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Wednesday, April 6, 2016
Recording Records In Open Water Swimming
World open water swimming records for certain distances or in particular venues are not kept by FINA or other governing bodies simply because of the dynamic nature of open water venues.
Competitions can differ in actual length, water conditions, water temperature, weather conditions, the presence of jellyfish, the position and number of feeding pontoons, the number of swimmers in the race, the position and number of turn buoys, the shape of the course, use or non-use of a lead boat or kayak, currents, tides, winds and surface chop. All of these variables have a direct impact on the overall times of the swimmers.
To demonstrate this point, we reviewed the men's 10 km winning times at each of the races on the 2009 FINA 10KM Marathon Swimming World Cup circuit. The winning times ranged from 1 hour 34 minutes to 2 hours 5 minutes, a remarkable 31-minute time differential:
Setubal (Portugal): Thomas Lurz, 1:34:16
Dubai (UAE): Thomas Lurz, 1:44:53
New York (USA): Thomas Lurz, 1:47:41
Sharjah (UAE): Trent Grimsey, 1:48:17
Lake Annecy (France): Thomas Lurz, 1:52:08
Chun An (China): Thomas Lurz, 1:55:10
Lac St-Jean (Canada): Alexander Studzinski, 1:57:25
Copenhagen (Denmark): Thomas Lurz, 1:57.40
Hong Kong: Thomas Lurz, 1:58:22
Varna (Bulgaria): Thomas Lurz GER 2:01:31
Shantou (China): Thomas Lurz, 2:03:15
Santos (Brazil): Simone Ercoli, 2:05:44
Even when we reviewed the winning times on the same course year-to-year (2008 versus 2009), there are still significant differences:
Hong Kong: 1:46:1 in 2008 vs. 1:58.2 in 2009
Shantou: 2:06:5 in 2008 vs. 2:03.1 in 2009
Lac St-Jean: 2:04:1 in 2008 vs. 1:57.2 in 2009
Setubal: 1:52:4 in 2008 vs. 1:34:16 in 2009
Dubai: 1:48:5 in 2008 vs. 1:44:5 in 2009
Santos: 1:58:42 in 2008 vs. 2:05:44 in 2009
So rather than time or records, finishing first is the goal of elite open water swimmers. After his 2009 world championship victory in Rome, Thomas Lurz answered a question from the media about why he swam off-course, "My goal was to finish first, not to be worried how far or where I swam."
Although FINA does not recognize world records for its 5 km, 10 km, 25 km and Grand Prix events (that can range up to 88 km or 54 miles), there are some open water swimming organizations that maintain records for their marathon swims. The English Channel and Catalina Channel fastest times are maintained and touted as records for those particular waterways.
Another interesting difference between the pool world is open water swimming's more expansive definition of records. Records are recognized for not only the fastest swimmers, but also the oldest, the youngest, the most prolific, the earliest completed in a season, the latest completed in a season, the longest time in water and date of the first crossing.
And while records are great, the self-satisfaction and sense of achievement for open water swimmers can be profound for those of any age or ability. For all those open water swimmers who stuggle to finish a 1-mile swim or those marathon swimmers who literally crawl onto shore, making it - finishing a swim - crossing the finish line - is truly a reward in itself.
Different viewpoints for different folks in different swimming disciplines.
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.
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.