally, I would get out of the water.”

But despite the remoteness, there was trust and belief among the team. “This was an opportunity to go where very few people have been before. We did not know if this swim was possible, swimming from Russia past the Diomede Islands, over the International Dateline, passed close to Fairway Rock, and onto beach in Alaska,” summarized Moore. "We brought a lot of food and tea with us and people would want to talk and drink something warm between their swims. We built up great camaraderie and trust among us."

And it was that swimmer-to-swimmer and swimmer-to-crew trust was resulted in their ultimate success as they finished on August 11th – 144 hours 28 minutes or a little over 6 days - as the swimmers walked up on Cape Prince of Wales in Alaska 86 km after their start in Russia.

"We also received the help of the governments on both sides as the visa period had to be extended for two days," recalls Moore. "The Russians were very helpful, as were the Americans on the Alaska side. It all turned out well."

With memories to last a lifetime.

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.

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.

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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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.
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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...

Preview the Open Water Swimming Almanac:
https://www.worldopenwaterswimmingassociation.com/preview-open-water-swimming-almanac


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

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