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2016 WOWSA AWARD WINNERS
2016 WOWSA Man of the Year – Nejib Belhedi
2016 WOWSA Woman of the Year – Jaimie Monahan
2016 WOWSA Performance of the Year – Sarah Thomas’ Lake Powell Swim
2016 WOWSA Offering of the Year – Samsung Bosphorus Cross Continental Swim
Sunday, January 15, 2017
Radically Rethinking Distance Swimming
Throughout the latter half of 20th century, the sport of open water swimming used to be referred to by many different terms: marathon swimming, long distance swimming, ultra long distance swimming, channel swimming, rough water swimming, ocean swimming, professional marathon swimming, or lake swimming.
But open water swimming or marathon swimming became the de rigueur terms for the sport as the 21st century came around.
With the creation of the 'Olympic 10K Marathon Swim' in 2005 by the International Olympic Committee and FINA as the inaugural open water swimming race at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the global understanding of the term 'marathon swimming' equaled a distance of 10 kilometers. While some in the sport still consider a marathon swim to be of a distance at least 25 km, or in some cases 21 miles a la the English Channel, 10 kilometers is now generally accepted as the distance that separates open water swimming from marathon swimming.
"But after watching the increased growth of Ice Miles and Ice Kilometers by some of the most hardened athletes on the planet in the most inhospitable environments and most risk-taking conditions possible, what constitutes a 'distance swim' could be radically redefined at least from what I saw among the ice swimming community," said Steven Munatones.
"While swimming 1,000 meters in a climate-controlled competition pool or in an open water environment in water temperatures over 10°C (50°F) is not considered by anyone in aquatics as long distance or marathon swimming, what these people are doing in water temperatures below 5C where the air temperatures are usually below 0C, is in my opinion, another emerging form of distance swimming.
For most humans, falling in water below 5°C would lead to hospitalization or serious injury and in some cases death. For a vast majority of competitive swimmers, they would not consider a 100-meter swim or even a 25-meter swim in the ice swimming conditions. It simply is not within their realm of interest or abilities.
So swimming for 1,000 meters or a mile with snow and ice all around them is, by all means, a distance swim. Most pool swimmers who do 500 yards or 800 meters even call themselves distance swimmers. Swimming in such cold water for 1,000 meters or more is unfailingly hard to do safely, incredibly difficult and requires a tremendous amount of self-discipline and period of acclimatization. By all normal human standards, notwithstanding the de facto definition of marathon swimming in water above 10°C, one kilometer of ice swimming is a really, really long distance unattainable by a vast majority of experienced swimmers including nearly all Olympic swimmers, either pool or open water.
Therefore, as controversial as it sounds to channel swimmers used to swimming many more miles in water usually at least 12-15°C, an ice kilometer swim and ice miles could be considered a distance swim given the incredibly difficult circumstances and frigid conditions."
This remains a personal impression based on seeing over 400 athletes compete at the 2017 Ice Swimming Aqua Sphere World Championships in Burghausen, Germany, including over 100 athletes who completed the 1,000m swim in 2-3°C.
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.