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Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Mallory Mead Channeling Confidence And Camaraderie

Mallory Mead is hosting a 4-day Manhattan Beach Channel Swimming Clinic in Southern California on April 24th-27th. The intensive channel swimming camp is held at the Terranea Resort, site of Catalina Channel crossing finishes, and at Manhattan Beach where marathon swimmers of note have been swimming back and forth 2 miles between the Manhattan Beach and Hermosa Beach piers for decades.

The 2-mile stretch is lined with lifeguard stations and sports multi-million-dollar mansions where celebrities and moguls can feel the Pacific Ocean breezes and gaze out upon the white sand beaches crowded with roller skaters, cyclists, joggers and beach volleyball players.

The water temperature in April is ideal for training for the English Channel to the Catalina Channel, hovering about 15-16ºC (60ºF).

Mead, a professional marathon swimmer who has completed the Triple Crown of Open Water Swimming, will coach along with safety support personnel as well as visits by other channel swimmers around Southern California.

Register before February 15th and the cost is reduced to US$1,250. For registrations received after February 15th, the cost is US$1,500.

While Mead will take the swimmers through all aspects of channel swimming, her camp also offers a channel to lifelong friendships. "I did my first marathon when I was an 18-year-old from northern Indiana. Until then, I didn't know anyone who swam open water regularly, let alone marathon distance or channel swims. I went into my first race completely unprepared logistically, mentally, or physically, and it took me a few big swims before I really understood what I was doing. My first five years in the sport were somewhat isolating, and each swim was a means to an end, a checkmark on the list of must-dos before sporting retirement."

But then a transformation occurred that is often experienced by others: the experience of open water swimming becomes a lifestyle.

"Once I started making friends in the sport, I found that it had so much more to offer me than just a list of accomplishments. I found that the sport offered me opportunities for creating lasting friendships with like-minded people, self discovery, opportunities for personal growth, and the chance to be a part of something bigger than myself."

Once the open water swimming lifestyle is fixed, then a mindset shift occurs that becomes almost evangelical. "At some point, I felt compelled to share my knowledge and experience with newcomers to the sport and I set out to design a clinic. Coming up with the curriculum wasn't difficult, I only needed to think back to my time as a newbie, all the mistakes that I have made over the years, and all the things I wished I had known earlier. It was important to me that my alumni leave with the knowledge, tools, and support to be successful channel swimmers, as well as a sense of reverence to the rich heritage of the sport."

Mead's graduates are sticking together after last year's clinic. "I think one of the greatest things about this format is the sense of camaraderie. Last year's alumni are growing up as swimmers together. They cheer one another on and they share in each other's triumphs and disappointments. They are attending races together, crewing for one another, and advising one another. They inspire one another, they motivate one another, and I'm quite certain they will be friends for life."

For more information, visit here.

Copyright © 2014 by World Open Water Swimming Association

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