In the process of pondering her Triple Crown of Open Water Swimming achievement, Western Australia’s Barbara Pellick reviewed her three swims – in the English Channel, in the Catalina Channel, and around Manhattan Island – in the context of how technology has changed from the time I started swimming marathons back in 1992.

During my English Channel swim in 1995, there was no technology. My application and organising my skipper – Mike Oram – was via a landline phone and snail mail. Information was garnered by contacts and accommodation was offered via a friend of a friend.

For the Manhattan Island Marathon Swim in 2000, technology was starting to appear. I submitted my entry via fax. In response, an information pack was sent out to me in the post and accommodation was booked via a travel agent.

For the Catalina Channel in 2013, everything was online. Applications were sent by email, accommodation was booked via web sites. Forums are available to acquire information from and within minutes of completing the crossing it was all up on Facebook.

Even Rotto [the Rottnest Channel Swim in Western Australia] started out by using line of sight and compass bearings. Now even the course is set using way points. There is no excuse for going off-course now.

I think I’ve been in the game too long but it is really interesting looking back at the history and changes since I started out. I plan to ponder it again in another 20 years; hope I’m still swimming marathons then.”

Photo courtesy of the Catalina Channel Swimming Federation Facebook page.

Copyright © 2013 by World Open Water Swimming Association