Open Water Swimming In The Philippines

Open Water Swimming In The Philippines

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

The Philippines is an archipelago of 7,107 islands.

As swimming coach Betsy Medalla explains, “Swimming in open water is free. Long distance open water swimming evens out the playing field; it is less about might or arm span, and leans more toward strategy and determination. We should excel at this sport not just in the region, but internationally.”

Including Macarine, there have been a handful of Filipino sea swimmers over the years: Ricardo Cuenca who swam 47 hours and 92.6 km in a shark cage in 1969, Basti Lacson who swam across the Strait of Gibraltar, and Guy Concepcion who participated in the FINA 10K Marathon Swimming World Cup.

But the sport is gradually emerging among the innumerable beautiful locations in the Philippine archipelago.

One of its most historical events still is only celebrating its tenth anniversary in May 2015, the 15 km relay from Kamanga Beach in Maasim to Glan in Sarangani Province. Teams of 5 members in the Swim across Sarangani Bay race for the first cash prize of P50,000 (US1,130), second of P30,000 (US$678) and third of P25,000 (US$565). Remaining teams that finish receive P6,000 (US$136).

Marine biologist and visionary Guiseppe Chew first proposed the 15 km plan to the Sarangani Bay Festival. “I could still vividly remember when I made my suggestion to the floor when we had our first meeting to conduct the Sarangani Bay Festival, everyone was laughing at me. The suggestion was almost killed if not for Board Member Art Lawa who supported and believed in my grandiose plan.”

Medalla’s Philippine Open Water Swimming (POWS) is growing and includes the following events:

* 358 Swim, a 3 km, 5 km and 8 km open water swim in the Hamilo Coast at the Pico de Loro Beach and Country Club in Nasugbu, Batangas
* Caramoan 7K Swim Challenge, a 3.5 km and 7 km open water swimming event between islands in in Camarines Sur
* Guimaras-Iloilo Strait, a 7 km crossing from the Buenavista Wharf in Guimaras to the Iloilo river wharf across the Iloilo Strait first accomplished by Martin Soriano in 1994
* Olango Swim Challenge, a 6 km sea swim in Cebu
* Aqua Sphere Open Water Series, a series of 3 sea swims including 250m, 500m, 1.5 km, 3 km, 5 km, 8 km race at Pico de Loro Beach & Country Club in Nasugbu, Batangas
* 13 km crossing from Balicasag Island to Alona Beach on Panglao Island in Bohol
* 7.2 km crossing of the Babuyan Channel
* 12.8 km crossing of the Surigao Channel from Hikdop Island to Surigao City
* 4 km crossing from Basul Island to Surigao City
* Swim across Sarangani Bay, a 15 km 5-member relay from Kamanga Beach in Maasim to Glan in Sarangani
* Splashmob White Castle Challenge, a 3 km open water social swim in Subi

Copyright © 2015 by World Open Water Swimming Association