The Perfect Open Water Woman

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Friendly and fit, intelligent and innovative, personable and professional.

These are just a few of the characteristics that define the open water swimmers who venture beyond the shorelines around the world.

From teenagers to great grandfathers, open water swimmers are billboards of healthy lifestyles with a fine balance between family and work, competition and fitness.

Looking back upon the history of open water swimming over the last few centuries, the contemporary generation of swimmers are simply carrying on the tradition of optimal living and powerful propulsion in the water buoyed with incredible mental facilities and a profound sense of adventure,” observe Steven Munatones.

Whether it was Annette Kellerman breaking boundaries in the early 20th century, Greta Andersen and Sandra Bucha going head-to-head with the world’s best men, Penny Dean earning her doctorate while setting records in the English and Catalina Channels, or Dr. Marilyn Korzekwa, Sue Oldham or Carol Sing swimming across channels, the world’s open water swimmers have incrementally led the way to provide hints to the rest of the society on how to continue swimming faster and living better for longer periods of time.

If we could magically create the optimal female open water swimmer, what characteristics, physical features, and innate talents would be involved?

The epitome of the perfect open water swimmer would be able to swim well in cold water, warm water, rough water, tranquil water, in the night and under the tropical sun. She could excel in both short ocean swims with heavy surf and in long marathon swims across channels. She could perform well in elite competitions as well as plan and complete unprecedented swims in uncharted waters.

The optimal swimmer would be made up of a composite of physiological and psychological attributes of the world’s swimmers. The swimmer would have:

* the tenacity of Angela Maurer
* the guttiness of Penny Palfrey
* the adventurousness of Lynne Cox
* the pioneering spirit of Rose Pitonof
* the courage of Natalie du Toit
* the emotional intelligence of Janel McArdle
* the organizational skills of Audrey Scott
* the oratorical abilities of Diana Nyad
* the speed of Éva Risztov
* the navigational IQ of Keri-Anne Payne
* the inspiration of Gertrude Ederle
* the compassion of Mercedes Glietze
* the competitiveness of Shelley Taylor-Smith
* the range of Ana Marcela Cunha
* the kick of Sandy Neilson
* the prolificity of Alison Streeter, MBE
* the business savvy of Annette Kellerman
* the track record of Monique Wildschut
* the intellect of Edith van Dijk, Ph.D.
* the industriousness of Penny Dean, Ph.D.
* the affability of Eney Jones
* the artistic talents of Lisa Stansbie
* the literary skills of Lynn Sherr
* the shoulder strength of Vicki Keith
* the closing speed of Larisa Ilchenko
* the personality of Melissa Gorman
* the high elbow catch of Martina Grimaldi
* the aerobic capacity of Sharon van Rouwendall

* the longevity of Pat Gallant-Charette
* the cold water acclimatization of Caroline Block, Ph.D.
* the medical acumen of Dr. Sakura Hingley
* the knowledge of marine life of Angel Yanagihara, Ph.D.
* the artistry of Zina Deretsky
* the coaching skills of Sally Minty-Gravett, MBE
* the smile of Haley Anderson
* the beauty of Marty Sinn
* the legs of Yvetta Hlaváčová
* the photogenicity of Britta Kamrau
* the eyes of Princess Charlene Wittstock
* the arms of Dana Vollmer
* the unnerving belief in oneself of Sarah Thomas
* the water temperature adaptability of Jaimie Monahan
* the all-around athleticism of Greta Andersen

The Perfect Open Water Man is posted here.

Photo above of Olympian Keri-Anne Payne.

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