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Thursday, March 6, 2014

A Hardened Crowd Heads To Connecticut

Just as the Who's Who of channel swimmers heads to Dover every summer and multitudes of triathletes head to Kona every October, the open water swimming crème de la crème of East Coast America came out to the inaugural Cold Water Challenge in Fairfield, Connecticut last November.

Whether it is the International Winter Swimming Association, the International Ice Swimming Association or winter swimming associations in China or the Czech Republic, jumping into water from 0-5ºC is becoming as hip as it is heroic. Never before has cold water swimming (a relative term) or ice swimming (a specific term) been as popular, locally or globally.

Connecticut is one of those pockets - like Melbourne and Rio de Janeiro - where the community of open water swimmers has established for reasons that may be a combination of its proximity to the ocean, its overall marine mindset, and the success of early personable pioneers in the sport.

Connecticut has been long known as North America's equivalent to Europe's Isle of Jersey and Africa's Cape Town where both these communities have the unusual penchant for developing renowned marathon and channel swimmers. Headlined by swimmers like Liz Fry and Dr. Marcy MacDonald, the New England community is close-knit and supportive of hardened cold-water swimmers of any age, ability and background. From Maine to Rhode Island, from Vermont to Massachusetts, pods of swimmers who venture out in the cold water year-round are challenging themselves to go faster, further and colder.

On the West Coast of America, Aquatic Park and La Jolla Cove are the gotta-do-it cold watering holes of winter. In the Midwest, the go-to venues are in Lake Michigan and Indianapolis. In the South, Tampa Bay and Tennessee come to mind. Their equivalents on the East Coasts of America are Coney Island and Connecticut. All eight locations are the year-round training grounds for people - generally over the age of 40 - who have the time, talents and temperment to train for the English Channel, Triple Crown of Open Water Swimming and, ultimately, the Oceans Seven and unprecedented solo swims around the world.

As these individuals push themselves to go faster, further and colder, their training regimens must change. They push push themselves in training faster, further and colder. Taking a page out of their European channel training manual, these cold-water marathon swimmers are swimming earlier and earlier into the winter. Essentially, preparation has become a year-round, non-stop, ever-dynamic training. Just as 60 is said to be the new 50; 50 is said to be the new 40; and 40 is said to be the new 30 (related to chronological years), so it is with the water temperature. 60ºF is the new 50ºF; 50ºF is the new 40ºCF; and 40ºF is the new 30ºF (where there is a mixture of salt and fresh water). What is judged to be impossible or undesirable in the 20th century is now deemed to be fashionable and desirable.

When these athletes push themselves to the nether regions of cold and the upper regions of distance, they discuss and congratulate each other on Facebook. This phenomena further brings together the community and the vortex of new goal-setting and new swims continues to spin faster. "If she can do it, so can I so the mindset goes," explains Steven Munatones of the World Open Water Swimming Association. "This may be oversimplying and inaccurately reading the tea leaves of the open water swimming world, but women seem to want to become part of the social fabric of swimming while men seem to want to do one better than their swim buddy. But just as the competitiveness of the men and the camaraderie of the women is clear to see, women can be just competitive with each other and men are just as collegial with their mates, whether they swim with them in person or only know them through online social networks."

Andy Davis (shown above), one of the co-founders of the 5.2-mile Cold Water Classic along with Liz Fry, Jim Bayles and Kevin Lederer, explains their cold-water competition. "What started as a few local swimmers who enjoy getting outside in April and May for open water swims has developed into the establishment of fall and early spring swimming challenges that are a lot of fun. We anticipate 25 to 40 participants in the Cold Water Classic this May. It all depends on how cold the water will be."

The goal of this May’s Cold Water Classic swim is to create a safe event targeted for marathon swimmers with experience swimming in sub-60 degree water. "Our goal is to host a local event held in a low-key environment where swimmers can continue to acclimate themselves to the season ahead," describes Davis. In a course pioneered and popularized by the event founders off the shoreline of Connecticut, the elite of East Coast marathon and ice swimming community - from Elaine Howley to David Barra - are expected to come out to enjoy the swim from jetty to jetty at Penfield Beach.

"Jim and Liz introduced me to cold water swimming several years ago," recalls Davis. "We like to get the most out of swimming outside in the Long Island Sound during the year before heading back to the pool. Typically we go from mid- to late April to early November. We‘ve swum in water as cold as 50ºF (10ºC) which is our personal threshold."

Bioprene-proud Barra was ecstatic about last year's Cold Water Classic. "The event was great fun. It was an intimate field, but due to the fact that these late season events are so few, the Cold Water Classic managed to attract swimmers from Maine to Delaware. We enjoyed pretty flat water and an unseasonably warm autumn day made it a fun post-swim social gathering."

Judging from the buzz, it is going to be quite some 2014...and the Cold Water Classic will help kick it off.

Copyright © 2014 by World Open Water Swimming Association

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Thank you very much for your interest in the world of open water swimming.

The Staff of the World Open Water Swimming Association

2014 Global Open Water Swimming Conference

Learn more...
Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

2014 Global Open Water Swimming Conference Agenda


Friday, 19 September

5:30

PM


Welcome Reception at Mount Stuart House, Isle of Bute, Scotland

Documentary films shown throughout the reception:

Blue Journey-Amerika Samoa – Stronger Together: The Waterman’s Way
(film by Bruckner Chase)

Dancing With The Water, Crossing of Lake Pontchartrain
(film by Wayne Ewing about Matthew Moseley's Lake Pontchartrain crossing)

Bering Strait Swim Chukotka - Alaska
(film by Admiral Konstantin Sidenko about the relay between Russia and Alaska)

The Clean Swim – Hong Kong to Macau
(film about Simon Holiday's Pearl River Delta crossing)


Saturday, 20 September

9:00

AM


Registration and Coffee at Mount Stuart House, Isle of Bute, Scotland

10:00

AM


Keynote Speech:
Colleen Blair (Scotland) on The History of Scottish Swimming

10:20

AM


Christopher Guesdon (Australia) on Multidimensional Roles In The Sport

10:30

AM


Colin Hill (England) on Recent Explosion in UK Open Water

10:50

AM


Shelley Taylor-Smith (Australia) on The Feminine Code of Achievement - How a Lady from Down Under Revolutionized Professional Marathon Swimming

11:10

AM


Simon Murie (England) on Open Water Swimming Holidays: How A New Sector Was Created Within The Travel Industry

11:30

AM


Swimming The Oceans Seven
A round table discussion moderated by:
Kevin Murphy (England), with Stephen Redmond (Ireland), Anna-Carin Nordin (Sweden),
Darren Miller (USA), Adam Walker (England), Kimberley Chambers (New Zealand)

12:30

PM


Coffee and Break

1:00

PM


World Open Water Swimming Awards Luncheon:
with co-hosts Shelley Taylor-Smith (Australia) and Steven Munatones (USA)

Pádraig Mallon (Ireland), 2013 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year

Olga Kozydub (Russia), 2013 World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year

Bering Strait Swim, 2013 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year

Honoring: Vladimir Chegorin, Maria Chizhova, Elena Guseva, Ram Barkai, Jack Bright, Oksana Veklich, Aleksandr Jakovlevs, Matías Ola, Henri Kaarma, Toomas Haggi, Nuala Moore, Anne Marie Ward, Toks Viviers, Melissa O’Reilly, Ryan Stramrood, Cristian Vergara, Craig Lenning, Rafal Ziobro, Andrew Chin, Jackie Cobell, James Pittar, Paolo Chiarino, Mariia Yrjö-Koskinen, Ivan Papulshenko, Zdenek Tlamicha, Zhou Hanming, Oleg Adamov, Andrei Agarkov, Alekseev Semen, Tatiana Alexandrova, Roman Belan, Elena Semenova, Alexander Brylin, Afanasii Diackovskii, Vladimir Nefatov, Evgenii Dokuchaev, Oleg Docuckaev, Roman Efimov, Dmitrii Filitovich, Olga Filitovich, Victor Godlevskiy, Olga Golubeva, Alexei Golubkin, Alexander Golubkin, Alexandr Iurkov, Oleg Ivanov, Pavel Kabakov, Eduard Khodakovskiy, Aleksandr Komarov, Aleksandr Kuliapin, Andrey Kuzmin, Irina Lamkina, Vladimir Litvinov, Andrey Mikhalev, Victor Moskvin, Nikolay Petshak, Sergey Popov, Vladimir Poshivailov, Grigorii Prokopchuk, Dmitrii Zalka, Natalia Seraya, Viacheslav Shaposhnikov, Olga Sokolova, Andrei Sychev, Alexei Tabakov, and Nataliia Usachaeva [represented by Admiral Konstantin Sidenko and Nuala Moore]


2:30

PM


Alexey Salmin Pavlovich (Russia) and Dmitry Dragozhilov (Russia)
on the 2016 Winter Swimming World Championships [film]

2:50

PM


Sally Minty-Gravett (Jersey) on Motivating Swimmers

3:10

PM


Dmitry Blokhin (Russia) and Aleksei Veller (Russia)
on the First World Ice Swimming Championships [film]

3:30

PM


Matthew Moseley (USA)’s Dancing With The Water, Crossing of Lake Pontchartrain [film]

3:50

PM


Simon Holliday (England) and Doug Woodring (Hong Kong)’s The Clean Swim – Hong Kong to Macau 2014 [film]

5:00

PM


International Swimming Hall of Fame (ISHOF)
and International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame (IMSHOF)

IMSHOF Induction Ceremonies and Dinner
with co-hosts Shelley Taylor-Smith (Australia) and Steven Munatones (USA).

Recognition of International Swimming Hall of Fame honorees:

  • Elizabeth Fry (USA), IMSHOF Honour Swimmer

  • Vojislav Mijić (Serbia), IMSHOF Honour Swimmer

  • James Anderson (USA), IMSHOF Honour Administrator

  • Dr. Jane Katz (USA), IMSHOF Honour Administrator

  • Indonesian Swimming Federation Open Water Committee (Indonesia), IMSHOF Honour Organisation

  • Melissa Cunningham (Australia), Irving Davids – Captain Roger Wheeler Award by the International Swimming Hall of Fame and IMSHOF Honour Swimmer

  • Sandra Bucha (USA), ISHOF Honor Open Water Swimmer and IMSHOF Honour Swimmer

  • Jon Erikson (USA), ISHOF Honor Open Water Swimmer and IMSHOF Honour Swimmer [represented by Sandra Bucha]

6:30

PM


International Swimming Hall of Fame (ISHOF) Introduction Video.
Welcome speech by host Shelley Taylor-Smith (Australia)

6:45

PM


Dinner

7:30

PM


International Swimming Hall of Fame (ISHOF)
Induction Ceremonies and Dinner with host Shelley Taylor-Smith (Australia)

Recognition of International Swimming Hall of Fame honorees:

  • Mercedes Gleitze (England)
    ISHOF Honor Pioneer Swimmer and IMSHOF Honour Swimmer
    [represented by daughter Doloranda Pember]

  • Dale Petranech (USA)
    ISHOF Honor Contributer and IMSHOF Honour Administrator

  • Claudio Plit (Argentina)
    ISHOF Honor Open Water Swimmer and IMSHOF Honour Swimmer
    [represented by Shelley Taylor-Smith]

  • Judith van Berkel-de Nijs (Netherlands)
    ISHOF Honor Open Water Swimmer and IMSHOF Honour Swimmer
    [represented by Niek Kloots]

  • George Young (Canada)
    ISHOF Honor Pioneer Swimmer and IMSHOF Honour Swimmer
    [represented by the Catalina Channel Swimming Federation]

  • David Yudovin (USA)
    ISHOF Honor Open Water Swimmer and IMSHOF Honour Swimmer


Sunday, 21 September

9:00

AM


Registration and coffee at Mount Stuart House, Isle of Bute, Scotland

10:00

AM


Nuala Moore (Ireland) on The Mindset of 1000m at 0ºC

10:20

AM


Admiral Konstantin Sidenko (Russia)’s Bering Strait Swim Chukotka - Alaska in 2013 [film]

10:40

AM


Ned Denison (Ireland) on Swimming The World

11:00

AM


Bruckner Chase (USA)’s Blue Journey-Amerika Samoa
Stronger Together: The Waterman’s Way
[film]

11:20

AM


Rok Kerin (Slovenia) on Lifestyle Benefits From Open Water Swimming

12:00

PM


Survey distribution and group photo-taking

2:00

PM


Swim at Stravvana Bay, Isle of Bute






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."


Copyright © 2014 by World Open Water Swimming Association

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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

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