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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Pleasure, Pain, Passion And Purpose Of Marathon Swimming

"He's a fish outta water."

That comment is made frequently about good swimmers by their less aquatically-oriented friends on terra firma.

It certainly applies to Evan Morrison, co-founder of the Marathon Swimmers Forum.

The Princeton University graduate has turned his life-long passion for swimming into a lifestyle...and bringing many more like him along for the swim.

Whether it is bumpy and lumpy in a rough ocean, or cool and calm in a tranquil lake, Morrison brings youthful energy and a sharp intellect to the sport where he feels so comfortable.

And with good reason.

"I was born with a dislocated left hip, medically known as congenital hip dysplasia.

With a timely diagnosis, this wouldn't have been a huge issue, but unfortunately the problem went unnoticed for the first 18 months of my life. By that time I had done considerable damage to the joint. I had four major hip operations by the time I was 12
."

The fortitude that Morrison demonstrated as a marathon swimmer in the Swim the Suck, Tampa Bay Marathon Swim, Manhattan Island Marathon Swim, Catalina Channel, Ederle Swim and Santa Cruz Channel was also demonstrated early in his life. "Swimming was one of the few activities where I wasn't limited by my hip. I learned to swim at the age of 3 and started competitive swimming at 7."

But the road to the marathon world took an unanticipated turn. "The operation when I was 12 allowed me to live fairly normally through middle school, high school, and college. I could not play any contact sports or do extended running, but I could get around reasonably well, and most importantly - I could swim.

In my mid-twenties I started having increasing pain due to the deterioration of cartilage in my hip. I started off with ibuprofen, then went to increasingly massive doses, then prescription nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like Vioxx and Celebrex. But then I couldn't take it anymore and went to the student health center at Stanford. Within a few weeks, I had a surgery scheduled at Stanford Medical Center for a total hip replacement. This happened when I was 25
."

After the surgery, Morrison returned to swimming with the Stanford Masters Swim Team even before he was allowed to walk. His passion knew no boundaries. "I used my crutches to get to the edge of the deck, then sort of flopped into the pool. It was great," he recalled with great appreciation.

After his road back to recovery, he stuck with the pool for another three years. But then he discovered the open water and has never looked back. "My hip feels great. No contact sports for the rest of my life, but I'm pain free and can walk, hike, and swim to my heart's content."

To a certain extent at least. For he acknowledges and accepts the sacrifices that comes with marathon swimming. "Like any ultra-endurance sport, pain is just part of the game when you are swimming across a channel. Because pain is inevitable, the question becomes: How do we deal with it? How do we manage it? I see an interesting subtext that is actually quite common among life-long marathon swimmers: masochism or the pleasure in pain."

For someone who had to deal with so much pain in his young life, Morrison remains profoundly observant. "Masochism is a great strategy for dealing with the pain of a marathon swim. If we embrace pain as inevitable and even - dare I say - pleasurable - then it cannot defeat us."

In a special way that distance swimmers can appreciate, Morrison relishes in the realm of pain, willingly accepting and embracing discomfort levels as a competitive age-group swimmer. "In my youth I trained with a talented, tough group of distance swimmers including [Olympian] Mark Warkentin. We learned early on the rewards of hard work, and came to see pain in almost a positive light. [Therefore] my transition to marathon swimming as an adult was relatively smooth, in large part because I approached swim training with a certain sense of masochism from an early age."

The pleasure and pain, coupled with a deep sense of purpose and passion, that Morrison possesses vis–à–vis marathon swimming are shared by his colleagues on the innovative Santa Barbara Channel Swimming Association. Along with Jim Fitzpatrick, Scott Zornig, Lynn Kubasek, Cherie Edborg, Theo Schmeeckle, Jane Cairns, Dave Van Mouwerik, Evan Morrison and Rob Dumouchel (shown left to right in the photo above), the Association was nominated for the 2913 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year for its progressive action in the world of channel swimming.

Its nomination reads, "Frequently visible from the mainland, the 8 Channel Islands of California are increasing looming large in the mindset of channel swimmers. Channel swim courses between the mainland and among the islands present possibilities that are capturing the attention of the open water community. While decades younger than other channel governing bodies, the Santa Barbara Channel Swimming Association is pushing the envelope of what and how channel swimming governance can be. In 2013, its board of directors has instituted a new rules and standards including the elimination of drafting off escort boats, the use of swim caps, and the discarding of disposable cups. For its far-forward vision of a responsible future of the sport, for its growing reach among the channel community, and for its passionate group of volunteers, the Santa Barbara Channel Swimming Association is a worthy nominee for the 2013 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year.

Other nominees for the World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year include a variety of products, services and concepts in the open water swimming world:

1. 21 Yaks and A Speedo, Storytelling Life Lessons by Lewis Pugh (U.K.)
2. Amphibia Sports Ring, Simple Silicone Solution For Swimmers (Ireland)
3. Bold & Beautiful, A Pod by the Shore (Australia)
4. Driven, Documenting Distance and Dedication (U.S.A.)
5. FINIS Agility Paddles, Training Tools of the Trade (U.S.A.)
6. Global Open Water Swimming Conference, Culminating In Cork (Ireland)
7. International Ice Swimming Association, Cooling To The Extreme (South Africa)
8. Ocean-navi, Navigating Throughout The Pacific (Japan)
9. Ocean Swimming & Prone Paddleboarding for Athletes with Spinal Cord Injuries (U.S.A.)
10. Open Water Swimming Manual: An Expert's Survival Guide by Lynne Cox (U.S.A.)
11. Oru Kayak, Origami of the Open Water (U.S.A.)
12. Ouma Academy, Swimming The Sea (Tunisia)
13. Plastic Disclosure Project by Ocean Recovery Alliance (Hong Kong)
14. Santa Barbara Channel Swimming Association, Far Forward Thinking In The Ocean (U.S.A.)
15. Swim Smooth, Styling Streamlined Swimming (Australia/U.K.)

Online voting takes place here.

Photo shows the Santa Barbara Channel Swimming Association board members including Jim Fitzpatrick, Scott Zornig, Lynn Kubasek, Cherie Edborg, Theo Schmeeckle, Jane Cairns, Dave Van Mouwerik, Evan Morrison and Rob Dumouchel (left to right).

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

Swim Across the English Channel...

OWSM-CM

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 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...
LEARN MORE

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.
LEARN MORE...

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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World Professional Marathon Swimming Federation

Open Water Race Calendar

Coaches Education Program