Dave Thomas Is Charged Up On Open Water

Dave Thomas Is Charged Up On Open Water

Dave Thomas, Open Water Coordinator for USA Swimming in the 1990s, recollects a great story of the USA Swimming National 25 km Open Water Swimming Championships.

Our event host pulled out before the championships, so I organized a race in a fishing lake just outside the Quad Cities in Illinois.

We swam around the perimeter of the lake five times, 5 km loops with every swimmer escorted by a Jon boat with a battery-powered trolling engine. But the battery would not last the entire 25 km, so we had to switch out the batteries at the end of every loop. When the swimmers and their boats would pass by the start, we would swap out their old batteries for a new one. We had 2 batteries for every swimmer and we recharged the batteries as the swimmers swam around the lake.

We had over 20 swimmers competing and 4 fishing records were set on that day. Overall, it was a great day.”

Thomas also recalls his days of coaching America’s best marathon swimmers throughout the 1990s up until 2006. “It is great to be a marathon swimmer’s coach. You are really in the race and you are in the escort boat. Your coaching during the race is critical. And how often in coaching does that occur? In the pool, you coach your athlete and then they get up on the blocks and they swim. But in marathon swimming, your coaching can affect the performance of the swimmer through decisions regarding navigational directions, pacing, and feeding.”

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