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
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.
See What You’re Missing!
Subscription Amount: $5.99/month
Access All Premium Content!
Open Water Source… Your complete source for open water swimming.
[SlideDeck id='1522' width='100%' height='260px']
|Voting is open! See the Complete List of WOWSA Nominees in all four categories.
An Inspirational Cause… A Successful Event
SWIM ACROSS AMERICA, LONG BEACH
THE DRAMA OF THE SPORT
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!