Cook Strait Swim, New Zealand

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Tragedy strikes again....

By now every swimmer in the world has heard about the tragic death of 26 year old, Olympic hopeful, Fran Crippen. This morning CNN reported that preliminary test revealed that Fran suffered a heart attack (October 25 CNN retracted their statement of "heart attack" and waiting for further test results ) while competing in the FINA 10-kilometer Marathon Swimming World Cup in the United Arab Emirates I was deeply saddened when I heard about his death. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends. It brought back very painful memories of my brother Robbie, who broke several swim records, too. And died suddenly and unexpectedly of a heart attack at the age of 34. After he died, I learned that in the United States heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. And globally, the World Health Organization (WHO) has predicted that by 2020 that the leading cause of death world wide will be heart disease. Their director, Dr. Robert Beaglehole said, "The old stereotype of cardiovascular disease affecting only stressed, overweight, middle aged men in developed countries no longer applied. Today men, women, and children are at risk." With Fran's untimely death, it brought those statistics to mind. In our swim community, we have raised awareness and money for several worthy causes such as cancer, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and several other causes. Today, I think it would be wonderful if our swim community would help bring an awareness of heart disease. This morning before my swim practice, I drew a small red heart on my swim cap to symbolize that I am joining the fight against heart disease. And on February 14, I will be swimming at my local pool to raise money for our local Heart Foundation. I am asking swimmers world wide to organize a swim in your hometown.....wear a red heart on your swim cap, and donate money to your local Heart Foundation. Please forward this posting to all swim clubs. Together we can make a difference. Thank you

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Strait of Gibraltar's Half Century Club

I recently read a wonderful article on the Strait of Gibraltar's Half-Century Club by Steven Munatones.  This club is exclusively for swimmers who have successfully crossed the Strait of Gibraltar after their 50th birthday.   His blogs "The Daily News of Open Water Swimming" "The Water is Open" and "Open Water Source" are the most comprehensive swim sites that I have visited.  He mentioned other "Half-Century" clubs for other well known swims such as Catalina, English Channel, Cook Strait and Molokai  Channel.  Because a swimmer has reached their 50th birthday, it doesn't mean their swim career is over.  It may be just the beginning to a very rewarding swim career.  In my case,  at the age 59 I had one the best swims of my life ...... In June, I set the U.S Woman's record for the Strait of Gibraltar swim with a time of 3 hours and 28 minutes and placed fastest time for the Half-Century Club among women and men since 1928.  I did not start this swim with the intention of breaking any records....I was blessed with perfect conditions.   If you are approaching your 50th birthday....celebrate...celebrate...celebrate.    And recognize that the best is yet to come.   Go for it!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

First open water swim


My first open water swim occurred in a mud puddle behind my home nearly fifty-five years ago. At the age of four, I wanted to learn how to swim and I asked my brother Tom, age 5, to teach me. It was a very hot summer day and I thought it was a great idea to learn how to swim in a mud puddle. Little did I know the hazards of swimming in dirty water.....When my mother discovered our little swim lesson, she had a good laugh, took this photo, and told me to "NEVER EVER" do that again. I listened to her. She signed me up for swim lessons and the rest is history.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Swimming Induced Pulmonary Edema

Every marathon swimmer and crew should be aware of "swimming induced pulmonary edema." It is a very serious medical problem that can develop while the athlete is swimming. Even the very young, healthy, well -conditioned athlete can experience a sudden onset of pulmonary edema. Research is ongoing. Some swimmers in wetsuits, non-wetsuits, cold water and warm water swims have experienced it. While swimming, the athlete may suddenly experience respiratory distress, shortness of breath, and coughing up frothy pink sputum. Some researchers have seen a correlation of over-hydration prior and during a swim and NOT urinating on a regular basis during the swim. While swimming a marathon event (English Channel), the swimmer and crew must be mindful of the amount of fluid that is being consumed. But more importantly, the swimmer must urinate on a regular basis (every few hours). If the swimmer does not urinate and continues to drink 300+ ml per hour, fluid overload will occur very quickly. This fluid will travel to the lungs and creates pulmonary edema. Immediate medical attention is required. In training, an open water swimmer should be very conscientious about urinating especially after a few hours of swimming. Some open water swimmers have to "stop" to urinate and others will urinate while swimming on the go. Regardless, a swimmer should plan to urinate at least every three hours during a marathon swim. Closely monitoring your intake and output during a marathon swim may help to avoid pulmonary edema.