Ori Sela And Friends Mask The Pain Of Salt Mouth

Ori Sela And Friends Mask The Pain Of Salt Mouth

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Some things in the open water swimming world are downright painful: shark bites for sure, jellyfish stings most certainly, shoulder injuries, and a soft tissue condition known as ‘salt mouth‘.

Salt mouth is a condition faced by open water swimmers when they swim for long durations of time in salt water. Their lips, tongue and inner linings of the mouth become raw, bleed and feel very sore and occasionally extremely painful. As a result of this condition, it is often difficult or impossible for swimmer to drink or consume anything due to swelling caused by the salt water.

Diana Nyad (after swimming for over 52 hours in the Florida Straits, Penny Palfrey (after swimming for over 42 hours in the Cayman Islands), and Chloë McCardel (after swimming for over 41 hours in the Bahamas) were photographed when they did their longest swims in the tropical waters with high salinity – and the swellness of their lips, tongues and mouth were clearly evident.

When Palfrey was in the throes of discomfort during her 67.26-mile (108 km), 40 hour 41 minute swim between Little Cayman and Grand Cayman Islands in the Cayman Islands, she was slightly comforted by fueling up on chocolate ice cream during a mid-swim hydration stop.

But Ori Sela and his ultra-marathon relay buddies including Udi Erell, Doron Amosi, Ben Enosh, Oded Rahav, and Luc Chetboun are planning to swim in the Dead Sea.

The Dead Sea (Hebrew: יָם הַ‏‏מֶּ‏‏לַ‏ח; Arabic: البحر الميت‎), also called the Salt Sea, is a hypersaline lake bordering Jordan to the east and Israel to the west. It is 427m (1,401 feet) below sea level, Earth’s lowest elevation on land. With 34.2% salinity, it is one of the world’s saltiest bodies of water, 9.6 times as salty as the ocean. This salinity makes for a harsh environment in which animals cannot flourish, hence its name.

The Dead Sea is 50 km (31 miles) long and 15 km (9 miles) wide at its widest point.

Because it is salty as hell, our 18 km Dead Sea Swim will be very challenging and different,” explains Sela. “Because of the salt, so we are swimming with a unique mask on February 2nd 2016 if the weather is good.”

For more information, visit the Salty Swim.

Copyright © 2015 by World Open Water Swimming Association