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Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Andrew Gemmell, An Open Water Swimming Savant

Photography courtesy of Mike Lewis, Ola Vista Photography, California.

Andrew Gemmell is considered a genius in the open water swimming world with a navigational IQ that is off the charts.

The 2012 Olympian's choice of direction in every condition during every race is calculated internally by his own cranial GPS, but his courses are set like he has a laser-mounted radar on top of his swim cap. Like an open water savant, Gemmell surveys the situation during a race and among his competitors and then puts his head down and navigates to the course he sees in his head.

But there are practical tips that Gemmell uses that shows he utilizes as much practical knowledge in making decisions as the innate mariner’s wisdom he naturally possesses.

Gemmell takes quick looks immediately after rounding a turn buoy. He doesn’t simply rely on the pack to guide his direction, but seeks tangential relationships at points in the race where there are changes in direction.

Gemmell observes the direction of and slack in the ropes that are attached from the turn buoys, giving him immediate feedback on the direction and degree of the currents.

Gemmell learns from the tendencies and navigational mistakes of the pack on the multi-loop courses in the first half of the race. Sitting from his usual positions in the middle and rear of the lead and secondary packs in the early parts of the race, he is bidding his time and learning the course by carefully watching others, even as he races.

When an athlete combines a passion for a discipline, a penchant for hard work, and innate talents (like navigational IQ in the open water) like Andrew Gemmell has, the individual has all the markings of a champion.

Watch out for him in Copacabana Beach at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

Copyright © 2014 by World Open Water Swimming Association

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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.

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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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