With the sport of open water swimming growing in all its various niches, the World Open Water Swimming Association conducted a comprehensive survey to estimate the size and demographic trends of the global community including ice swimmers, extreme swimmers, stage swimmers, fitness swimmers, marathon swimmers, competitive age-group swimmers, elite professional swimmers, relay swimmers, channel swimmers, and mass participation swimmers.
The results of Part 1 of this survey include the size of the channel swimming world. The World Open Water Swimming Association estimates there are a minimum of 710 active channel swimmers in 2012 who made at least 942 attempts and 797 successes across waterways in oceans or seas or around/between islands during this year. The analysis of the channel swimming survey are posted here. This number was derived by surveying all the established channel swimming governing bodies in the world in addition to the solo channel swimmers who attempted their swims outside of established governing bodies.
The results of Part 2 of its survey include the size of the marathon swimming world. The World Open Water Swimming Association estimates there are at least 6,500 active marathon swimmers – and there may be as many as 8,000 active marathon swimmers in the world. This number was derived from by a survey of 149 marathon swimming events of at least 10 km in distance (see list here) and adding the 710 active channel swimmers in the world to this estimated number. Some marathon swimmers do more than one of these swims and there are undoubtedly additional marathon swimmers who do unreported swims of marathon distance or swims that do not get on the global radar, but 6,500 is a reasonable estimate of the current size of the marathon swimming market. And it is growing at a rapid clip.
Part 3 of this survey estimates the number of professional open water swimmers in the world.
Who is defined as a professional swimmer? For the purposes of this survey, professional swimmers are those who swim as their livelihood (e.g., Martin Strel) or those who participate in the two established FINA professional marathon swimming circuits (i.e., FINA 10K Marathon Swimming World Cup and FINA Open Water Swimming Grand Prix), or those who earn prize money in the independent professional invitation races around the world (e.g., King and Queen of the Sea).
During the 2012 season, there were 203 male athletes and 176 female athletes who could be defined as professional open water swimmers for a total of 379 pro swimmers.
Among these athletes, these ultra-marathon swimmers included the following individuals:
Argentina: Damián Blaum, Guillermo Bertola, Luciano Sales Rubio, Martín Carrizo, Martin Miguel, Esteban Paz, Lucas Castro, Gabriel Villagoiz, Pilar Geijo, Noelia Petti, Antonella Bogarin, Rita Vanesa Garcia, Cecilia Biagioli,
Marianela Mendoza, Lara Rodriguez Anido, Aldana Martinez, Victoria Mori
Australia: Trent Grimsey
Belgium: Brian Ryckeman, Davy Billiau, Jarne Woutermaertens, Frone Wouters
Brazil: Sato Tiago, Matheus Evangelista, Ana Marcella Cunha, Mariana Mello
Bulgaria: Petar Stoychev, Tsvetan Yordanov, Lidiya Ivanova, Desislava Stoyanova
Canada: Xavier Desharnais, Philippe Guerrtin, Paul Blias-Morisett, Pierre Pelletier, Simon Covillard-Castonquay, Aurelie Cote, Leonie Pamerleau, Eloise Labrecque, Gabrielle Trottier
Croatia: Marin Milan, Duje Milan, Ivana Sitic, Dina Levacic
Czech Republic: Libor Smolka, Jan Posmourny, Michael Mruzek, Michal Flora, Rotislav Vitek, Silvie Rubarova, Jana Pechanova, Lenka Sterbova
Denmark: Mathilde Soerensen, Grith Sigsgaard
Egypt: Eslam Mohsen
France: Julien Sauvage, Joanes Hedel, Romain Beraud, Bertrand Venturi, Ophelie Aspord, Coralie Codevelle
Germany: Alexander Studzinski, Thomas Lurz, Andreas Waschburger, Christian Reichert, Benjamin Konschak, Angela Maurer, Nadine Reichert, Ines Hahn
Hungary: Gergely Kutasi
Ireland: Chris Bryan
Israel: Michael Demitreiev
Italy: Andrea Volpini, Edoardo Stochino, Rodolfo Valenti, Mattia Alberico, Alessandro Rivellini, Andrea Bondanini, Nicoletta Simonazzi
Mexico: Luis Escobar, Ivan Lopez, Alejandra Gonzalez
Macedonia: Evgenij Pop Acev, Tomi Stefanovski, Dejan Maladenovski, Aleksandar Pancevski, Miro Krstevski, Igor Dimonvski, Aleksandar Toromanoski, Danilo Paunovic,
Montenegro: Nikola Tepavcevic
Netherlands: Ian Van Der Hulst, Daan Glorie, Maaike Waayer, Irene Van Der Laan
Russia: Anton Pilipas, Ivan Afanevich, Anna Uvarova, Olga Kozydub, Alexandra Sokolova
Slovenia: Nika Kozamernik
Serbia: Nikola Stupar, Milorad Jaksic, Milos Bozinovic, Mina Mastilovic
Spain: Esther Nunez
Switzerland: Swann Oberson
Syria: Mohammad Saleh
Photo above shows Germans Alexander Studzinski and Nadine Reichert training on Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro.
Copyright © 2012 by World Open Water Swimming Association