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2016 WOWSA Man of the Year – Nejib Belhedi
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Sunday, March 27, 2016
John West Plays Fair, Judges Objectively In A Tough Position
There are a lot of difficult jobs in the open water swimming world.
For example, experience and calm under pressure come into play when escort pilots are trying to stay parallel to a channel swimmer in turbulent conditions, when a coach is trying to keep a marathon swimmer going when they are feeling poorly, when a race director is simultaneously coordinating myriad activities during an event, or a lifeguard is making a rescue of a swimmer.
But the responsibilities and pressure that FINA's John West will face on Copacabana Beach at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games will be extraordinarily significant. West will serve as the head referee during the women's 10 km marathon swim.
Not only are the women's competitions commonly acknowledged to be more difficult to referee than the men's competitions, but West will also face the scrutiny of hundreds of thousands of Brazilian fans who will line up on the shores of Copacabana Beach watching their two favorite athletes - Ana Marcela Cunha and Poliana Okimoto - compete for Olympic gold.
The women, by all accounts, swim in closer proximity to each other than their male counterparts, and can hit, pull, impede, elbow and kick viciously and repeatedly in competitions. Women have experienced chipped teeth, broken ribs, bruises, and lacerations of all sorts during the international competitions.
But West, a long-time representative of New Zealand Swimming, has to make all objective sense of the aquatic scrum and inevitable physicality during the race. He will be expected to fairly dish out warning whistles, yellow cards and red cards - and quite possibly, defend his split-second decisions in heated post-race protests. He has served numerous times at many highly competitive events on the FINA 10K Marathon Swimming World Cup and FINA Open Water Swimming Grand Prix circuits.
The pressure is on, but the cool-headed Kiwi - always armed with a radio headset, whistle, list of competitors and binoculars - is up to the task.
Sid Cassidy will serve as West's counterpart in the men's 10 km marathon swim (see here).
Copyright © 2016 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.