Predictable unpredictability is a commonly understood mantra of open water swimming.

Similar to Expect The Unexpected, it is a fundamental understanding, deep appreciation and common experience among open water swimmers and triathletes that the elements (e.g., wind, waves, currents, tides, marine life, water temperature, rain, lightening or fog), the course (e.g., turn buoy placement, course layout, feeding station, start, finish structure, boating traffic, shoreline distance, official boat or kayak placement, escort boat fumes, mechanical boat failure), the competition (pacing and positioning relative to other male, female and/or wetsuited swimmers or division separation), and one’s own physical conditions (due to seasickness, lack of hydration or ill feeling to due food or drink mixtures, stamina or strength)

can present open water swimmers with unplanned surprises and unexpected circumstances during an open water swimming competition, solo swim or relay.

This inherent unpredictability can lead to good or bad results.

But whatever the case, the predictable unpredictability requires swimmers, coaches, pilots, support crew, safety personnel and officials to adapt and accommodate to the situation as necessary. This is part of the allure of the sport and the challenge of aquatic adventures.

While occasionally viewed pessimistically or negatively, predictable unpredictability can often surprise an open water swimmer or triathlete. Currents and ocean swells can change for the easier, conditions can improve, positioning and pacing can be better than expected, and times can be faster when everything clicks or you are simply flat-out lucky.

Two examples of predictable unpredictability are the victors of the men’s 2008 Beijing Olympic Games marathon swim by the Netherland’s Maarten van der Weijden and the women’s 2012 London Olympic Games marathon swim by Hungary’s Eva Risztov.

Related article on the Black Swan Theory.

Upper photo by Dr. Jim Miller above shows Margy Keefe after learning she unexpectedly won a silver medal at the 2005 World Swimming Championship 5 km race in Montreal, Canada. Lower photo shows Darren Miller caught in an unexpected eddy near Hokkaido in the Tsugaru Channel.



Copyright © 2012 by Open Water Source


Join Open Water Source as a FREE Member or as a Premium Member

Register for FREE and see content that is not accessible to the general public.

Better yet, join Open Water Source as a Premium Member and get full access instantly.

Premium Membership:

See What You’re Missing!

Subscription Amount: $5.99/month

Access All Premium Content!

Open Water Source… Your complete source for open water swimming.

Open Water Swimming Race Calendar

[SlideDeck id='1522' width='100%' height='260px']


Tackling The Ocean
Retired NFL Defensive End and Pro Bowl superstar, Marcellus Wiley, conquers his fears of swimming in open water at the OptimusSport Distance Swim Challenge, Santa Monica, CA




Voting is open! See the Complete List of WOWSA Nominees in all four categories.
[Read more…]

An Inspirational Cause… A Successful Event

With the powerful cause of making waves to fight cancer, the inaugural Swim Across America Long Beach event was both inspirational and successful.

Before he came out of the water, Craig knew that a certain question had to be answered. It wasn’t a question about his middle name or anything like that. It was much more profound. It was a question posed by himself, a question that only he could answer for himself. When Craig was able to answer that question, Hank embraced him and congratulated him on finishing the 5K with dignity.

Add A Swim
Anyone in the world can add a swim to iSwimtoo and discover places to swim that have been added and shared by swimmers throughout the world.



Entering an event is free. If you are an event manager, we would like to have all your events in the event database so we can patronize your events and boost your numbers!

More people swim than play football, run, cycle, golf, tennis or just about anything else in the world!
Click HERE to find scheduled open water swims in your area.