Elizabeth Almond, Driving Herself And Others In The Open Water

Courtesy of WOWSA, Lake Lanier, Georgia.

46-year-old Elizabeth Almond from Georgia completed the Triple Crown of Open Water Swimming in 84 days, the 7th fastest period to complete a crossing of the English Channel, a crossing of the Catalina Channel, and a circumnavigation swim around Manhattan Island.

The former Ironman triathlete started her marathon swimming career because she was looking for a new challenge 8 years ago. After her Triple Crown achievement, she plans a two-way crossing of Lake Memphremagog (In Search of Memphre) this summer.

The pharmacist who spends her dryland hours educating doctors and researchers about specialty drugs in the neurology field, lives and works in the Atlanta area, is a personable motivator. She has cultivated an eclectic crew of open water swimmers to train with.

Matthew Reilly says, “Nobody in the training group is even remotely close to her level of performance or accomplishment, but a really unique attribute that Elizabeth has is the belief that when someone else gets better, she gets better. She is very accessible and open to share insights, experiences, advice, scorn and motivation in a very collegial way – as an elite athlete, her desire to make the tent bigger for the sport is remarkable.

Athletes like Elizabeth are fully engaged in helping others push themselves further – leading by example, and also pulling people in. For example, Lake Lanier is where our training crew, led by Elizabeth, assembles to acclimate and practice cold water swimming. Water temperatures are currently in the mid to low 50°F’s. It would be easy for Elizabeth, as the de facto leader and elite member to wade in and do her workout, but every week she makes sure everyone else is settled and has a workout plan, and that the group gets in and acclimated, and then invites people to join her in her swim.

I find this remarkable and totally consistent with how she interacts with others [in the pool] and in the other venues – humble, confident, eager for others to succeed, and combined with her relaxed and amiable personality, she has a super maniacal drive and almost inhuman tolerance of pain and suffering.

When she demonstrates what is possible in terms of performance and pushing limits, it creates a spark in others to find and push their own limits. That’s what Elizabeth does in the open water swim community in her own unique, relaxed but driven way.”

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