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Sunday, March 2, 2014
Good Turns Versus Poor Turns In The Open Water
Great pool swimmers know how to quickly get in and out of the walls - and how important that skill is. World-class pool swimmers gain momentum as they streamline off the wall with maximum velocity. The incredible power of Michael Phelps and the beautiful grace of Natalie Coughlin off the walls are truly something to watch.
Do open water swimmers really have bad turns? Pool (flip) turns, maybe. But what is considred a good open water turn? How are these turns executed?
There are 5 major distinctions between pool flips turns and open water buoy turns.
1. TIME TO EXECUTE
A pool swimmer focuses on a good turn once he or she reaches the backstroke flags. In and out of the walls in a flash, the world’s best pool swimmers tuck tightly and propel themselves with powerful underwater kicks.
In contrast, the world’s best open water swimmer are thinking about their turns far in advance - many times at least 200 meters before they hit the turn buoys. They are either pushing the pace to gain optimal positioning or moving around their opponents within a pack so they will not be squeezed as the field swims around the buoy.
While pool swimmers only take seconds to traverse between the backstroke flags and wall, the “turn” time of an open water swimmer can be 2-3 minutes, a strategist's dream.
2. SOLO vs. PACK
In a controlled environment with 2-meter+ wide lanes and multiple lane lines separating them from the nearest competitor, pool swimmers focus entirely on their own technique in and out of the walls where every tenth counts.
In stark contrast, open water swimmers are always cognizant of their competitors in the pack. They must protect their head, arms and body with aggressive or inexperienced swimmers all around them. One errant elbow, one kick of a heel, or a tangled set of arms can quickly lead to a sudden loss of 2-5 meters.
While a pool swimmer can lose precious of tenths of a second to a competitor, an open water swimmer can lose several meters or be injured at the turns. If this physical contact forces the swimmer out of the racing pack, they may never be able to regain their position in a fast-moving group. Tough turns equal tough luck.
3. 180º vs. 90º
A pool swimmer swims in one direction, turns and swims back in the opposite direction. They practice and master these 180º turns every day in practice.
In contrast, open water swimmers face a number of types of turns throughout their career. Some races require turns going in the clockwise direction, which are generally harder for a right-handed swimmer. Other races require turns going in the counter-clockwise direction, which are generally harder for left-handed swimmers. Some races have different types of turns even within the same race. Many races require a combination of turns in both directions.
Some races have 180º turns where the swimmers make U-turns around the turn buoys. Some races have 90º turns where heels and legs can hit swimmers following behind. Some races have 45º turns that require different techniques. Some races in windy or wavy conditions, especially when the buoys are anchored in deep water, have turn buoys that are moving.
Like individual medley swimmers who master four different types of turns in the pool, open water swimmers must master innumerable different types of turns that come with years of practice.
4. SINGULARITY vs. MULTIPLICITY
The turn efficiency of pool swimmers is entirely their own responsibility. In and out of the walls, the pool swimmer is an individual swimming alone.
In contrast, when a large pack of open water swimmers enters the turn area, everyone except the lead swimmers get squeezed. For those swimmers in the back of the pack, the loss relative to the leaders becomes multiplied. The leader can extend his or her lead to a greater extent over the fifth-placed swimmer than over the second-placed swimmer.
If an open water swimmer falls behind to positions beyond fifth, the loss around the turn buoys is generally multiplied.
5. PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT
Pool swimmers practice their turns every workout. Swimmers can be confident that their turns will be the same in a pool in Los Angeles and a pool in London. The backstroke flag, the black cross on wall and the vertical concrete surface are the same in every pool.
In contrast, open water swimmers usually only get to practice turns at the race course within a couple of days before the race. In many local races, the turn buoys are anchored on the race day morning.
Also, each turn must be navigated with different sightings and, occasionally, with or against different currents.
Some races have large orange marine buoys; other races have small buoys that are partly hidden behind swells, the sun's glare or escort boats within the swimmer's line of sight.
Open water swimmers may have less efficient or powerful flip turns than their pool counterparts, but they still have a lot to think about when navigating in and out of their own turns in the open water.
Photo by Dr. Jim Miller at the 2007 FINA World Championships in Melbourne, Australia.
Copyright © 2014 by World Open Water Swimming Association
2014 Global Open Water Swimming Conference
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...
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Open Water Swimming Magazine
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2014 Open Water Swimming Almanac
An Almanac for Open Water SwimmingAn 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.
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