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Saturday, June 21, 2014

Vías Bravas, Something To Smile And Swim About

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Check into a hotel and many concierges have a running route available for guests. Many towns have walking tours in their historic area. Talk to cyclists and mountaineers and they all love to explain their favorite routes.

But open water swimmers venture past the shorelines and they are usually on their own.

While many lakes have designated swimming areas, few places in the salt water world have designated swimming courses. The separation zone in Ala Moana Beach in Honolulu, Hawaii and the exclusive ocean swimming zone in Grace Bay, Providenciales in Turks & Caicos come to mind, but Spain's Costa Brava has elevated the sport of open water swimming with its innovative Vías Bravas.

The Costa Brava introduced a network of open water courses along its beautiful coastline, called Vías Bravas. 13 kilometers long and designed primarily for sport of open water swimming, the aquatic venue also lends itself to free-diving and underwater photography.

The open water swimming masterpiece required vision and coordination across a number of cities, politicians, bureaucrats and administrators. Miquel Calm with the Costa Brava Girona Tourist Board noted that 9 municipalities were initially involved in the project, including on inland town that enabled a lake to be included in Vías Bravas, "but our goal is to reach twenty.

The course is marked and allows swimmers to enjoy a view of the coast from the sea. The sea routes started in 2013 with a 4-mile pilot course that was lauded by open water swimmers and triathletes.

Las Vías Bravas is open from May to October and includes various services such as lockers and rental and sale of technical equipment such as wetsuits. Additionally, the University of Barcelona's Faculty of Biology designed some educational panels that explain the diversity and characteristics of the seabed.

Renowned professional marathon swimmers Damián Blaum and Esther Nuñez [shown above] were among the first to try out the courses along the town of Sant Feliu.

For more information, visit here.

Copyright © 2014 by World Open Water Swimming Association

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