Open water swimming safety is discussed in committee meetings and among coaches, but open water swimming safety issues are rarely presented in public especially with the participation of experienced race directors, coaches, administrators, athletes and physicians in attendance.

Now is the opportunity at the 2012 Global Open Water Swimming Conference on the Queen Mary in Long Beach, California on September 21-22 with like-minded colleagues from around the world.

Discuss and debate these issues. Ask and learn about what other races and crews do. Integrate and execute the best open water swimming safety practices utilized among the world’s 6,500+ open water events.

The 2012 Global Open Water Swimming Conference will include safety panels headed by luminaries such as Forrest Nelson, president of the Catalina Channel Swimming Federation, Dr. Marcy MacDonald, a 12-time English Channel swimmer and physician, Ned Denison, an International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Honour Administrator, Michael Read MBE, president of the Channel Swimming Association, Ram Barkai, president of the International Ice Swimming Association, and some of the leading race directors around the world from San Francisco and South Africa to Boston and Brazil.

Dr. MacDonald will present how swimmers of all ages and abilities can and should prepare for rigorous open water swims. For some, a rigorous swim can be 800 meters. For others, it can be a crossing of the English Channel. The doctor from Connecticut with 12 English Channel crossings in her career will present her recommendations on how a busy lifestyle can be balanced with proper preparations.

Learn how swimmers prepare for swims under 5°C – and how those preparations can be applied to swimmers who are uncomfortable in 20°C. Learn how the Catalina Channel Swimming Federation prepares its Observers. Learn how some channel administrators make a swimmer’s veins in advance because of the threat of hypothermia. Learn what afterdrop is. Learn how the barbs of box jellyfish enter the human body. Learn how close calls have been averted. Learn why the first line of defense is with swimmers themselves.

Dr. MacDonald and her colleagues from Forrest Nelson, president of the Catalina Channel Swimming Federation, Ned Denison, an International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Honour Administrator, Michael Read MBE, president of the Channel Swimming Association, Ram Barkai, president of the International Ice Swimming Association, and some of the leading race directors around the world from San Francisco and South Africa to Boston and Brazil will discuss a number of issues and questions:

• How far should a swimmer, parent, coach, race director, pilot or crew member go in ensuring safety in the open water?
• How far do others go in ensuring safety in solo swims, relays, triathlons, open water swims and channel crossings?
• How far are swimmers willing to push themselves in solo swims, relays, triathlons, open water swims and channel crossings?
• At what point does a coach, pilot or crew member tell an athlete that (a) they should not start a swim, (b) they should delay a swim, or (c) they should call it a day?
• What protocols and procedures are put in place when extremes in water temperature and conditions present themselves?
• How does and should a race director postpone or cancel a race?
• What should race directors and governing bodies do when a tragedy occurs in a sanctioned race?
• What should race directors and governing bodies do when a tragedy occurs in a non-sanctioned race?
• What are the statistics of accidents and deaths in open water swimming events around the world?
• What requirements and recommendations are in place for channel swims in established bodies of water? What about bodies of water where there is no governing body?
• What kind of products really work with jellyfish stings, especially with box jellyfish and Portuguese man o war? How are these products applied before, during and after the swim?
• What medical equipment is used and recommended at an open water swim?
• What’s a Shark Shield, Electronic Shark Defense System, MySwimIt, Swim Safety Device or prop guard?
• How are glow sticks applied? What colors are best to use?

• What are the advantages of a kayak vs. a paddleboard?
• Why should a coach have a whistle?
• How should crew members or an open water swimming coach be selected?
• How have some close calls been averted?
• What happens when hundreds or thousands of athletes are in the open water at the same time?
• Why is stroke per minute data important?
• Sharks: what are their behavior patterns? What basic information should swimmers, coaches, race directors, parents and administrators know about them?

Those will be some of the open water swimming issues raised and questions discussed at the 2012 Global Open Water Swimming Conference‘s safety panels.

The information presented will be eye-opening and educational. The answers may also be controversial and debatable. It is an opportunity for the global open water swimming community to gather together, present their experiences, discuss best practices and share protocols, procedures and policies around the world with each other. From extreme swims with water temperatures ranging from 3°C – 32°C to events with high surf and unexpected currents, the community can help each other in most valuable ways.

To register for the 2012 Global Open Water Swimming Conference on September 21-22, visit here.

Serious, strategic and smart, Dr. Marcy MacDonald surrounds herself with an efficient team and achieves her goals time and time again. How the podiatrist works in these marathon swimming feats given her responsibilities with patients and the causes she champions is one reason why she is nominated for the 2011 World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year

Copyright © 2012 by Open Water Source