The sport is not only growing exponentially because of the absolute number of open water swimmers is increasing, but it is also increasing dramatically because of support teams, families, friends, neighbors, and pool teammates who are also getting involved or introduced to the sport.
What is most interesting is the passion and excitement that the first-time escort crew (e.g., kayakers, paddlers, and masterfeedermixers) shows and inherently feel after their first channel swim or marathon swim when they are on an escort boat. These newbie escort crew members are often overwhelmed, inspired, and motivated by the efforts of the swimmer they see. These new converts to the sport can also be onshore watching the swimmer come into shore from the horizon, or a friend who simply comes to cheer on a swimmer in a local mile swim in an ocean or a competitive race in a lake.
They see the effort put forth by the open water swimmers and they appreciate the commitment and fortitude they demonstrate.
These people come to help and they leave as new members and devoted supporters of the sport. Their initial assistance often leads to additional volunteer activities at local swims or future channel crossings. If they don’t actually become hooked, they certainly remain impressed. Their eyes often catch an article or a tweet about open water swimming that they would have never catch before. Their ears perk up when they overhear conversations about the open water. They begin to understand the challenges of the open water and appreciate how others prepare themselves to meet these challenges.
So for every swimmer who enters the open water, several more become introduced and indoctrinated into the sport. This global phenomena is what is helping to fuel the exponential growth in the sport.
Simon Sinek, a renowned American writer and commentator, often explains why people do the things they do and why some have the capacity to inspire. He describes how these individuals think, act and communicate – and why helping others leads to such greatness. He speaks indirectly about all those escort crew members and volunteers at open water swims who help make the sport great.
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