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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
Wednesday, April 19, 2017
Sharks While Swimming
Madhu Nagaraja has crossed the English Channel and the Maui Channel as well as completed the Marathon Des Sables and a 52 km crossing of Lake Ontario in traditional marathon swims. Jennifer Figge has done a number of transoceanic swims in both the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, far away from the shorelines. Jacques Tuset specializes in prison island swims* all over the world. Jim Anderson is a race director inducted in the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame.
They all spoke frankly about what goes through their minds while swimming in the ocean.
Daily News of Open Water Swimming: But how can you not panic in situations where a shark swims near you?
Madhu Nagaraja: I would be lying if I said, I do not panic when a shark is spotted during a marathon swim. I would completely rely on my crew’s judgement to get me to safety in these situation. My philosophy has always been that we are in their territory and we need respect the rules of the nature. Never play with the dangerous predators in the water.
Jennifer Figge: I have used a Shark Shield since 1998 and still have all four limbs. I believe in it.
Daily News of Open Water Swimming: Is it possible to be ready and prepared for a shark attack?
Madhu Nagaraja: Yes. Educate the crew about the kind of sharks that predominantly live the body of the water that’s being crossed. Study about their known behavioral patterns. Always have plan of action in place when a shark is spotted within the vicinity of the swimmer. If it was to me, I would exit the water and always come back for the swim. It is really not worth it to play with the dangerous predators. I’m against killing sharks or using electrical currents to distract them.
Jennifer Figge: Moments of terror are part of transoceanic crossings, but like life, the beauty outweighs them.
Daily News of Open Water Swimming: What did you or would you do in a shark encounter or shark attack?
Madhu Nagaraja: I would exit the water and come back another day to complete the swim.
Jennifer Figge: In an encounter, Captain Tamas Hamor usually leaves the area...I have about an hour to wrap my head around it and dive back in. They are gorgeous creatures.
Jacques Tuset: During my Strait of Gibraltar crossing, after two hours of swimming, I was feeling confident. I felt that I was being observed from below. It really looked like a mako shark.
I observed the marine creature that was watching me and I suddenly got scared. I did not know how it was going to react. Seeing my signs of distress, the escort boat came and stayed very closely to me. They told me that it is not possible since there are only cetaceans in the Strait of Gibraltar. I followed it with my eyes the whole time. It finally passed, about three meters below me and the only thing I noticed was its tail that was different from the one dolphins have and just like the one sharks have.
I told my crew to look out if to see if it came back from behind. My coach stayed closer to me with the boat and I kept on swimming not as confident as before and more alert.
Jim Anderson: If one is attacked, I would suggest that the majority of survivors fight back or have someone come to their rescue that presents a threat to the attacker. I am unaware of the statistics, but I would suggest that the majority of survivors are aggressive types who take exception to someone invading their personal territory and fight back.
Panic is a very uncontrollable reaction. An individual who normally swam daily off Olowalu, Maui was attacked and killed by a shark some years ago. She went into a full panic mode when the shark was sighted and began to act like a wounded fish, clearly something to be eaten in the shark world. Her swimming companion did not know what to do and simply treaded water. Her only injury was a burn on her leg when a shark went by her to get at her struggling companion.
Theory is great, but the inborn individual fight or flight reaction to danger dominates the response.
* Video above shows Jacques Tuset swimming 1.3 km from Fort Royal de Sainte-Marguerite to Cannes (Palm Beach) with Ned Denison and Jean-Yves Faure.
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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.