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Monday, July 14, 2014
The Will To Live By Alfred Hajós
25 men and 25 women competed in the Olympic 10K Marathon Swims held in Beijing in 2008 and London in 2012. Those athletes were the top finalists in the Olympic open water swimming competition.
But, the history of open water swimming at the Olympics goes back over 100 years.
At the Athens Olympics, on April 11th 1896, four swim races were held in the Bay of Zea in the Aegean Sea: a 100-meter race, a 500-meter race, a 1200-meter race and a special race only for Greek sailors. Reportedly, 20,000 spectators were said to have watched the four events off the Piraeus coast.
According to Allen Guttmann in his book The Olympics: A History of the Modern Games, Alfred Hajós of Hungary, the gold medalist in the 100 and 1200, described his races, "I won ahead of the others with a big lead, but my greatest struggle was against the towering twelve-foot waves and the terribly cold water."
In April, the ocean water was 50°F (or 10C°). Due to the cold water, Hajós covered his body with a thick half-inch layer of grease. The swimmers were taken to the starting point in a boat and told to head towards shore. Upon winning the 1200, Hajós said, “My will to live completely overcame my desire to win.”
Copyright © 2014 by World Open Water Swimming Association
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Open Water Swimming Magazine
Open Water Swimming MagazineThe 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.
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The Other Shore
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2014 Open Water Swimming Almanac
An Almanac for Open Water SwimmingAn 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.