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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
Tuesday, March 7, 2017
It Takes A Very Special Swimmer To Try Again
What does it take to get bitten by a shark and then go right into the same water and swim again?
It takes something special. Very, very special.
Open water swimmers like Penny Palfrey and Olympic gold medalist Gary Hall, Jr. and many others have encountered sharks in their ocean swims and channel crossings.
But swimmers like Charlotte Brynn, Steven Robles and Michael Spalding have actually been encountered - and bitten - by sharks and then returned to the same waters to swim in them.
Spalding has seen it all during his nine channel crossings throughout the state of Hawaii*, including the bite taken out of his calf by a deep-water-inhabiting cookie cutter shark during his channel swim in the Alenuihaha Channel swim from the Big Island of Hawaii to Maui.
After his hospitalization and mental reset, Spalding returned to attempt another Alenuihaha Channel swim.
But it was not easy. "I wanted to spend as little time as possible in the dark, especially off the Big Island where I was bitten, because I was a little paranoid about that. I didn't want to get bitten twice."
While Spalding has encountered Portuguese Man-o-War stings, huge surf, towering ocean swims, relentless sun during his nighttime and daytime crossings, it was a chunk of missing flesh and muscle has most spook him - especially when he encountered a second shark on his second attempt.
Eventually, he successfully crossed the 32-mile Alenuihaha Channel from the island of Hawaii (Upolu Point) to the island of Maui (Nu'u Bay) in 19 hours 43 minutes. "The winds started out very calm, but it started to build later in the day reaching 20 knots by mid-afternoon as he approach Maui," said fellow marathon swimmer Linda Kaiser. "By sunset, the winds dropped back to light. Mike encountered an 8-foot oceanic white tip shark about ten miles from the start."
Spalding and his crew could be forgiven if they thought the worse and chose to get out. But he didn't. Spalding ignored the fact that he was previously gored by a cookie cutter shark and forged on, but the encounter was a massive scare.
"Mike had the shark at his toes. He was headed for the ladder, but the shark turned before Mike touched the ladder. Mike just hung in the water at the ladder and watched while the shark cruised by. Then the shark left and Mike continued on. But the shark returned and the crew watched it as this time it just hovered around," recalled Kaiser who was on the Kialoa (which means long, light and swift) escort boat with a crew of five.
"The shark chased him around a bit and then left, but returned a short time later. All hands kept a close eye on it and the shark eventually left.
But all was not clear yet. Not with Spalding and his luck. "About 6 miles from the finish, Mike got tangled in a big Portugese man o war. Despite being in extreme pain and experiencing stomach cramps with spasms in his right leg, Mike characteristically decided it would hurt worse to get out than to continue."
As he entered Nu'u Bay on the Maui side, Spalding's ordeal was not over. He faced an outgoing tide, but hit full throttle when a 'soft sausage-like fish' grabbed his arm. Flushed with adrenaline, he picked up his pace and sprinted the last mile to shore.
With his last sprint, Spalding became the fourth person to swim Alenuihaha Channel and the second person (along with his friend and fellow channel swimmer Linda Kaiser) to successfully cross all nine major channels in the state of Hawaii (inclusive of both solo swims and relays).
*26-mile Kaiwi (Molokai-Oahu) Channel + 8.8-mile Auau (Maui-Lanai) Channel + 9.3-mile Kalohi (Lanai-Molokai) Channel + 7-mile Alalakeii (Kahoolawe-Maui) Channel + 8.4-mile Pailolo (Maui-Molokai) Channel + 17-mile Kaulakahi (Kauai-Niihau) Channel + 17-mile Kealaikahiki (Kahoolawe-Lanai) Channel + 32-mile Alenuihaha (Hawaii-to-Maui) Channel + 72-mile Kaieiewaho Channel (Oahu-Kauai) on a 6-person relay.
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A Thank You Gift from WOWSA
|WOWSA is celebrating the|
1-Year Anniversary of the monthly Open Water Swimming Magazine
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Open Water Swimming Magazine Anniversary Issue
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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.