Yutaka Shinozaki Speaks Eloquently At The Open Water Safety Conference

Yutaka Shinozaki Speaks Eloquently At The Open Water Safety Conference

Yutaka Shinozaki, founder of the Japan International Open Water Swimming Association, spoke eloquently on the last day of the Open Water Swimming Safety Conference in San Francisco. “In Japan, we lost many people including those in Miyagi [where the Nihonsandaikei Okumatsushima Open Water Swim is held].”

“Everything shook so much, my home was shaking so violently. And the aftershocks of the earthquake were so great. The tsunami size was so large – it was unbelievable – and we did not have much time between the earthquake and the tsunami
,” he explained. “But we will do our best [to rebuild and recover]. In our Japan International Open Water Swimming Association safety manual, we are prepared for tsunamis one hour after the earthquake, but this tsunami came only 9 minutes after. It was too much and too quickly.”

Shinozaki-san, like many dozens of other open water swimming race directors at the Global Open Water Swimming Safety Conference, shared his safety plans, protocols and procedures with participants from eight countries. The like-minded group of passionate open water swimming administrators, promoters, coaches, officials, swimmers and race directors shared hours and hours of detailed information, long-term vision, specific incidents and potential opportunities over the three-day conference.

It was great,” observed coordinator Steven Munatones. “We had people from all over the world and with different experiences in oceans, lakes, rivers and bays sharing their problems and solutions. As a global open water swimming community, we are staring at a wildly expanding sport whose numbers are increasing as the average skill levels are going down. From young to old, fitness to competitive, warm water to cold, sprint to marathon distance, these race directors and participants each brought their own experiences, expertise and passion to the table. They freely shared their information with the hope that their ideas and actions can help enhance the overall safety of the sport. And, this is only the beginning of a more integrated global discussion and follow-up action items on what best to do for the sport and its athletes. We will be sharing information and policies with other like-minded enthusiasts in the sport. Shinozaki-san is only one example of the tremendous passion that was shown by others in the conference.”

The sport now is closing in on nearly 4,000 open water swims in the world – plus an ever greater number of triathlons, charity swims, solo swims and relays. U.S. Masters Swimming, in particular, has recognized this fact and is making a serious investment in the sport. Open water swimming presents significant challenges and inherent risks – and everyone in the conference, as representatives of the sport, is taking the time, effort and energy to do their part in making it better.”

Gordon Gridley of Utah said of the conference, “I’m definitely going next year. It was time well spent.” Bruce Mccoubrey of Vancouver reiterated, “What a great event [on] a very timely topic with moving speeches.” Bruce Wigo of the International Swimming Hall of Fame was also appreciative. “What a great conference and thank you for the opportunity to attend and present the Swimmer Safety Device.”

Copyright © 2011 by Open Water Source
Steven Munatones