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Friday, May 30, 2014

What Happens In The Open Water, Stays In The Open Water

Photo of Kirsten Cameron by Antonia Steeg.

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

New Zealand masters swimmer Kirsten Cameron, a world record holder in the pool and a world-class open water swimmer, is the only female on the EC6 relay (Total Immersion in the English Channel).

Faced with a crew of men and 5 male teammates, Cameron knows how to deal diplomatically with the other gender.

Ever since her immersion in the open water, she has been together with her partner Mark Copsey and their relationship has been intertwined on both land and in the open water.

"Mark and I have been together since 2006 when I first got into open water swimming.

The first time he actively got involved in a race of mine was the 5.6 km Kapiti Island Swim, from Kapiti Island to the [North Island] mainland in 2007. Every swimmer had a boat and Mark was on the boat. At one point he waved to me. I thought, 'That’s nice, [but] I am fine thanks.' Then the marshalling boat cut by really close to me. I thought, 'That was a bit wrong.'

It wasn’t until I had finished that my father asked, 'So how big was the shark?' Apparently, Mark was waving at me to get closer to the boat as a shark had appeared. The marshalling boat cut between me and the shark, heading it off. As it turns out it was just a basking shark – they don’t even have proper teeth, but still, a shark is a shark
."

The next adventure on the high seas was when Cameron headed off on the FINA 10K Marathon Swimming World Cup professional circuit in Singapore and Hong Kong. She needed a feeding stick. "Mark worked up a feeding stick for me. He lovingly created it by hand – it was a doctored golf retrieval stick thing. Lets just say, it wasn’t beautiful, but it worked."

She returned to the FINA World Cup circuit in 2009, but her first race was the New Zealand Open Water Championships, a 10 km race in Wellington Harbour. "By this time, I preferred to carry my own feeds decanted into small plastic bags that burst easily when squeezed. But I like to have a backup. We didn’t have to use feeding sticks and I had asked Mark to have my drink bottle on a rope so I could grab it and swig, then let it go and he could pull it back. When I came around at the 5 km mark, I noticed he had taken the lid off the bottle. I wondered why, but fortunately I didn’t need to feed from him so I didn’t stop. Apparently he had overheard another coach saying it's best to have the lid off so that as much goes into the mouth as possible. That may be fine, but it wasn’t what I wanted or how I wanted to feed."

Over the next few FINA World Cup races, Cameron decided to carry her own feeds so she never needed to stop.

In 2010, she started to venture out to do other swims around the world. First up was a 3 km race in Fiji without an escort or feeding. It was followed by a 10 km marathon swim where Copsey volunteered to be her kayaker. "He shot off like a rocket with me chasing until I spat the dummy and yelled at him to bloody slow down. I was supposed to be able to see him and not need to look up and have to chase him. I also yelled that I needed a drink so he had to stop. That set the tone for the rest of the swim with me yelling every now and then, and then arguments over direction – one of the buoys had moved. But we survived."

In 2012, Cameron and Copsey went back to Fiji for the beautiful Denerau to Beachcomber race. Cameron had suggested earlier that he not kayak for her as they sat down for a heart-to-heart conversation. "I suggested to Mark that he should think hard about kayaking for me. But he wanted to. The night before the race, a couple of guys sat him down and explained to him the exact positioning of a kayak when guiding a swimmer."

In addition to a kayaker, each swimmer also had a boat. "Mark wasn’t happy with his kayak and said it didn’t steer properly. He wasn’t wrong! At one point he was going one way, the boat on the other side of me was going the other, and I was in the middle thinking 'hang on a minute where the hell am I going?' Then comments like, 'Swim towards the island' led me to respond, 'I am at bloody sea level, I can't see the bloody island – it's your job to guide me.'"

To make matters worse along the 18 km course, there was a bit of an ocean swell and waves around the middle of the course. "Mark did have a hell of a time trying to control the kayak. And that led to me being run over by him. The second time was my last feed and I didn’t even see him coming and thought, 'Am I going crooked? Is he trying to get my attention? But no, he just ran me over.'"

To make matters worse, there was a bit of communication problems between Copsey and the boat crew. "Mark wanted to follow the young Australian boy as word had it they had the tides sussed and would roll in at the end, but my boat wanted to take the most direct route. The Australian boy did pick a perfect current to sweep in ahead at the end, but hey, that’s ok, I still enjoyed my swim."

With her competitive spirit, Cameron knows why Copsey is part of her passion. "It makes him a proper active part in my swimming. I put the effort in and he sees [kayaking] as him putting effort into it too. As he explains, 'She is out there for a couple of hours, so I don’t exactly have anything else to do, so may as well get some gratuitous exercise.' In some swims, it is a case of him thinking I would be better having him look after me than some stranger."

From her perspective, what happens in the water, properly stays in the water. "I can yell and abuse him for going crooked and running me over, but that all just stays with the swim. He's not going to hold a grudge for the next year. I trust him: he will do what I say, feed me what I tell him to, and he knows me and can read me."

As they say in the open water world, that is love at first sight.

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.
LEARN MORE...

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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