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Sunday, March 23, 2014

The Legendary Laura Val Rethinks What Is Possible

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

The legend of Laura Val is well-known in the global masters swimming community. But her mind-shifting, epoch-making approach to swimming improvement over one's lifetime bears further analyses:

Val grew up in Mountain View, California and realized success early. She made two USA Olympic Swimming Trials, a USA Swimming National Team and was world-ranked in the 100m and 200m butterfly.

"I swam for the Mountain View Dolphins until I was 17 which was the oldest you could be on that team. Then I went to Foothill College and swam for the Foothill Aquatic Club under coach Nort Thornton until I turned 21 and retired," she explains.

Having graduated from high school in 1969 in the era of no college swimming scholarships in America, she had no college swimming opportunities. "I quit swimming not because I was burned out, but because I was considered 'old'."

Once retired, Val did want former competitive swimmers did: went on with their lives. "My 20’s were spent becoming a registered nurse, starting my career, getting married, and having 2 children."

But then Val discovered something that would forever change her life. A friend told her about masters swimming.

"I discovered masters swimming in my early 30’s. It renewed my passion for training and competing. I feel a little cheated that I never had the college swimming experience. It seems to be a special bond that I missed out on."

Into her 30’s, 40’s 50’s and now 60’s, Val has utilized her undying passion into unprecedented swimming. "I have never slowed down. It is an important part of my life. It is my normal. It is my routine. I can tell you with certainty it is not because I didn’t achieve success as a youth, not trying to prove anything to anyone, not doing it so I can eat junk food, I’m doing it because I love to swim. Period."

So while she grew up swimming against Karen Moe, Lynn Vidali, Debbie Meyer, Lynn Collela, and Jane Swagery, legends of the 1960's and 1970's and training mega yardage, she has completely upended what swimmers can potentially do in the water as they age. "It was not unusual for me to go 20,000 meters in a day, 6 days a week. Today I rarely go over 5,200 per day. I average 6 days a week and go between 4,600 and 5,200."

But she is getting faster. Mind-boggling faster.

"I am swimming so much smarter today then when I was a kid trying out for the Olympics. I didn’t understand taper or pace or breathing patterns like I do now. For me it took 20 or 30 years to really learn how to swim right. I swam the 1968 Olympic trials in the 100m butterfly and did somewhere around a 1:07. At age 40, I did a 1:05."

Imagine that: a world-class athlete - one of the fastest swimmers in the world - in her teenage years...and faster as a 40-year-old.

But it was not only in one particular event that she improved. All of her best times performed during her teenage years were surpassed as she matured, worked full-time and raised children. "As a kid I never broke 56 in the 100-yard freestyle. At 49, I did a 53.2. I was never able to break a minute in the 100-yard butterfly as a kid, but I broke a minute at the age of 35, 40, 45 and 50."

Her constant improvement and comparison over the decades is telling and indicative of what can be possible. "When I was 55, I did a time in the 200 free that got me fifth at Senior Nationals when I was 19 years old. I would say between the ages of 40 and 50, I did my lifetime bests in every event, so I guess that’s when I peaked."

But Val continues to set age-group records and help others re-think what is possible.

Val won the women’s 60-64 age group at the 2014 Speedo One Hour Postal National Championship. The other national age-group champions at the One Hour Championship are as follows:

18-24: Andrea Nunez-Smith (19) 4,825 yard
25-29: Sara DiNardo (27) 4,600 yards
30-34: Katie McWilliams (30) 5,225 yards
35-39: Andee Bell (38) 5,055 yards
40-44: Dana Gianniny (44) 4,970 yards
45-49: Stephanie Stone (46) 5,125 yards
50-54: Denise Brown (54) 4,785 yards
55-59: Sharon Smith (55) 4,755 yards
60-64: Laura Val (62) 4,875 yards
65-69: Christie Hayes (65) 4,140 yards
70-74: Sarah Kopsky (72) 3,700 yards
75-79: Patricia Bond (75) 3,465 yards
80-84: Joan Campbell (83) 2,565 yards
85-89: Jeanne Meredith (85) 2,295 yards
90-94: Charlotte Sanddal (91) 1,585 yards

The historical background of the Hour Postal Swim is written here.

The men's age-group champions are here. The complete results of the men's competition are posted here. Complete results of the women's competition are posted here.

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.

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...

OWSM-CM

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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...
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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.
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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:
https://www.worldopenwaterswimmingassociation.com/preview-open-water-swimming-almanac


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

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