SBCSA Newsletter - March 2013
The Results are in!
You voted and we are pleased to share the results from the marathon swimming survey. Below is how marathon swimmers feel about marathon swimming. The results have been broken down in to 3 areas which are strong support (76% to 100% agreement), moderate support (61% to 75% agreement) and controversial (60% or less agreement).
Please go to Freshwater Swimmer for a more comprehensive, analytical report compliments of Evan Morrison.
Open Water Rules: Commentary by Penny Palfrey
As I enter my 20th year of marathon swimming and having swum the English Channel (twice), Cook Strait, Gibraltar Strait (3 times including a double crossing), Manhattan Island marathon swim (3 times), Tampa Bay marathon, Santa Barbara Channel Islands (3 including Catalina), Hawaiian channels (several), Rottnest Channel (9 times), Tsugaru Strait and others, I feel I’ve gained enough experience along the way to have a point of view with regard to the various sets of rules between many of the swims. Various, because I’m yet to find more than two organizations that have exactly the same set of rules.
Ironically the two organizations that operate in the English Channel have differing opinions when it comes to the suits swimmers are permitted to wear. One allows jammers (suits to the knees) the other does not. Swimmers start and finish on dry land or by touching a cliff face.
Moving on to the Catalina Channel, where the suit rules are the same as the CS&PF (English Channel Swimmers & Pilots Federation) but the Catalina Channel Swimming Federation insists that a swimmer starts and finishes on dry land. The Catalina Channel also differs with both English Channel organizations in that swimmers are not limited to one hour on one hour off pace swimmers. On some occasions, more than one swimmer crosses at a time.
As for the Santa Barbara Channel swimming association, the suit rules are the same as Catalina however a swimmer is permitted to start or finish by touching a cliff face and does not necessarily have to start and finish on dry land. Just up the road a little to San Francisco are the Farallon Islands. Here a neoprene cap is allowed because the first two swimmers used neoprene caps during their crossings in 1967. The other difference is that swimmers do not start/finish on land at the islands themselves; in fact they do not even touch the shore. The swim starts/finishes at a marker buoy because the islands are a wildlife sanctuary. Bravo for the organizers of this swim for having respect for the environmental restrictions and the first swimmers to have accomplished this great feat.
Hawaii does not have any suit rules other than no wet suits allowed. It makes sense that swimmers can protect themselves from jellyfish which have life threatening venom. Swimmers must start and finish on dry land. This is tricky in that permission is required to land on Kahoolawe or Niihau Islands. Where in the case on Niihau which is a private island, swimmers are greeted by men with guns.
Tampa Bay is a race and organized under USMS therefore FINA rules apply for this swim. FINA changes its rules from time to time. When Chris and I swam Tampa Bay in 2007 having checked with Ron Collins the race organizer, Chris chose to wear a full body suit, while I wore a regular suit. Both were deemed legal at that time. Start and finish was on land.
Rottnest Channel allows full suits and even a suit and a rash guard. These are permitted to protect swimmers from jellyfish stings and sunburn. Though I understand this rule has or is about to be changed.
In my opinion there should be two categories “swimmer protection” and “swimmer aids”. Swimmer protection should be acceptable, along with GPS, weather forecasting, modern boating equipment, training methods and nutrition. The use of aids should be acceptable in a separate category, like a wetsuit category/assisted swim category.
Aids: An aid “artificially enhances” swimmers ability.
- Wetsuit – Aids buoyancy also retains heat
- Paddles and pool buoys.
- Swim streamers
- Solar shower
- Goggles – protect eyes
- Ear plugs – protect ears
- Grease – protection from chafing, and some believe protection from the cold.
- Sun block – protection from the sun
- Jellyfish cream – protection from jellyfish
- Protective suit – protection from sunburn and or jellyfish
- Shark deterrents
Advancements in technology: Since Captain Matthew Webb’s first crossing of the English Channel in 1875, there have been huge advances in technology in every area of channel swimming. From the support boats, weather information, coaching methods and feeding. These days’ family and friends can even follow the swimmer from the other side of the world courtesy of GPS tracking devices, facebook and mobile phones. We’ve come a long way from the days of a row boat with a lantern and being fed with beef tea and brandy.
In my opinion safety is the responsibility of everyone involved in a swim and should be taken very seriously. Namely the swimmer, the crew, the pilot and the race or swim organizers. Our sport is growing rapidly and for the enjoyment of future generations of swimmers, we must take care and be responsible now.
Where tropical waters are infested with jellyfish with life threatening venom, I do not believe it’s cheating to wear a protective suit that does not artificially enhance a swimmers ability. On the contrary I believe it’s being responsible. In fact they do actually make a swimmer slower and cause problems such as extra drag and chafing. I know the dangers of venomous jellyfish first hand, not only from my experiences as a marathon swimmer but also from living in North Queensland, Australia where the lifeguards are not permitted to take part in any club activities without wearing full stinger protection, even when training inside the stinger protective swimming enclosure. The reason for this is because our waters are inhabited by Box Jellyfish and Irukandji jellyfish which are both potentially fatal.
Protecting humans, sharks and our sport.
What happens if a swimmer’s attacked by a shark during a marathon swim? To date I think we, as a whole, have been very lucky. There have been very few shark attacks during a marathon swim; the only one I’m aware of is Mike Spalding in Hawaii who was bitten at night by a Cookie Cutter shark. As marathon swimmers, we have an obligation to take care of the environment in which we swim and that includes sharks. By protecting swimmers we are also protecting sharks; what happens if a swimmer is bitten by a shark? Quite often people are sent out to find the shark in question. The more responsible swimmers are, the less risk and the less negative publicity our sport will receive, therefore swimmers will be able to continue to enjoy the freedom of the sport we do today. I imagine if there were several shark attacks during English Channel swims for example, swimming the EC could become an official nightmare.
Well that’s my two bobs worth, safe and happy swimming to all,
We are accepting applications for the 2013 season
The SBCSA is accepting applications for the 2013 season. We offer early bird discounts to those whose applications are received by May 1st. We have records to be broken and numerous “firsts” for all of you “pioneers.” Remember, a record can and will be broken, but a “first” can never be taken away.
- Did you know that there have been 36 solo swims between Anacapa Island and mainland, but no swimmer has broken the 4:30 mark? The fastest time to date is Jim McConica’s 4:38:07.
- Did you know that the distance between Santa Cruz Island and mainland is one mile shorter than the English Channel and the Catalina Chanel, yet only one swimmer has broken the 10 hour mark? The current fastest time is Evan Morrison’s 9:47:39.
- Did you know that of the 7 California Channel islands the SBCSA represents, men hold the fastest time off of 3 (Anacapa, Santa Cruz and Santa Rosa) and women have the fastest time off of 3 (San Miguel, Santa Barbara and San Clemente) with one island never being attempted? Who is going to settle the score?
- Did you know there has never been a successful relay or solo swim off of San Nicolas Island (61.2 to 69.3 miles depending on course)?
- Did you know that Catalina is the only channel island which a person has swam around? The remaining 7 islands have never been circumnavigated.
- Did you know there have only been 4 successful inter-island swims between Southern California Channel Islands?
- Did you know our youngest successful male swimmer was only 10 years of age (Kaustubh Vermuri) and our oldest (Emilio Casanueva) was 68 years old when they swam from Anacapa Island in 2007 and 2008 respectively?
- Did you know our oldest successful female swimmer (Lynn Kubasek) was 53 years of age and our youngest, Fiona Goh, was only 13 when they swam from Anacapa in 2011 and 2012?
- Did you know that only 3 people have completed island/mainland swims from 3 different Southern California Channel islands?
- Did you know that with our 7 islands, there are 41 different swims available (to and from, around and between)? Did you know that only 7 routes have been done meaning there are still 34 “firsts” available?
What are you waiting for? Fill out that application today!
SBCSA Available "Firsts"
- San Nicholas – mainland
- San Nicholas – circumnavigation
- San Clemente – circumnavigation
- Santa Barbara - circumnavigation
- Anacapa – circumnavigation
- Santa Cruz – circumnavigation
- Santa Rosa – circumnavigation
- San Miguel – circumnavigation
- San Clemente – Catalina interisland
- San Clemente – San Nicholas interisland
- San Clemente – Santa Barbara interisland
- San Clemente – Anacapa interisland
- San Clemente – Santa Cruz interisland
- San Clemente – Santa Rosa interisland
- San Clemente – San Miguel interisland
- Catalina – San Nicholas interisland
- Catalina – Santa Barbara interisland
- Catalina – Anacapa interisland
- Catalina – Santa Cruz interisland
- Catalina – Santa Rosa interisland
- Catalina – San Miguel interisland
- San Nicholas – Santa Barbara interisland
- San Nicholas – Anacapa interisland
- San Nicholas – Santa Cruz interisland
- San Nicholas – Santa Rosa interisland
- San Nicholas – San Miguel interisland
- Santa Barbara – Anacapa interisland
- Santa Barbara – Santa Cruz interisland
- Santa Barbara – Santa Rosa interisland
- Santa Barbara – San Miguel interisland
- Anacapa – Santa Rosa interisland
- Anacapa – San Miguel interisland
- Santa Cruz – San Miguel interisland
- Santa Rosa – San Miguel interisland
Become an SBCSA Lifetime Member
The SBCSA lifetime membership is an excellent way to financially support the SBCSA, which is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. The cost of a lifetime membership is only $250. Lifetime members are entitled to:
- A $100 discount on all solo sanction fees.
- A $50 discount on relay sanction fees (the discount is additive if a relay team includes multiple SBCSA lifetime members).
- A 25% discount on the annual banquet.
- An introduction at the annual banquet.
- Name recognition in various SBCSA publications.
- The satisfaction of supporting an association that works hard to promote safe, traditional, environmentally conscious marathon swimming in the California Channel Islands.
- To become a SBCSA Lifetime Member, please fill out the lifetime member from our website
SBCSA Lifetime Members
SBCSA Board members at February 2nd board meeting in Santa Barbara L to R: Jim Fitzpatrick, Scott Zornig, Lynn Kubasek, Cherie Edborg, Theo Schmeeckle, Jane Cairns, Dave Van Mouwerik, Evan Morrison and Rob Dumouchel