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Saturday, September 26, 2015

Anything Is Possible - Within Reason - In The Open Water

Photo of 53-year-old Penny Palfrey, courtesy of Thomas Mikkelsen of the Massachusetts Open Water Swimming Association at the Boston Light Swim.

You can do anything if you set your mind to it,” is an oft-stated post-swim statement of successful swimmers whether they are Olympic medalists like Michael Phelps, marathon swimmer Gilles Potvin, or English Channel swimmer Adriano Passini who is of more modest speed.

You can't put a limit on anything. The more you dream, the farther you get,” said Phelps after his 8 Olympic gold medal performance at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. "But nothing is impossible. I think that everything is possible as long as you put your mind to it and you put the work and time into it. I think your mind really controls everything."

Canadian open water swimmer and marathon swimming coach Gilles Potvin talks about "With a valiant heart nothing is impossible."

English Channel swimmer Adriano Passini reiterated that “Nothing is impossible with determination.”

But these statements seems to be more of an affirmation of positive thinking rather than a statement of fact especially as it pertains in the open water. Swimming in a pool is one thing, but trying to overcome cold water, rough water, tidal flows, currents, marine life and extreme distances under unpredictably dynamic conditions is an entirely different realm.

For any marathon swim or channel crossing to be successful, there are a number of critical factors that must all fall into place in order to swim from shore to shore.

*An honest assessment of one’s potential
*Sufficient physical preparation
*Acclimation to water and weather conditions
*Cooperation of Mother Nature
*Self-confidence in oneself
*Commitment to reach one’s potential despite pain, discomfort, hypothermia, swimming at night, swimming with jellyfish venom, injuries, etc.

But if athletes set their mind to achieving their realistic open water swimming goals, they can - and often do - accomplish their goals within relatively short periods. These athletes do the following:y
1. Set age- and experience-appropriate goals. A triple channel crossing or an ice mile may not be possible for everyone.
2. Commit the requisite time to sufficiently prepare physically. They adjust their lifestyle and work, family and/or school responsibilities so they can put in the requisite number of hours and kilometers in the water.
3. Commit themselves to acclimate to the expected (and unexpected) water and weather conditions. They train at times when the water is cold and the winds are strong.
4. Start their swim when the weather and water conditions are most likely calm and/or stable. Without the ultimate cooperation of Mother Nature, the conditions for any and every marathon and channel swim can be impassable and impossible.
5. Never question their preparation, their plans, their escort pilot and crew. They understand that unexpected conditions or occurrences will be encountered and must listen to and follow the advice of those who guide and support them.
6. Understand that physical pain and discomfort, cold and possibly hypothermia, swimming at night and possibly with jellyfish venom, as well as unexpected injuries, may occur. These experiences will make the swim more difficult than they might have ever anticipated.

If an open water swimmer can set their mind to these six elements, then indeed their goals in the open water are most definitely within their potential.

Many times throughout history when a committed athlete sets off in the open water and ventures beyond the shoreline, seemingly impossible feats become possible. Often and repeatedly. For anything worth doing is worth repeating.

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
by giving you a free copy of the anniversary issue.

Open Water Swimming Magazine Anniversary Issue
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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.

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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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