June Newsletter

Posted by SBCSA, 1 June 2012

The 2012 Swim Line-up

This is going to be the SBCSA’s biggest year with a total of 26 scheduled swims. If you have attended the CCSF observer training program and have an interest in observing and supporting marathon swimming, please contact Dave Van Mouwerik.


Ned Denison channel swim video

On October 4, 2006, SBCSA board member, Ned Denison, set the record for the fastest time off of Santa Cruz Island. The SBCSA went along to film this event and has used his swim for marketing purposes ever since. If you have an interest in establishing a new record, being the first person to break the 10 hour barrier, or just want the challenge of completing the swim, you may wish to watch this video on YouTube.

Puerto Rico Marathon Swimming

I have always had a job which has involved a great deal of travel domestically and internationally. During my business trips, I usually attempt to swim with the local masters programs whenever the timing permits. Last month, I spent two weeks in San Juan, Puerto Rico and swam with the San Juan master’s team in both the Condado lagoon (an amazing place for open water swimming) and the Natatorium which was modeled after the pool used in the Atlanta Olympics. There are 300+ masters’ swimmers in Puerto Rico and I can’t say I have ever been made to feel more welcome. People from Puerto Rico are some of the friendliest I have ever met.

The team is coached by a dedicated, energetic and colorful person named Alfonso “Chago” Santiago. He had some creative and challenging workouts which involve use of fins, paddles and pull buoys at every workout. Of course, my 100 word Spanish vocabulary didn’t make the workouts any less challenging (all the workouts are in Spanish and I was one of those few who took German in high school). However, by the end of the two weeks I finally figured out that “Listo” means “ready go”, “Chapa” means “fins”, “tabla” means “kickboard” and “vamos rapido” means “Scott, get your slow tush moving.”

Surprisingly, with all that open water surrounding Puerto Rico, there is only a handful of open water swimmers and even fewer marathon swimmers. I was fortunate to meet an aspiring marathon swimmer by the name of Carlos Alvarez. He knew the names of all the living legends in our sport…Lynn Cox, Dave Yudovin, Penny Palfrey. He was a sponge who wanted as much information as possible about marathon swimming. I was glad to offer my limited knowledge and spend some fun days swimming with him in the lagoon, which is free of boats, box jelly fish and bull sharks (or so he says).

According to Carlos, there has never been any marathon swims off the islands of Puerto Rico. There are 5 main clusters of Islands with distances to satisfy almost every palate. I don’t know how David Yudovin could have possibly missed these, but apparently he did. Listed below are some of the islands and approximate distances.

If you are looking for a first, you might consider Puerto Rico where virgin islands and clear, warm water await you. While there, stop by and swim with Chago’s masters team at the Natatorium….just don’t forget to have your laminated Spanish dictionary on deck or you might end up doing a set of 200’s fly while everyone else is doing 50’s free.

SPOT Tracker

The SBCSA is pleased to announce that we have purchased a SPOT device for use in the 2012 season. With this device (the SPOT GPS Messenger), we will be able to provide our swimmers with an enhanced marathon swimming experience.

Prior to a swim taking place, we will provide the swimmer with a link to a Google map where the swimmers near real time location will be plotted during the swim. The swimmer can send this link out to family and friends, helping to facilitate a “virtual audience” for their swim. It’s an easy way for interested parties to track a swimmers progress, see where the currents are pushing the swimmer, and estimate when the finish line might be reached.

Please Note: This service is not available for all SBCSA-sanctioned swims due to logistical reasons. It most likely will be available for swims from Anacapa and Santa Cruz islands during the first year.

Movies on “Marathon” and “Assisted” Swimming

Grab some popcorn and enjoy!


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