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Monday, March 3, 2014

Going Back To The Place He Loves - The Sea

The Canary Islands (Spanish: Islas Canarias) are a Spanish archipelago located 100 km off the northwest coast of mainland Africa from the border between Morocco and the Western Sahara. In this outermost region of the European Union, one of the few people in the world to complete a full Ironman, an Ice Mile and Oceans Seven channels, Pádraig Mallon set out to complete a Travesia la Bocaina, a 15 km channel crossing between Fuerteventura and Lanzarote.

Pádraig Mallon completed the Travesia la Bocaina with a delight that shone all the way from the Canary Islands to Ireland. "I was so delighted about doing this swim and enjoyed it so much. Lanzarote is a beautiful place and if you’re in this part of the world, it’s a great swim with lots going for it."

After a great summer of challenging swims, Mallon's right shoulder had been giving him pain. "A lot of hassle," summed up the tough Irishman. "I had to stop swimming to give it a rest and to get treatment that took a lot of time. My wife Clare and I decided to take a holiday to Lanzarote for some sun. Clare is learning how to swim and has been training in the pool all winter. She was looking forward to getting into the sea for a bit of practise in the open water. Since I finished the North Channel in August, I had not really been in the open water except for some winter swims."

So one thing led to another and Mallon found himself in the sea with Clare. "Almost immediately, I found what I had lost – my love for the open water - most of all, the sea. After a few swims along the coast of Lanzarote passing nice beaches and cliffs, I was enjoying the rhythm of the sea and the energy I got from the ocean." After one swim along the coast of Lanzarote, Mallon knew he was back in business.

And it did not take him long to set off on another adventure.

"That evening we were relaxing by the pool and looking out to the ocean, I saw a small island in the distance. I wondered where it was. It was Fuerteventura.

He was mesmerized.

"It was so close that it looked like a mirage from the poolside. The cogs in my mind started moving. One look at Clare and she knew what I was thinking. Usually our journeys to foreign tropics involve some sort of sport like triathlon, kite surfing or swimming."

There was no point changing something that works. "After some research, we learned of a race called B15K."

But he only had four days left of his vacation. "If I was to complete the swim, I had two days to work the magic. We set of to find a pilot at the port of Playa Blanca which is the same departure port for the two large ferries to and from Fuerteventura. We asked around the port and talked to some of the local fishermen. We got some weird looks when I asked, 'I’m looking for an escort boat from here to Fuerteventura.' Each man pointed at the ferry. When I explained, 'I’m looking to swim over,' I got looks of disbelief."

But disbelief ultimately turned to the direction of a man named Carlos. Carlos lived in a small dwelling near the harbour. "The sign on the door said ‘back in one hour’ Good things come to those who wait. And within the hour, as true to his word, Carlos returned. We chatted about the swim and he was willing. He was calm and relaxed in his nature. It felt reassuring and I knew this would be a great adventure."

After a discussion of tides, currents and sea conditions, the pair knew the deal was done. Two days later at 7:30 am, Mallon was at the harbour, ready to head over to Playa Blanca with his new collaborator. "I knew I have been out of real training for some time and just getting over my shoulder injury, but it all felt right. My gut was saying it’s ok and life’s for living. Besides, I might never be back here. The distance calculated was to be about 15 km or 14.7 km to be exact."

Husband and wife put their plan together and executed it as they envisioned. "We talked on the way to the start about how I visualised the swim and what was going to happen regarding siwm pace and feeding. Carlos was the right man for the job: no hassle and calm. Currents and ferry routes led us to Punta del Papagayo on Lanzarote as the start."

Close as the men had become, there was still a misunderstanding. "As I prepared, Carlos said 'neoprene' as he pointed to my bag. I said 'no neoprene' to which he replied 'maybe 16°C'." Mallon jumped in laughing. He swam to the rocks at Punta del Papagayo and stood up for the start. For the ice swimmer and North Channel stud, the water was not only crystal clear, but also just the right temperature for a good swim. The watch started at 8:13 am and almost immediately Mallon got into his usual rhythm. "I’m far from the fastest swimmer; slow and steady wins my race. The first hour came very fast and with that was my first feed. We had all the feeds made up into 125 ml bottles. Clare threw the feed out to me and down it went. After this, I would take a feed every ½-hour. We had it planned for 5 hours with some extra feeds just in case things didn’t go to plan."

On the Lanzarote side of the channel, the swim was calm and pleasant. The wind came from the southeast and peaked at 11:00. "As the morning went on, I felt strong [but had] to look after those shoulders and don’t go mad." By the halfway point, Mallon had been going at a good pace. "I looked back to Punta del Papagayo and could see the progress. It felt good. I could see Lobos island coming closer, but the closer we got, the rougher the sea became. As Lobos island came up on our left, the progress slowed and almost to a stop at one stage. I could see this quite clear the island was not going past too fast. The current was coming around the island and we had been fighting the head on current. It took 1 hour 30 minutes to get past Lobos Island and out of the grip of the current. For 2 km I played a great mental battle and this was great training for my mind. I could feel the grip of the current loosening as we started to make progress."

As the inter-island ferries continued plying between the islands throughout the day, the sea became choppy with a northwest swell hitting a northeast wind. "I knew it was harder for Clare as she can get seasick. but I checked every time she fed me. She had found her sea legs and she too was learning."

As Mallon approached Corralejo on Fuerteventura, Carlos steered him towards the light house. "I had to pick up my speed to get in before the ferry left the port or Carlos would have had to take me from the water until it passed. I made it to the harbour wall of Corralejo. The swim took 5 hours 1 minute. My two shoulders held up well and I felt great and got a great hug from Clare. The boat trip back to Playa Blanca was pretty rough but back at Playa Blanca, we went for a beer and had a great lunch.

It was so good to be back in the place I loved - The Sea

Mallon could not be more happy about the swim. "The Bocaina Strait Swim is great winter training swim for any long distance swimmer. It has the currents, changing sea conditions, a great pilot, a good swim plan, feeding regime, a good team and warm water. Carlos was the right man for the job and was delighted we had made it safe to Fuerteventura."

Copyright © 2014 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.

2014 Global Open Water Swimming Conference Agenda

Friday, 19 September



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



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



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



Christopher Guesdon (Australia) on Multidimensional Roles In The Sport



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



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



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



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)



Coffee and Break



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]



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



Sally Minty-Gravett (Jersey) on Motivating Swimmers



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



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



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



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]



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






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



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



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



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



Ned Denison (Ireland) on Swimming The World



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



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



Survey distribution and group photo-taking



Swim at Stravvana Bay, Isle of Bute


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

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.

Swim Across the English Channel...


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...

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