Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Quite often, marathon swimmers and channel swimmers use whiteboards as a communication tool between coach and swimmer. The coach on the escort boat uses a black marker to communicate information on a whiteboard to the swimmer in the water.

It is effective and convenient.

But it is not permanent. What is written on the whiteboard is usually quickly and permanently erased. The messages – some humorous, some motivational, mostly information – are gone with one wipe of an eraser, towel, hand or forearm.

However, there is an alternative if you wish to retain the permanency of those communications. If your eyesight is good enough, a regular paper notebook (either 8.5″ x 11″ or A4 size or larger) is a great way to not only communicate between swimmer and crew, but also to retain a permanent record of the entire swim.

The coach can start communications on page one and continue writing throughout the swim in large block letters in black ink page-by-page.

If the coach also notes the time that each communication was given on each page, the simple notebook becomes a great document of the marathon swim. And it is much more permanent than the ephemeral messages written on the whiteboard. While the official observer’s log is another means to document the swim, the messages, words and data written on a whiteboard or notebook effectively and immediately stimulate the memory of those who participated in a swim.

Weeks, months and years later, the coach and swimmer can flip through the notebook reminiscing about what happened on the swim, when and what they ate and drank, the conditions at the time, and the different occurrences that happened en route.

Whiteboard photo courtesy of English Channel swimmer Tori Gorman of Australia.

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