To educate, entertain, and enthuse those who venture beyond the shore. Over 14,451 articles on solo swims, pro races, relays, charity events, ice swims, eco-swims, stage swims, marathon swims, trends, products, services, personalities, coaches, governing bodies, rules, demographics, books, films, blogs, conferences, camps, clinics and happenings in oceans, seas, lakes, rivers, dams, canals, channels, fjords, estuaries, lochs, coves, firths, straits, bays, and harbors. Sponsored by WOWSA.org.
Tuesday, August 26, 2014
A 1968 Relic - Russell Chaffee's Computer Swim
Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.
While using a computer to communicate with one's escort pilot, teammates, crew and friends is a given in the contemporary open water swimming world, it was certainly not the case back in 1968.
In a long-gone era without GPS, email or social media, and without apps or Macs, using one's own ingenuity and programming skills was a rarity in the 1960s.
But math teacher and open water swimmer Russell Chaffee of Pennsylvania was a pioneer in more ways than initially meets the eye. His inquisitive mind and desire to swim in various bodies of water led him to computing and programming.
Not only did Russell do all kinds of unprecedented marathon swims all over the eastern United States, but he was already using a computer to help plot his courses in the 1960s.
His use of a computer to plot tide flows in Cape Cod Bay in 1968 in order to attempt a marathon swim was deemed noteworthy by Computer World.
The 41-year-old plotted his course while taking a summer course in computer programming at Trinity College in Connecticut. Chaffee told Computerworld that the information turned out to be a sine curve based on 5-minute intervals.
Written from a simple program that did not take waves or wind into consideration, he predicted that the best course would be an S-shaped course that took advantage of the tidal drift. In reality, the tide changed 3 times during his 14-hour swim across the 19-mile opening of Cape Cod Bay. "Only a real-time system constantly updated by someone with the swimmer would be able to take wind and waves into consideration accurately," said Chaffee at the time. His statement, so true among contemporary escort pilots was a precursor to 21st century navigation taken for granted by modern-day swimmers.
Because Chaffee was ahead of his time, he simply trusted his data and followed his predictions. Fortunately, even his primitive predictions saved Chaffee at least an estimated 5 miles of swimming. More importantly, the data gave Chaffee the understanding that the oncoming tidal flow in the last hour would be something that he expected to face. Based on his predictions, he knew that the currents would be against him towards the end, motivating him to dig deep and complete the swim.
Supported by his wife and three children and escorted by Toby Baker in a 43-foot sloop, Chaffee was a pioneer as a swimmer and navigator back in the 1960s among the East Coast marathon swimming community.
Chaffee recently passed away at the age of 87 leaving behind a wonderful legacy (see additional article here).
A memorial service will be held on September 16th at the Valley United Presbyterian Church. Memorial donations may be made in Russell's memory to the Valley United Presbyterian Church, 622 1/2 South Main Street, Athens, Pennsylvania 18810, USA. Those wishing to sign the E-guestbook, send flowers or condolences may do so by visiting www.loweryfuneralhome.com.
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 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.
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 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.