The primary reasons for starting Openwaterpedia was for a few simple reasons:
1. Wikipedia encourages the addition of entries about people who are notable; but does not allow the addition of individuals who are not considered notable.
While “notable” may be defined in many ways, we believe all open water swimmers are notable for their exploits and courage, no matter their speed, age, background, placing or time.
Therefore, Openwaterpedia was created as a global online resource where open water swimmers of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds could be added, researched and celebrated.
2. Wikipedia’s information and links in the open water swimming space frequently were changed by volunteer editors and writers who were not daily keeping up with the frequent changes of the sport. Openwaterpedia enables the open water swimming community to maintain and add constant updates to the swimmers, coaches, pilots, events, products and services of the sport. So when a swimmer accomplishes a feat, no matter what the distance, time or placing, that information can be immediately added to their Openwaterpedia entry.
3. Wikipedia is limited in its understanding and coverage of the rapidly growing aquatic discipline of open water swimming, even if nearly 500,000,000 people visit Wikipedia monthly.
For example, endurance sports is defined by Wikipedia as “a subset of sports in which the goal is prolonged athletic output over an extended distance or for an extended period of time. They are very aerobic by nature.” However, Wikipedia does not include open water swimming, channel swimming or marathon swimming as part of its defined endurance sports. Endurance sports in Wikipedia has the following 10 subcategories: cross-country skiing, duathlon, endurance riding, long-distance races, marathoning, endurance motor racing, racewalking, rowing, triathlon, and ultramarathons.
Other endurance sports pages include 12-hour run, 24 hour mountain bike races, 24-hour run, 27 Kinder European Challenge, backward running, Beach Run, Biel running days, Breckenridge 100, Carbohydrate loading, Central governor, Cohutta 100, Colorado Relay, Cross-country cycling, Decathlon, Dipsea Race, Dolomitenmann, Endurance 100, Endurance riding, Mensen Ernst, Exercise physiology, Extra Mile Endurathon, Freedom Trail (South Africa), Marcel Heinig, Hitting the wall, Indoor triathlon, International Association of Ultrarunners, The Kokoda Challenge, Long slow distance, Lumberjack 100, Marathon mountain bike races, Marathon Rowing Championship, Mass start, Mohican MTB 100, Montezuma’s Revenge (bicycle race), National Ultra Endurance Series, Pump and run, Quadrathlon, Road bicycle racing, Running, Sabah Adventure Race, Shenandoah 100, Skyrunner World Series, Spartan race, Tapering, Team Strawberry, Tough Mudder, Tour Divide, Triathlon, Ultra-triathlon, Ultraman (endurance challenge), Ultramarathon, Whitney Classic, Wild West Relay, Wilderness 101 Mountain Bicycle Race, Winter duathlon, Winter triathlon.
But there is no open water swimming, ice swimming, channel swimming or marathon swimming – which is a recognized Olympic event – listed under Wikipedia’s endurance sports. But we know that open water swimming falls entirely within Wikipedia’s definition of endurance sports as “a subset of sports in which the goal is prolonged athletic output over an extended distance or for an extended period of time. They are very aerobic by nature.”
As an endurance sport, we enjoy an online world in which everyone can freely share in the knowledge of open water swimming, through Openwaterpedia and the innumerable other online sites, blogs and forums.
Photo shows Lexie Kelly and Steven Munatones swimming between Little Cayman and Cayman Brac in the Cayman Islands.
Copyright © 2013 by World Open Water Swimming Association