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Sunday, May 25, 2014

Why Open Water Swimmers Are Like Richard Feynman

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Richard P. Feynman was a revolutionary thinker who won the 1965 Nobel Prize in Physics. He once said, “I have a friend who's an artist...He'll hold up a flower and say 'look how beautiful it is,' and I'll agree. Then he says 'I as an artist can see how beautiful this is but you as a scientist take this all apart and it becomes a dull thing,' and I think that he's kind of nutty.

First of all, the beauty that he sees is available to other people and to me too, I believe. Although I may not be quite as refined aesthetically as he is ... I can appreciate the beauty of a flower.

At the same time, I see much more about the flower than he sees. I could imagine the cells in there, the complicated actions inside, which also have a beauty. I mean it's not just beauty at this dimension, at one centimeter; there's also beauty at smaller dimensions, the inner structure, also the processes. The fact that the colors in the flower evolved in order to attract insects to pollinate it is interesting; it means that insects can see the color. It adds a question: does this aesthetic sense also exist in the lower forms? Why is it aesthetic? All kinds of interesting questions which the science knowledge only adds to the excitement, the mystery and the awe of a flower. It only adds

Like a scientist who sees things in a profoundly deeper realm than non-scientists, open water swimmers can see and appreciate things at a much more profound level when they observe another swimmer in the open water.

Imagine a person who crosses the English Channel. A non-swimmer is suitably impressed.

But an open water swimmer can understand the crossing on a different, internal level. Swimmers can...

...easily comprehend the feeling of hypothermia...
...empathize with the pull of the tides and the push of the currents...
...imagine the pain of venom entering the skin through jellyfish tentacles...
...visualize the early morning hours driving to the pool or the seaside to train...
...fathom the frustration of swimming in place or getting sloshed around in turbulent seas...
...identify with the discomfort of seasickness, the annoyance of chafing, and the fear of swimming at night and among sharks...
...know the beauty of bioluminescence and the glory of the sun rising above the horizon.

Open water swimmers understand the training, sacrifice, costs, logistics, decisions, marine life...and fate and the myriad dynamic, unpredictable phenomena...that are involved in the sport.

They know, they feel, they conceptualize at a significantly deep, profound, innate level that ultimately creates a community of like-minded athletes.

Like Feynman speaking among knowledgeable physicists, discussions among open water swimmers includes a special lexicon that involves the mind as much as the body.

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.

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.


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