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Olympic Open Water Swimming History Explained

Courtesy of World Clinic, American Swimming Coaches Association, Anaheim, California.

From Alfréd Hajós (gold, shown on left), Ioannis Andreou (silver) and Efstathios Chorafas (bronze) finished 1-2-3 at the 1896 Olympic Games in a cold 1.2 km bay swim in Athens, Greece.

112 years later in the warm ocean waters off Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Ferry Weertman (gold), Spyridon Gianniotis (silver) and Marc-Antoine Olivier (bronze) finished 1-2-3 at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

Steven Munatones will present the history of open water swimming at the 1896, 1900, 1904, 2008, 2012 and 2016 Games at the 50th World Clinic hosted by the American Swimming Coaches Association on September 4th in Anaheim, near Disneyland, California.

The presentation will be part of a comprehensive 4-hour presentation on Coaching Open Water Swimming where the historical roots of open water swimming from Japanese samurai to knights in medieval times will be told. Then Munatones will describe the evolution of the sport from the early years of competitive open water swimming and its growth as a professional marathon sport in the 1950’s, 1960’s and 1970’s through the Olympic years in 2008 Beijing, 2012 London, and 2016 Rio.

We will also discuss – thinking creatively based on what we know now – how the 10 km marathon swim will play out in Tokyo in 2020, Paris in 2024 and Los Angeles in 2028,” says Munatones. “Who to expect in the lead pack? Who might be in the chase pack? What types of workouts do the top athletes do? Because the evolution of the sport can be comprehensively traced back for decades, the expectations for the future can be imagined and predicted.

In addition to the fastest swimmers in the open water, we will also talk about amateur marathon swimming, the emerging world of ice swimming and cold water swimming, stage swims around the world, channel swims, and bucket lists of swims from Europe to Asia.

We will talk about the technologies that are used, the most popular websites and personalities in the sport, controversies, and how elite open water swims are officiated, adjudicated and administered.

Finally, any and all questions and issues will be addressed and discussed among the participants.”

For a full schedule at the 2018 ASCA World Clinic, visit here. To register, see here.

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