It's Showtime With Ned Denison

It’s Showtime With Ned Denison

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

60 Minutes flew to Cork, Ireland to capture the world’s most grueling swim training camp run by Ned Denison.

The American television film producers and crew were more than impressed and intrigued with the Cork Distance Week and its ambiance, goals and participants. “Calling Ned’s grueling swimming sessions a “camp” does a disservice to a word usually ascribed to fun-filled activities. The swim camp means pain and suffering for those hoping to conquer the English Channel, the Mount Everest of open water swimming.”

CBS’ Jeff Glor went to Ireland to see Denison torturing his campers in their preparations for the event of their lives. His report – called Torture Swim – will be broadcast on the next edition of 60 MINUTES SPORTS, premiering October 7th at 10 pm on Showtime Networks, a wholly-owned subsidiary of CBS Corporation.

Seriously motivated swimmers come to Denison for nine days of swimming in cold water, under varying and punishing conditions meant to duplicate what they may encounter in the Channel and other big swims. They will wind up swimming for nearly 40 hours and go over 60 miles. But the first thing, maybe the only thing they learn, is it’s more about the attitude than the stroke.”

Denison, a former All-American water polo goalie turned channel swimmer has a particularly unique perspective on his role at the head camper. “I do not understand swimming. I’ve never taken a swimming class. I don’t coach swimming technique at all. I am a motivator. I’m a seriously dangerous motivator.”

CBS was thoroughly surprised by Denison’s form of motivation. “Denison motivates by raising his voice and his swimmers’ expectation of their own abilities. He goes out of his way to find daunting water conditions that may steel them for the rough seas, stinging jellyfish and the cold water they’ll experience in a Channel swim. He takes them out and deliberately disorients them in the ocean, takes routes with sudden drops in water temperature, brings them inland to powerful rapids with cold water and rocks. He’s been known to weave among his swimmers in a motor boat to create a menacing wake, confronting them with conditions similar to the ship traffic they can face in the Channel.”

46 of Denison’s campers have completed the English Channel swim. “Something in the human psyche that loves this test. They seek it out. They want it. They want the challenge,” Denison told Glor. “It’s epic. It’s mythical. It’s ugly. It’s tough.”

Copyright © 2014 by World Open Water Swimming Association
Steven Munatones