Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Channel swimming, marathon swimming, ice swimming, and various other niche areas of open water swimming from expedition swimming to sea trekking have taken off all over the world.

Whether people swim 1 km for fitness or competition, whether they do simple training swims or more extreme swims, whether they attempt solo stage swims or relays, whether they participate in swimming hoidays and tours, the sport of open water swimming is now well-established.

But we predict there are still several niche areas of growth that nascent and will soon take off. There will be further development and offerings of open water swim camps and clinics as well as more practical research and clinical testing by scientists, physicians, and physiologists.

We also foresee the growth of various types of formal and informal open water orienteering events.

Open water orienteering is swimming that requires navigation between randomly placed buoys or points in a natural or manmade open body of water for fitness or fun, training and racing. Open water orienteering can be either competitive or non-competitive in nature and is done in oceans, lakes, rivers, bays and reservoirs at any time of the day or night.

Open water orienteering is generally done with partners, teammates, competitors as each individual or group is given a specific sequence to touch each buoy that is randomly anchored in a set area. The swimmers or groups are all given a different sequence to touch the buoys so everyone has a different course. It is fundamentally an open water scramble. Swimmers take off from shore in different directions and it is difficult to know who is in the lead until the end. Swimmers occasionally cross paths with one another and must always navigate different angles between turn buoys.

Just pure fun.

Copyright © 2014 by World Open Water Swimming Association