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Sunday, August 7, 2016
Jack Berkery, Pioneering His Way To The Open Water
Jack Berkery is an 68-year-old endurance athlete who has run over 40,000 miles while participating in 475 running races on roads, tracks and trails.
The former lifeguard has swum most of his life, but he only swam for cross-training purposes only.
But after five decades since being a lifeguard, Berkery is going to enter his first open water swim, the Betsy Owens Memorial Swim in Mirror Lake in the city of Lake Placid, New York.
The emerging open water swimmer from New York's Latham, New York entered in the 1-mile race after being coached by Kristin Hislop and Ashley Serrago.
He contributed to a book called Cardiac Athletes [available on Amazon here]. "I am among those who have returned to athletics after open heart surgery. July 26th was the 25th anniversary of my artificial aortic valve."
In 1992, he was one of the first American runners to return to road racing after experiencing serious open heart surgery. "It was such a rarity in those days that the meet directors sent a film crew to find and film me running around the track. I suspect [at the time] no one was certain that what I was doing was medically safe or even advisable."
But nearly 25 years later after many thousands of miles on the road, Berkery recalls his uncharted road. "The problem with being a pioneer is that there is no road map to tell you which way to go. There is no trail blazed through the wilderness, no bridges across the rivers. Each direction one takes could lead to grand new vistas or disaster. You never know until rounding the next bend. I tended thereafter to be very conservative in my approach to training and racing and always had the nagging feeling that what I was doing could be, shall we say, a game changer."
He did change the game. But then his endurance career took an unexpected change.
"A year ago I began experiencing extreme pain in the left hip," explains Berkery. "I battled it for 6 months, but eventually could not run any more. I worked summers as a lifeguard in 1964 and 1965, but I never took it seriously or timed any of my laps until this year. Now I cannot run at all for the pain it causes. [But] swimming is pain free so I depend on swimming to keep me fit."
Last winter the former engineer with GE Research joined U.S. Masters Swimming and train with a triathlon club that has weekly open water training swims. He looks forward to his first open water swimming event. "As a first timer at age 68, I submitted a 1650 yard seed time of 42 minutes. I have no particular goal time. Even coming in last would be fine, finishing strong will be enough."
For more information about the book in which he contributed, visit 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.