From The Olympics To The Open Water

From The Olympics To The Open Water

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Larry Countryman, a former world-class swimmer from Harvard and swimming coach from Northern California, tells of a telling story of how one Olympian got him into open water swimming.

She was at a U.S. Masters Swimming pool competition where she got third in a distance event – the same event that she qualified for the Olympics. Someone came up to her and said, ‘Hey, you should have won, you’re an Olympian.’

Like many masters swimmers, she was swimming simply for the enjoyment and health benefits and not focused on competition, so she said, ‘Enough of that’. But that got her into open water swimming
.”

Countryman was similar; he had always compared his times as a working adult who swims to the times of his (way) younger competitive days as one of the top distance freestylers in the United States. “She suggested to me, ‘Why don’t you try open water swimming?’

So I did. Every race is different, even when the same event is held in the same body of water year after year. The elements are different; your times do not matter, and you are only competing against others around you. That is what is so great about open water swimming.

Well that experience got both of us into open water swimming
.”

Photo is an aerial shot of the Flowers Sea Swim in the Cayman Islands.

Copyright © 2014 by World Open Water Swimming Association