As The Swimming World Is On Lockdown And Quarantines, Open Water Continues

Courtesy of Ned Denison, Dublin, Ireland.

Open water swimmers are, by most accounts, out-of-the-box thinkers and adventurous souls. Their venues of choice are oceans, seas, lakes, rivers, lochs, quarries and estuaries.

Their personalities and characters lead these open water swimmers to recreate and challenge themselves in wild swims, extreme swims, channel crossings, winter swims, high-altitude swims, ice swims and marathon swims.

In contrast, the activities of their aquatic cousins – competitive and swimmers, divers, water polo players and artistic swimmers – are defined and dictated by rectangular pools, many indoor and regulated by chemicals and chlorine.

With required lockdowns, mandatory closures and massive quarantines, the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has impacted the sporting world just as has it has daily life.

Australia, Canada, China, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Italy, France, Ireland, Spain, the Netherlands, Brazil, Great Britain and Japan have recently cancelled or postponed major pool swimming meets due to the coronavirus pandemic. In the United States, the NCAA Swimming Championships were cancelled concurrently with all competitive swim meets governed by USA Swimming over the next 30 days. In Italy and elsewhere, competitive and masters swimmers cannot find open pools.

Schools have closed. Sports team practices are banned. Events are cancelled. Seasons are eliminated,” said Steven Munatones based in Southern California. “While older adults have experienced various unexpected situations in their lives, from war to oil shock panics and embargoes of various types, the teenagers in our area find themselves in unexpected circumstances. With practices, games, tournaments and seasons cancelled and banned, they no longer have school (in some cases) and no formalized physical outlets like they previously enjoyed with organized sports and leagues. The demographic of highly energetic teenagers are now let loose without their regular hours of training and daily supervision from their coaches and teachers. It will be an interesting social experiment how lifestyles will change – for better or worse – especially with no defined end in sight.”

But if there is any normalcy left in the sporting world, it seems to be found among the open water swimming community.

Winter swimming World Cup events are continuing as scheduled. International Ice Swimming Association-governed events are continuing. Swimmers – alone and in groups – continue to enter the open water around the globe over, including the woman above in Dublin, Ireland.

* On the 2019 – 2020 International Ice Swimming Association circuit, only the 53rd Winter Swim across the Meuse River was cancelled (due to changes implemented by local authorities). The event is shown above.

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