Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

In the highly popular Tiki Swim in Oceanside, California, the top 3 women in the 2.4-mile swim wore no wetsuits while the top 3 male finishers clad themselves in neoprene.

Luane Rowe of FINIS won overall with Amy Dantzler in 3rd and Open Water Swimming Club‘s Lexie Kelly finishing in 4th. The top neoprene-clad men went 2nd, 5th and 6th.

What a great day out here,” said Kelly. “The water was clear and the sky and conditions were gorgeous. Brian Long puts on such a great show – everyone is smiling – and the Tiki awards are so uniquely beautiful.

I liked how there were big waves at the beach start. We went through a set after a conch shell set us off. It was a fairly tough course to navigate, but we were able to sight off of the E and D in the Oceanside Sign – like the Hollywood sign in Hollywood Hills.”

The performance of the women in the California coastal Tiki Swim is neither surprising nor unusual, whether the data compares swimmers of both gender now or historically over time. The annals of open water swimming are filled with numerous examples of outstanding female performances ranging from 1-mile bay swims to 21-mile channel swims.

Melissa Gorman nearly won this year’s prestigious RCP Tiburon Mile while beating several world-class men. The overall Catalina Channel record still remains in the hands of Penny Dean since 1976. And the average women’s times across the English Channel are still significantly faster than the average men’s times. The performance of the women – on average – is true whether the races are conducted in salt water or fresh, rough water or smooth, warm water or cold which effectively discards the argument that women are better due to body fat and its effects in cold, ocean water.

As they say on land, ladies first.

Copyright © 2012 by World Open Water Swimming Association