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Third Spacing, Sun And Salt Play Havoc

Open Water Source had the opportunity to watch many lengthy swims over the past year:

  • the 55-hour Swim 22 relay in the Catalina Channel
  • the 55-hour Mexican American Unity Swim in Lake Powell, Arizona, and…
  • the 40-hour 41-second 68-mile swim in the Cayman Islands by Penny Palfrey.

These lengthy swims put a lot of pressure on the escort pilots and support team. However, nothing affects the countenance of a marathon swimmer like immersion in warm, salt water.

While hypothermia and cold water are undoubtedly difficult to overcome*, the skin and soft tissue of swimmers who do ultra-marathons over 24 hours in the tropical heat are significantly affected.

After 24 hours in water that is over 28 degrees C, the skin becomes tremendously bloated and tongue, gum and the soft tissue swell to unhuman proportions.

As the swimmers end the second consecutive day in the warm water under the tropical sun, their skin and soft tissue go from tremendously discomforting to incomprehensibly painful.

As the swimmer enters the third day under these conditions, only a handful of individuals in all of human history have experienced this realm of physiological transformation.

Diana will be one of these individuals. And her colorful eloquence will shed light on her experience.

* the 52-hour three-way crossing of the English Channel

Copyright © 2011 by Open Water Source

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