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Saturday, June 7, 2014

Swimming Comfortably In Uncomfortable Conditions

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Every channel swim - and certainly every channel of the Oceans Seven - is an unpredictable adventure where the dynamics of the oceans are always in flux.

A swimmer cannot predict what the currents and winds will be out in the Cook Strait. The window of opportunity is completely unpredictable in the North Channel. It is the toss of the dice when trying to figure out what will happen in the Molokai Channel. It is anyone's guess what the conditions will be in Dover as swimmers gaze towards France. Which way will the winds blow in the Strait of Gibraltar and what marine life will be encountered in the Catalina Channel.

Fate and time will tell, but only when one is in the moment.

The same is true whether you are swimming in the Waikiki Roughwater Swim in Hawaii, the Great North Swim in Windermere, or the Cole Classic in Australia.

We just cannot know precisely what air and water conditions we will encounter in the open water on any particular day. And so experienced open water swimmers prepare for every and all conditions. They expect turbulence and hope for tranquility. They prepare for cold water and enjoy the warmth.

But what happens when everything involving a swim is unknowing and unfamiliar? How does a swimmer prepare for something so foreign and so exotic that they are constantly taken out of their comfort zone?

The short answer: they just go with the flow and enjoy the ride.

For swimmers from the Americas, Africa, and Europe, the experience of competing in swims in China, Japan, and Korea can be a truly unusual experience. The language - both written and verbal - is completely different as are the customs, foods, traditions, and expectations. For marathon swimmers who attempt the Tsugaru Channel, they are into for a complete surprise where they are taken out of their comfort zone from the time they touch down in Tokyo until the time they return home.

After the swimmers land in Narita Airport, they are whisked off to the center of Tokyo in a comfortable train where they are in the middle of a massive, modern megalopolis of 20 million Japanese. Then it is off to northern Japan in an ultramodern bullet train where the countryside of rice paddles and small hamlets flies by like a view from a low-flying airplane. They get off in the city of Aomori and then must make their way to one of the most remote peninsulas in Japan: Tappi Misaki where fast food and meat dishes are as rare as blondes and skyscrapers.

While the Japanese in the area are as gracious hosts as can be, the communication gap presents an obstacle that must be overcome. Fortunately, body language, Google Translator, and good ol' pen and paper can help the swimmers, local crew, and pilots understand one another.

While the Japanese food is as healthy and nutritious as can be, a breakfast of fish, miso, rice and products from the sea may be unfamiliar to swimmers who prefers eggs and bacon. A soup with clams inside or stewed parts of tentacles or a combination of squid and seaweed may be less appealing than a turkey sandwich or steak with potatoes. As Stephen Redmond found out, lots and lots of white bread is one alternative to the traditional Japanese diet for an Irishman.

While the difficulty in crossing North Channel, Molokai Channel, and Cook Strait are well-documented, the relatively short (19.5 km) distance between Honshu and Hokkaido is deceptively challenging. The geographic layout of the shoreline creates massive eddies that swirl in dynamically shifting, always unpredictable patterns. With the sea level of the Pacific Ocean lower than the Sea of Japan, the massive flow of water via the Tsugaru Current through the Tsugaru Channel - the conduit between the Pacific Ocean and Sea of Japan - adds another puzzle to the enigma known to swimmers as the Tsugaru Channel.

Swimmers are advised, "Don't look up and ask how far to swim - for the answer (1 km) may not be indicative of the difficulty of swimming 1 km through a swirling eddy pushing you back to the start. Just keep on swimming."

As the English Channel can have thick fog, as the Cook Strait can have strong winds, as the Moloka'i Channel can have curious sharks, as the North Channel can have plentiful jellyfish, as the Strait of Gibraltar can have singing whales and playful porpoises, as the Catalina Channel can require swimming at night, so can the Tsugaru Channel have all those things.

It is a foreign land, but just keep on swimming to get to the other shore.

This is precisely what Kim Chambers does so well on all her ocean swims. Chambers who is attempting her sixth Oceans Seven swim in the Tsugaru Channel next month and explains her anticipation here. She eloquently describes her thought process, "The anticipation of an aquatic adventure is one of my favorite dimensions of the entire journey. It is during this time, usually one month from the next swim, that an awareness of the impending physical and mental demands begin to materialize...read more here.

Photo of Kimberley Chambers by Brett Hillyard of Hilly Collective.

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

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...
LEARN 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.
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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World Professional Marathon Swimming Federation

Open Water Race Calendar

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