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Saturday, November 30, 2013

How Times Change In The Open Water

World open water swimming records are not kept by FINA for various reasons including because of the dynamic nature of open water venues. Competitions over the same distance differ in water conditions and temperature, weather and wind, marine life, the position and number of feeding pontoons, the number of swimmers, the position and number of turn buoys, course shape, use of a lead boat, currents, tides and surface chop.

All of these dynamic variables can have a direct and significant impact on the overall times of the swimmers.

To demonstrate this point, we reviewed the men's 10 km winning times at each of the races on the 2009 FINA 10KM Marathon Swimming World Cup professional circuit. The winning times ranged from 1 hour 34 minutes to 2 hours 5 minutes, a remarkable 31-minute time differential among the same athletes swimming the same GPS-marked distance:

Setubal (Portugal): Thomas Lurz 1:34:16
Dubai (UAE): Thomas Lurz 1:44:53
New York (USA): Thomas Lurz 1:47:41
Sharjah (UAE): Trent Grimsey 1:48:17
Lake Annecy (France): Thomas Lurz 1:52:08
Chun An (China): Thomas Lurz 1:55:10
Lac St-Jean (Canada): Alexander Studzinski 1:57:25
Copenhagen (Denmark): Thomas Lurz 1:57.40
Hong Kong: Thomas Lurz 1:58:22
Varna (Bulgaria): Thomas Lurz 2:01:31
Shantou (China): Thomas Lurz 2:03:15
Santos (Brazil): Simone Ercoli 2:05:44

Even when we reviewed the winning times on the exact same course year-to-year (2008 vs. 2009), there are still significant differences in the winning times:

Hong Kong: 1:46:1 in 2008 vs. 1:58.2 in 2009
Shantou: 2:06:5 in 2008 vs. 2:03.1 in 2009
Lac St-Jean: 2:04:1 in 2008 vs. 1:57.2 in 2009
Setubal: 1:52:4 in 2008 vs. 1:34:16 in 2009
Dubai: 1:48:5 in 2008 vs. 1:44:5 in 2009
Santos: 1:58:42 in 2008 vs. 2:05:44 in 2009

So rather than time or records, finishing first is the goal of elite open water swimmers. After his 2009 world championship victory in Rome, Thomas Lurz answered a question from the media about why he swam off-course, "My goal was to finish first, not to be worried how far or where I swam."

Although FINA does not recognize records for its 5 km, 5 km Team Pursuit, 10 km, 25 km and Grand Prix events (that can range up to 88 km / 54 miles), there are many other governing bodies in the open water swimming world that maintain records. Numerous records are maintained in the English Channel, Catalina Channel, Strait of Gibraltar, Cook Strait, Molokai Channel, Tsugaru Channel and North Channel.

There are a number of interesting differences between the pool and open water swimming records:

1. While pool records are held separately for both men and women, the channel swimming world generally mixes the genders together and only recognizes the fastest crossing regardless of gender.
2. While pool records are held for 2 different types of relay records (medley and freestyle relays), relay records in the open water swimming world include all kinds of categories: male, female, mixed, masters, juniors, and number of relay members.
3. While pool records include age-group categories for masters swimmers, channel records include records for oldest and youngest swimmers and relays.
4. While pool records are well-defined by stroke (butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke, freestyle and individual medley) and distance (50m, 100m, 200m, 400m, 800m, 1500m), the channel swimming world recognizes the earliest crossing in a season, the latest crossing completed in a season, the longest time in the water, most prolific swimmers, and the date of the first crossing - and the direction of the crossing as well as two-way and three-way crossings.

Of course, while records are great, the self-satisfaction and sense of achievement for open water swimmers can be profound for those of any age or ability. For all those open water swimmers who stuggle to finish a 1-mile swim or those marathon swimmers who literally crawl onto shore, making it and finishing a swim and crossing the finish line are truly rewards in themselves.

Photo by Phil White of Kingdom Games.

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.

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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