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Saturday, July 4, 2015

It's All Small Stuff In The Open Water

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Richard Carlson, Ph.D. wrote the best-selling book, Don't Sweat The Small Stuff™…and it’s all Small Stuff and left behind a legacy in print, mindset and a vast amount of online content.

While most open water swimmers view their sport in a macro sense - enjoying the outdoors and physical challenge of venturing past the shoreline - there is something to be said about thinking about open water swimming at the micro level.

Sometimes, it is the small stuff that presents the challenges and brings out the enjoyment in the open water.

...like a 1°C (or 1°F) change in water temperature. While most land-based athletes cannot tell a single degree change in air temperature, open water swimming immediately can sense minute water temperature changes - whether the water temperature goes up or down, especially at the extreme ranges (i.e., below 5°C or above 25°C).

...like a 1-knot change in wind speed or a 1°C change in wind direction when open water swimmers can definitely feel these small changes. Suddenly, a flat lake gets a little more turbulent and the ocean swells get a little more riddled with roughage.

...like a 1-foot difference in surf or swell size. Open water swimmers, especially if the wave direction is lateral or oncoming, that 1-foot difference can present a huge impediment to forward progress - or conversely, it can tremendously help push swimmers towards their goal.

...like a few minutes delay in facing on oncoming tidal flow. When the slack tide turns, the difficulty in swimming against a flow of water increases seemingly with every stroke. Conversely, when the tides and currents flow in a swimmer's favor, all seem well.

...like a single encounter with one thin tentacle of any jellyfish can ruin a perfectly comfortable swim.

...like a 1° difference off the straight-line tangent in a point-to-point swim can ultimately lead to several hundreds of extra meters swum.

...like 1 second or even one tenth of a second that can make the difference between Olympic glory and disappointment. Touch just slightly ahead of a competitor and sponsorship may result that enables a career to continue. Lose and a career may be over.

...like one tiny smudge of lanolin, sunscreen or Vaseline on a pair of goggles that can significantly impair a swimmer's vision leading to a whole lot of frustration.

...like one more stroke per minute over the course of a marathon swim can lead to a whole lot of time saved.

So like Carlson wrote, "...it’s all Small Stuff" that may be the truth at the end of the day for open water swimmers.

Photo by Phil While of Craig Lenning swimming in small stuff across Lake Mempremagog from Vermont, U.S.A. to Quebec, Canada.

Copyright © 2015 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
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Open Water Swimming Magazine Anniversary Issue
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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.

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.


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