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Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Open Water Swimming - Experiential And Episodic

We had the great pleasure of meeting Olympic champion Shane Gould and her husband and renowned coach Milt Nelms in the South Pacific at the Fiji Swims.

It was great to hear the couple talk about their swimming experience through the years - and learn of their interest in open water swimming.

It was clear that swimming is their lifelong passion.

Nelms, one of the world’s leading experts and innovators in swimming technique, has worked with many of the world’s best swimmers and served as a consultant to organizations and governments around the world on teaching swimming to people of all ages, abilities and backgrounds. For someone who has been around pool decks his adult life, Nelms talks poetically about open water swimming.

"The concept of ocean swimming is very appealing to me. We spend all day in some sort of a figurative (or real) box moving back and forth according to someone else's rules or instructions. Not so in the ocean. You go out, you come back. That is enough, and to me, it is a lot."

Nelms was eloquent when describing the differences between open water and pool swimming.

"Pool swimming is very quantitatively driven. If you go to a meet, such as sectionals or any large age group meet, they are really not about racing as much as they are about times. At sectionals where there are 180 girls entered in the 100 free, how many are racing mana-a-mano? Not more than a handful. There are many entire heats of 8 virtually identical times.

In pool competitions, a non-gratifying physical experience with a fast time is seen as a success, or a pleasurable physical experience can be deflated by a bad time. In a pool competition, a close race that is won and yields a slow time often is a disappointment. Similarly, a race that is lost but yields a fast time is celebrated. Take the seconds and the centimeters out of either of those situations and you would have a different reality."

On the shores of the idyllic Treasure Island in Fiji, Nelms continued on about open water swimming. "Oceans swims are experiential and episodic. There is no distraction of miniscule measurement, only generalities of thirds or halves that are inexact because of other variables such as wind, tides, or currents. It is the quality of the experience at different levels, or pure strategic racing that defines the event."

Nelm's description of open water swimming is spot on: it is experiential and episodic whether one is swimming in a 1 km workout, doing an ice swim, part of a relay or doing an ocean race in an ocean, lake, river or bay.

Copyright © 2014 by World Open Water Swimming Association

A Thank You Gift from WOWSA

WOWSA is celebrating the
1-Year Anniversary of the monthly Open Water Swimming Magazine
by giving you a free copy of the anniversary issue.

Open Water Swimming Magazine Anniversary Issue
File Size: 13MB


Download the file to your computer, and then right-click to extract the magazine which is inside the zip folder. The magazine is in PDF format.

CLICK HERE to download your free copy now.

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...

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 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:

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


Open Water Swimming Event Sanctioning

World Professional Marathon Swimming Federation

Open Water Race Calendar

Coaches Education Program