Category Archives: Open Water Swimming

Ecuador Dominates Open Water In 7th Bolivar Games

The XVII Juegos Bolivarianos (17th Bolivar Games) are being held in Trujillo, Peru between November 15th-30th. The 5 km and 10 km open water swimming events were held in Puerto Salaverry last week where Ecuador swept the gold medals on both the men's and women's side.

In the 10 km event, Ecuador's Samantha Arevalo (shown on left) took the gold medal in 2:08:33 in a close victory over Venezuela's Vicenia Navarro who finished in 2:08:35 and Paola Perez in 2:09:10.

Samantha Arevalo was a busy athlete during the pool and open water swimming competition at the XVII Juegos Bolivarianos as she also won the 5 km race, the 800m freestyle and 3 relays as well as 3 silver medals in the 200m IM, 400m IM and the 1500m over a 7-day period.

Among the men, Ecuador's Ivan Enderica won his second gold medal in 1:57:51 over Venezuela's Johndry Segovia in 1:58:31 and Ecuador's Santiago Enderica in 1:58:47. The 22-year-old Olympian earned his first gold in the 5 km race two days earlier.

With athletes from Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Perú, Chile, Guatemala, Dominican Republic, Bolivia, Paraguay and El Salvador competing, it was a tough event with several athletes pulling out for various reasons.

Women's 10 km Results:
1. Samantha Michelle Arevalo Salinas (ECU) 2:08:33.00
2. Vicenia Malissabeth Navarro (VEN) 2:08:35.00
3. Paola Valentina Perez Sierra (VEN) 2:09:10.00
4. Mahina Nicole Valdivia Dannenberg 2:14:28.00
5. Jacqueline Scarlet Pinillos Delgado 2:20:00.00
DNF Patricia Mariana Quevedo San Martín
DNF Eliana Disla
DNF Nataly Caldas
DNF Cindy Carolina Toscano Merida
DNF Micaela Estefania Muñoz Vargas

Men's 10 km Results
1. Ivan Alejandro Enderica Ochoa (ECU) 1:57:51
2. Johndry Jose Segovia Ramos (VEN) 1:58:31
3. Santiago Paul Enderica Salgado (ECU) 1:58:47
4. Walter Rodrigo Caballero Quilla 2:13:13
5. Jair José Julca Zevallos 2:13:15
6. Kevin David Vasquez Davila 2:13:42.91
DNF Sergio Rodrigo Villarroel Zapata
DNF Cristian Alejandro Zapata Pavez
DNF Erwin Leon Maldonado Saavedra

Women's 5 km Results:
1. Samantha Michelle Arevalo Salinas (ECU) 1:01:15.00
2. Paola Valentina Perez Sierra (VEN) 1:01:18.00
3. Elzen Florencia Melo Ojeda 1:01:31.00
4. Nataly Caldas 1:02:06.00
5. Mahina Nicole Valdivia Dannenberg 1:05:34.21
6. Cindy Carolina Toscano Merida 1:05:34.82
7. Valeria Pamela Donayre Cabrera 1:07:12.00
8. Patricia Mariana Quevedo San Martín 1:07:19.00

Men's 5 km Results:
1. Ivan Alejandro Enderica Ochoa (ECU) 55:45.99
2. Erwin Leon Maldonado Saavedra 55:57.35
3. Luis Fernando BolaÑos Zuluoada 57:53.95
4. Giovanni Gutiérrez Lozano 59:59.10
5. Jean Pierre Monteagudo Aragón 59:59.96
6. Kevin David Vasquez Davila 1:00:03.00
7. Walter Rodrigo Caballero Quilla 1:02:28.00
8. Cristian Alejandro Zapata Pavez 1:02:40.00

Copyright © 2013 by World Open Water Swimming Association

What’re The Odds Of Ned Denison, One In Several Hundreds

Ned Denison is nominated for the 2013 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year, yet there was one swim that he will remember for all time: his December 30th, 2012 crossing of False Bay from Rooi Els to Miller's point in 11 hours 5 minutes.

This was a crossing of False Bay in South Africa that will be remembered and presented something different and potentially devastating. "I had a short time window so could not wait for a great day," Denison recalls. "I went on one that would start nice and 'freshen up' later.

Everything about that place is the focus on shark attacks. So the mental pressure could have been overpowering, but it turned out to be my best 'mental performance' swim ever and physically I attacked the on-coming waves in the afternoon.

We had breakfast with Hugh Tucker (marathoner, observer and maker of a swimming shark cage for False Bay attempts), his wife Fran and Andy Pfaff. It was a great moment when he declared that Andy’s English Channel crossing and my False Bay swims were the greatest he had witnessed in several hundred observations."

Copyright © 2013 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Ned Denison Is Swimming On Cloud Nine

Ned Denison embodies the spirit of open water swimming 365 days of the year. He not only possesses the spirit of adventure, tenacity and perseverance that open water swimmers are known for, but he also positively influences the world of open water swimming throughout the year.

Every year. Year in and year out.

But it was his cumulative 9 open water swims in the year 2013 that led to his nomination for the 2013 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year. His nomination reads, "The man from Cork takes to the open water like a long-lost merman. Not only is Ireland's Ned Denison managing, promoting, and coaching the toughest 7 days of open water training with his Cork Distance Week, but he also attacks waters around the world year-round. Denison completed 9 marathon swims in fresh water and salt while he lives and breathes open water swimming like few others. His smile is infectious, his leadership is efficacious, his efforts are sincere. The Pied Piper of the Open Water leaves his footprint in nearly every continent around the world, as friends surround him like the ever-present lanolin around his neck. For his heartfelt joy in swimming in every temperature and condition, for his unselfish attitude in bringing others to the sport, and for his 9 swims in oceans, lakes, seas and bays around the world, Ned Denison's year-round efforts are a worthy nominee for the 2013 WOWSA Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year.

From his 4-day stage swims in the S.C.A.R. Swim Challenge in Arizona (a cumulative total of 62 km) to his 3 hour 33 minute Strait of Gibraltar crossing and many bodies of water in-between, Denison never slowed down throughout the year.

Even in swims that he did not intend to do, he did. "I had no interest in an Ice Mile. I did it because local English Channel soloer Finbarr Hedderman kept saying, "Ned doesn’t do cold. I could live with this statement until one day he added, "because he can’t."

And if there is one thing open water swimmers are known for is attempting swims in which they are told cannot be done. "I beat [Finbarr] to it," recalls Denison who became the first swimmer in Cork, Ireland to complete an Ice Mile. "The best moments were coming out and singing “zippy do dah” to Jackie Cobbell and Kevin Murphy, the witnesses."

But however fine-tuned his competitiveness is, his sense of camaraderie is far greater. He remembers his participation in the S.C.A.R. Swim Challenge, "Canyon Lake is one of the top 10 prettiest places I have ever been. My participation was a last-minute decision based on the advice of good friends Barbara Held and Roger Finch. As an extra bonus, I got to spend 4+ days with swimming hero Gracie van der Byl and great swimmers/organisers Dave Barra, Liz Fry and Greg O’Connor plus all the other swimmers and volunteers. I remember surviving the cliff climb down to Saguaro."

But the former water polo player can never completely hide his sense of friendly competitiveness. "In Lake Roosevelt, the nightmare continues to haunt me. Having gone up 3-0 on Dave Barra [from the previous 3 swims], he announced that I was going down in the Roosevelt night swim. I finished and yelled in the dark, 'Tell me Barra is still swimming.' To which he softly replied, 'I’m here.' Aaagghhhh."

And he experienced all the highs and lows an open water swimmer can expect. "The Strait of Gibraltar this year was most fun, but I had waited for 3 years for the Round Jersey swim. The day before was perfect and the record broken and I dreamed. But my day was lumpy and I was puking from the first hour, but the best thing was that Charlie Gravett’s health had improved enough to pilot my swim."

It was a particularly prolific year for Denison, but it is clear that his years are always knock-out outstanding as he appreciates and uplifts all those around him.

Denison's fellow 2013 WOWSA Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year nominees include:

1. BCT Gdynia Marathon, Prizing the Pros (Poland)
2. Bering Strait Swim, Crossing from Asia to America (International)
3. Emily Brunemann, FINA World Cup Winner (U.S.A.)
4. Héctor Ramírez Ballesteros, Battling Butterfly From Spain to Gibraltar (Spain)
5. Ka'iwi Channel Swim, Making the Most of Molokai (Hawaii)
6. Mateusz Sawrymowicz, The Polish Tiburon (Poland)
7. Melissa Cunningham, Every Stroke Counts (Australia)
8. Mohamed Marouf, Energizing Egypt (Egypt)
9. Ned Denison, 9 Swims Around The World (Ireland)
10. Night Train Swimmers, California Coastal Cruising (U.S.A.)
11. Richard Weinberger, Chasing Gold (Canada)
12. Swim4Good, Strait of Gibraltar Charity Crossing (Mexico)
13. Sylvain Estadieu, Flying Frenchman (France)
14. Wendy Trehiou, Two-way Toughness (Jersey)
15. Women’s 10K World Championship, Pack Finishing Fast (International)

Online voting takes place here.

Copyright © 2013 by World Open Water Swimming Association

You Are An Old-Time Swimmer If…

You know you are a wily old veteran swimmer if you...

1. can remember swimming an entire workout without goggles
2. came out of workout and remember seeing rings around all the lights
3. can remember a time when only rectangular-shaped hand paddles were used
4. can remember a time when there was only one type of white pull buoys was used
5. can remember stop watches that require winding with a button at the top
6. can remember workouts that were conducted without a pace clock
7. owned a Belgrad suit8. owned double-lined swimsuits with plunging neck lines
9. sent a letter and went to the post office to communicate with your escort pilot
10. can remember a time when survey tools were used to mark courses
11. can remember a time when fins and snorkels were used in the ocean and not in the pool
12. could enter the Manhattan Island Marathon Swim without writing essays
13. mailed in your entry forms
14. received Popsicle sticks as you crossed the finish line
15. did not warm-down after a race
16. did not bring hydration to the pool or take water bottles to workout
17. thought naked swimming meant skinny dipping
18. could not imagine what vog is or what yackers are
19. thought zip lining was something you did in the forest or jungle on vacation
20. thought swimcest was rare and swickies were non-existent
21. had no idea what GPS, triathlon, transponder, jammers, brown fat or gel packs meant when you first started swimming
22. remember no college swimming scholarships for women

Barbara Held added:

23. used an Exergenie.

Coach Bob Bruce added:

24. remember when lane lanes were ropes with an occasional buoy
25. remember when backstroke flags were optional
26. remember when training rarely involved circle swimming
27. remember when 3000-yards was a huge practice
28. remember when 55-yard pools were not uncommon
29. were taught to dive onto the water, not into the water
30. remember when your teammates had to sit on wooden blocks to keep them from moving

Kaia Hedlund added:

31. pulled with a kickboard held between your legs
32. pulled with 1/2 kickboards with a rubber band around it and had to use Vaseline to avoid chafing
33. wore multiple suits for additional drag
34. wore white rubber swim caps even if you were a girl with short hair
35. ate jello powder and honey at swim meets
36. had wool suits and thought the nylon swimsuits with a double panel in the front and a skirt were a big improvement
37. stitched a skirt in front of your Belgrad suit

Channel Swimmer added:

38. wore your mother's old nylons and t-shirts for additional drag
39. used lemon to treat green hair from the chlorine in the pool
40. remember when Jello squares were sold at the snack bar

On the reverse side of aquatic sports, you are a newbie swimmer if you do these things.

Copyright © 2013 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Gotta Hand It To FINIS Agility Paddles

Our favorite workout is swimming along the shoreline that runs fairly straight when the surf is high.

We love to swim along the surf break just right outside where the ocean waves start to break. As we swim parallel to coastline, we are in a great location to watch the big rollers come in and then body surf to shore when the timing is right. Not only do we get a great workout just swimming parallel to shore, but we also get sprint work in as well as working our legs as we try to kick within the wave so we can ride the waves as far into shore as possible.

The combination of aerobic and anaerobic work in the ocean is a great mix to keep things enjoyable and challenging.

When we add FINIS Agility Paddles to the swimming and body surfing workout, it is about a rigorous a workout as we can do. We swim parallel to shore, then sprint to catch any number of waves, then kick hard to remain within the wave, and then swim back out, diving under each oncoming wave, to swim parallel to the shore beyond the surf break. Over and over again, it is a great way to get our distance in while working on finishing a race or a triathlon swim leg. The need to immediately pick up speed and tempo in order to catch a wave when the swells come in is also an additional benefit.

The FINIS Agility Paddles are nominated as the 2013 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year. Its nomination reads, "Its form factor is unique. Its benefits are unmistakable. Its color is distinct. The FINIS Agility Paddles are oh-so-cool hand paddles that feel just right when you swim properly. Conversely, with sub-optimal hand movement through water, the paddles function as a fantastic self-teaching aid and a catalyst for stroke improvement. The bright yellow paddles enhance the swimmers’ tactile feedback and feel in the water, no matter what stroke they are swimming: butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke or freestyle.

By elevating an athlete’s kinetic awareness, the paddles enable swimmers to make minute changes and discover the most optimal hand position throughout their entire stroke cycle. For its unprecedented convex shape, for its simplicity of design, for its fit like a one-sided glove, the FINIS Agility Paddles are a worthy nominee for the 2013 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year."

The strapless FINIS Agility Paddles help swimmers and triathletes maintain proper fundamental hand placement during all four swim strokes. The convex design teaches proper palm positive hand position by encouraging the swimmer to have an early catch. The paddle will only remain in place if the swimmer maintains traction with the water, thus creating more propulsion and maximum efficiency - which is vitally important in the open water.

The FINIS Agility Paddles are quite simply cool and are a fantastic self-teaching aid that immediately enables athletes to become kinetically aware of their strengths and weaknesses in their swimming stroke. Because the bright yellow paddles just seem to fit like a one-sided glove on your hands, you can use them in the pool or out in the open water to help find and fix flaws in your stroke and hand position.

Very importantly, the FINIS paddles are smaller than the massive paddles that are commonly used by competitive, collegiate and masters swimmers. But they are cleverly designed and have no tubing that is too tight, too loose or can deteriorate. The design of the paddles gives athletes instant tactile feedback from the water pressure on the paddle based on their stroke movements and hand position. The Agility Paddles can be used for all four strokes in the pool. In the open water, using the paddles is smooth and enlightening. From the time your hands enter the water to when your hands accelerate through the back end, athletes can feel exactly where and when pressure is optimally applied and where the plane of their hands is less than efficient. Any slight deviation from the optimal hand position makes the paddles come off and slows you down.

At times, the paddles will slip off. At times, the paddles will seem to have a mind of its own. But the uncontrollable slippage is due to stroke technique flaws.

In the open water, the paddles are a bit trickier to handle because of the surface chop that can occur. But under calm conditions in a lake or an ironed-out sea with no wind, the Agility Paddles work like a charm. Conversely, in a lumpy ocean where turbulence is the flavor of the day, there is constant unyielding pressure to focus on an efficient form in order to keep both paddles on, especially when sighting. Sighting with the paddles can particularly expose flaws as your head is raised, your hips are dropped, your elbows are relaxed and your hand position changes. It may require more than a few times to experience surface chop and sighting to get your stroke technique down correctly.

You cannot ask anything more for an open water swimmer or triathlete.

The nominees for the World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year include a variety of products, services and concepts in the open water swimming world. The nominees include the following:

1. 21 Yaks and A Speedo, Storytelling Life Lessons by Lewis Pugh (U.K.)
2. Amphibia Sports Ring, Simple Silicone Solution For Swimmers (Ireland)
3. Bold & Beautiful, A Pod by the Shore (Australia)
4. Driven, Documenting Distance and Dedication (U.S.A.)
5. FINIS Agility Paddles, Training Tools of the Trade (U.S.A.)
6. Global Open Water Swimming Conference, Culminating In Cork (Ireland)
7. International Ice Swimming Association, Cooling To The Extreme (South Africa)
8. Ocean-navi, Navigating Throughout The Pacific (Japan)
9. Ocean Swimming & Prone Paddleboarding for Athletes with Spinal Cord Injuries (U.S.A.)
10. Open Water Swimming Manual: An Expert's Survival Guide by Lynne Cox (U.S.A.)
11. Oru Kayak, Origami of the Open Water (U.S.A.)
12. Ouma Academy, Swimming The Sea (Tunisia)
13. Plastic Disclosure Project by Ocean Recovery Alliance (Hong Kong)
14. Santa Barbara Channel Swimming Association, Far Forward Thinking In The Ocean (U.S.A.)
15. Swim Smooth, Styling Streamlined Swimming (Australia/U.K.)

Online voting takes place here.

Copyright © 2013 by World Open Water Swimming Association


Peter Attia’s Got Grit

Of all the people in the open water swimming world, few have the rare grit and determination of Dr. Peter Attia.

The co-founder and President of the Nutrition Science Initiative (NuSI) has succeeded in everything in his life through a combination of grit and deliberate practice (that he eloquently describes here). He has a growing influence over the nutrition assumptions, thinking and perspectives of many influence-makers and individuals from all walks of life through his Eating Academy blog and the NuSI. Continue reading

Vladimir Nefatov, Serving With A Smile

Russian Vladimir Nefatov one of the bilingual swimmers of the Bering Strait Swim.

He also served as the one of the starters in the 6-day, 121-person relay expedition that was nominated for the 2013 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year.

"He was one of the toughest guys out there," recalls teammate Nuala Moore. With a huge smile and twinkle in his eye, Nefatov earned the respect of everyone out there.

Copyright © 2013 by World Open Water Swimming Association