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2016 WOWSA AWARD WINNERS
2016 WOWSA Man of the Year – Nejib Belhedi
2016 WOWSA Woman of the Year – Jaimie Monahan
2016 WOWSA Performance of the Year – Sarah Thomas’ Lake Powell Swim
2016 WOWSA Offering of the Year – Samsung Bosphorus Cross Continental Swim
Friday, June 19, 2015
Can't Be Yellow When Crossing This River
Ireland's Pádraig Mallon was initially skeptical about the invitation to participate in the International Limit Challenging Race of Crossing Yellow River Qinghai China that he received from the Chinese Swimming Association. "But after some investigation, I decided to give it a go. I booked for my uncle Milo [McCourt] and I to travel to China for the short swim. It was not going to be the hardest swim I had ever taken part in, but I'm sure it was going to be an interesting adventure."
And it was a long way to get there. After a journey of 7,810 km, Mallon and McCourt made in up to an altitude of 2,200 meters on the Tibetan Plateau in northwest China together with 300 swimmers representing 18 nations.
"After we arrived at Xunhga, I took a short swim in the Yellow River with Milo and Wyatt Song. The water quality was great and the temperature was around 11°C which was nice. The [downstream] water did flow past very fast, but it didn't look too bad [during] the test swim."
But the principle of Expect the Unexpected always rules in the open water.
"The next morning we saw the river flowing a lot faster and about 1.2 meters higher that the day before. We were later told that the dam had been opened just for the race. We took part in the first heat and there was so much learned. It was a sprint to get into the middle or far side of the river, to get lined up with the finish line."
But that was not all.
"I didn't expect to be hit with instant exhaustion purely due to the [high] altitude. I could just about get a breath as I swam. I knew I couldn't stop or I would be swept passed the finish line and disqualified from the race. [The finish] took me by surprise how hard it was. Milo and Wyatt came in around the same time. We pulled ourselves together and had a chat about it all. We all got our xxx kicked. We were offered oxygen which we declined."
That sense of machismo turned out to be a mistake.
"We coughed and spluttered most of the day. The next swim was at 2:30 pm [so] we all went for a siesta. Later, we woke up feeling as if I had just swam 10 km.
The next heat was a bit more serious as the competition was getting tougher. With 12 in my heat and 170 in my group, I know it was going to be hard to make it into the final. But I had learned a lot from the previous swim. You could feel the tension in the changing room waiting on your number to be called. After 20 minutes we were called and went down to the start line. The starting gun went with thousands of locals looking on from every vantage point.
Right away, I felt the current sweeping me down the river. My goal was to swim across the river at a right angle and fight against the natural instinct to head directly for the finish line. The currents and waves turned me every way possible as my lungs screamed out for oxygen.
All I could do was swim hard and keep calm. Before I knew it, I was drifting for the finish line as I was headed right for it."
Then he passed the finish line. He started to swim back upstream, but that did not appear to be a possible solution even though he was within 3 meters of the finish. So he ran the last 3 meters in the water and another 4 meters on land to cross the finish line. He was followed by Alexander Brylin from Russia. They were the only two swimmers who made it from their heat.
There was no machismo this time. "I took the oxygen and sat down and took it all in. Milo was over the moon. I was happy with the swim, but I knew I could do better in the next one."
Mellon finished in 16th place with only 8 seconds between him and 12th place. Most of the international swimmers competed in the finals. "The atmosphere was electrifying with thousands of local people, officials, police, government officials, and competitors. It was an event with a whole different set of challenges not often seen in a swim. What an adventure."
Copyright © 2015 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.
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.
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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.