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The greatest assembly of endurance aquatic athletes in history comes to CA

Posted May 19 2010 9:00am

5K women b

Editor's Note: Recently we received this email from Steven Munatones over at regarding an upcoming conference in Long Beach which will "greatest assembly of endurance aquatic athletes in history". We have to agree take a look at the guest list below and you might just have to attend.

The 2010 Global Open Water Swimming Conference will present an unprecedented assembly of open water swimming heroes and heroines along with prominent triathlon coaches and personalities.  The Global Open Water Swimming Conference – the first of its kind – will be held on June 5th during the USA Swimming National Open Water Championships weekend.

The lineup of notable speakers include Olympic champion and English Channel record holder Greta Anderson, 7-time world professional marathon swimming champion Shelley Taylor-Smith, English Channel and Catalina Channel record holder Penny Dean, Matt Dixon, coach of Chris Lieto and Luke Bell.  One of the all-time marathon greats, Philip Rush from New Zealand who has set records from the Cook Strait to the English Channel, along with extreme adventure swimmer Ram Barkai of South Africa and major race directors from 14 countries, will also attend.
USA Triathlon is offering Continuing Education Units for its certified coaches to attend and learn from world open water swimming champions, English Channel world record holders, top professional marathon swimmers and some of the most decorated Olympic coaches in history.  The purpose of the Conference is to network among like-minded endurance athletes and to share information on how to prepare optimally, train intelligently and race well in the open water.

For more information, visit .

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La jolla start open water swimming

Speakers and VIP Guests include:

Anne Cleveland (California): a single-crossing and double-crossing English Channel swimmer, Catalina Channel swimmer and motivational speaker with Wish Upon A Star Productions. Will attempt to become the first person to do a double-crossing of both the English and Catalina Channels in the summer of 2010.

Bill McFarland (Cayman Islands): Past President and Board Director of the Cayman Islands Amateur Swimming Association and Open Water Committee. Specialist in open water course design, set-up and risk management. Co-Course Officer for the Flowers Sea Swim.

Bob Placak (California): Pan American Games medalist and Founder and Race Director of the world-famous RCP Tiburon Mile. Coach and organizer of numerous victorious teams in the Maui Channel Swim and Trans Tahoe Relay events over three decades.  Founder of Robert C. Placak & Associates.

Captain Adam Smith (California): Director, Naval Special Warfare Recruiting, United States Navy SEALs (Sea, Land, Air), a renowned stealth and clandestine branch of the U.S. military forces.

Colin Hill (England): English Channel swimmer and inspirational leader of the Great Swims, a colorfully and brilliantly produced, televised open water swimming event that draws newcomers and several Olympic medalists to one-mile swims around the United Kingdom.

Dan Empfield (California):
Inventor of the triathlon wetsuit and Founder of SlowTwitch, one of the world's largest and most popular multi-sport websites.

Doug Woodring (Hong Kong): Founder of Project Kaisei and Race Director for the Clean Half Extreme Swim and Sheko Challenge.  An environmental and technology entrepreneur who created a framework for a global environmental technology fund, he works with a variety of renewable energy technologies and promotes carbon-neutral escort boat options for open water swimmers.

Forrest Nelson (California)
: Endurance swimmer who has conquered the English Channel, Catalina Channel twice (including once in December), Manhattan Island Marathon Swim, the Cook Strait (between the North and South Islands in New Zealand), Molokai Channel (between Molokai and Oahu in both directions), 24 miles in Tampa Bay and other feats of endurance.

Frank Flowers (Cayman Islands): Founder and namesake for the Cayman Islands Flowers Sea Swim, one of the most successful open water swims in the world with numerous Olympians and an annual cash and prize purse worth over $100,000. Offers $25,000 to break the world’s best time in the ocean mile.

Gerry Rodrigues (California/Trinidad & Tobago): Renowned open water swimming and triathlon coach, 2-time World Masters Open Water Swimming champion, masters swimming world record holder (800-meter freestyle), former publisher of Swimming World Magazine, creator of, 1992 U.S. Masters Swimming Coach of the Year, founder of Tower 26 and coach of numerous professional triathletes and elite open water swimmers.

Greg Towle (Australia): The visionary Swimming Australia Open Water Swimming head coach who has coached two world 5K champions (in 2004 and 2009) and several FINA World Cup and World Championship medalists.  He coached the Australia national team at the 2003, 2005, 2007 and 2009 world championships and at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Greta Andersen (California/Denmark): Olympic gold and silver medalist, a 5-time English Channel swimmer record holder, one of the top professional marathon swimmer in history with wins in Lake Michigan (50 miles), Salton Sea, Mexico, Canada and the English Channel. An International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Honor Swimmer and International Swimming Hall of Fame Honor Swimmer, and the active owner of the Greta Andersen Swim School.

Jen Schumacher (California):
Fastest female Catalina Channel swimmer in 2009 who has developed a unique and easy-to-use GPS navigational system for open water swimmers.

Jim Miller, M.D. (Virginia): FINA Sports Medicine Committee member, USA Swimming National Open Water Swimming Team physician, U.S. Masters Swimming President, U.S. Masters Swimming Coach of the Year and multiple award winner, and Co-Chair of the FINA World Sports Medicine Congress.

Jim Vance (California):
A USA Triathlon Level 2 and Elite Coach for TrainingBible Coaching and Tri Club of San Diego.  A two-time age-group world champion for XTERRA and ITU with an Ironman PR of 8:37:09.  He became a front-pack swimmer only 3 years after learning how to swim.  A monthly contributor to Competitor Magazine and a featured coach for both and, he was the 2009 Tri Club of San Diego Coach of the Year.
John Flanagan (Hawaii):
Fastest pro triathlon in the water. 4-year member of the USA Swimming National Open Water Team, 2001 World Swimming Championship 4th-place finisher in the 10K, swam two of the Top 10 fastest Ironman swim legs in history, winner of the Waikiki Roughwater Swim and member of the 1997 NCAA Championship Team from Auburn University.

John York (California): English Channel swimmer, record-holding Catalina Channel (single-crossing, double-crossing, relay), a board member of the Catalina Channel Swimming Federation and an honor swimmer in the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame.

Jon-Paul St. Germain (Massachusetts): Director of Special Olympics International and Director of World Games and Competitions at Special Olympics, Inc., Special Olympics International Project Lead at 2009 Special Olympics World Winter Games and 2005 Special Olympics Winter Games, and Liaison at 1999 Special Olympics World Summer Games.

Kaia Hedlund (Hawaii): President of the Waikiki Roughwater Swim, Associate Director of the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation and Director of Athletics of Chaminade University.
Linda Kaiser (Hawaii):
History's most prolific channel swimmer in the Hawaiian Islands having successfully crossed the 26-mile Molokai Channel, the 9-mile Kalohi Channel, the 7-mile Alalakeiki Channel, the 8.5-mile Palilolo Channel, the 30-mile Alenuihaha Channel, the 17-mile Kaulakahi Channel, the 17-mile Kealaikahiki Channel and the 8.8-mile Maui Channel.
Liz Tucker (Colorado):
USA Triathlon Race Director Certification Manager responsible for Race director certification that provides in-depth education on the latest and safest race directing methods, insurance/risk management trends and USAT sanctioning compliance.
Marc Randall (Maryland): Founder and President of The Athlete Village.

Mark Perry (Great Britain): British Swimming's Open Water Performance Manager and Team Leader at numerous FINA World Cup, Olympic Games and World Championship events. An open water swimming visionary and creative strategist with proven national and international coaching success.

Mark Schubert (Colorado): One of the world's most renowned swimming coaches with unparalleled Olympic coaching experience in 1980, 1984, 1988, 1992, 1996, 2000, 2004 and 2008. Currently the USA Swimming National Team Head Coach and General Manager, he has coached numerous Olympic medalists, world record holders, world champions and NCAA champions.

Matt Dixon (California):
Exercise physiologist and leading triathlon coach of several Ironman champions, including Chris Lieto.  Founder of Purple Patch Fitness and Contributing Editor to Inside Triathlon Magazine, Matt is also a highly sought after fitness consultant to professional athletes, elite and amateur endurance athletes and Fortune 500 company CEO's and corporate executives.
Mallory Mead (Indiana): Recipient of the Robert Lyle Memorial Trophy for being the Channel Swimming Association’s Fastest American of the Year and the Sotiraki Trophy for being the Fastest Lady of 2008.  Currently embarking on the most difficult goal - and historically unprecendented feat - for marathon swimmers: The Ocean's Seven.
Mike Doane (Colorado): USA Triathlon Resident Program swim coach and 2007 USA Triathlon Coach of the Year.  Coached Andy Potts to gold at the 2007 Pan American Games, victory at the 70.3 World Championships and USA Triathlon Elite National title in 2004.  CEO and head coach of  the Colorado Springs Swim Team, USA Triathlon Assistant Team Teach (Beijing World Cup) and USA Triathlon coach certification course presenter.
Nelson Vargas (Mexico): Mexico's former Minister of Sport and Director of CONADE (National Sport Commission), author of More Hits Than Errors, owner of the Acuatica Nelson Vargas, a nationwide chain of fitness centers and swimming pools, Mexican national swim team coach and former president of the Mexican Swimming Federation and multi-time Mexican representative at Olympics.

Nelson Vargas, Jr. (Mexico):
All-American swimmer at Arizona State and Chief Executive Officer of Acuatica Nelson Vargas, the largest and most prominent fitness center and swimming pool chain in Mexico.  Race Director the the Acapulco 5K International Open Water Swim.
Paul Hekimian (California): Founder and President of the LA Tri Club, one of the largest triathlon clubs in the western United States with over 1,600 members, who spreads his message of enthusiasm, inspiration, creativity and time management by his Paulsitive attitude. A director for the professional Distance Swim Challenge and creator of The Paulsitive Movement and Me, Inc.
Paul McCoy (Fiji): Founder and Race Director for innovative ocean swims, sea safaris and island and volcano runs in Fiji and Vanuatu that attract athletes from all over the Pacific Rim and Europe. 

Pedro Rego Monteiro (Brazil): Founder and President of EffectSport, co-founder of the televised 10K professional King of the Sea Challenge (Rei do Mar Desafio) in Brazil and Portugal.
Penny Lee Dean (New York): Set
the overall world record for the English Channel crossing record in 7:40 that stood for 16 years until her own athlete broke it.  1979 world professional marathon swimming  champion with four Catalina Channel crossings and 12 world records for marathon swimming.  Long-time head coach for USA Swimming National Open Water Swim Team and former Pomona College head women's swim team coach.  Author of the authoritative Open Water Swimming book.
Philip Rush (New Zealand): Renowned marathon swimmer and holder of the fastest double- and triple-crossing of the English Channel.  Former professional marathon swimmer with a number of unprecedented marathon swims to his credit, including swims in the Cook Strait and Lake Taupo in New Zealand. An honor swimmer in the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame, he is the marathon swimming manager for New Zealand Swimming and prolific coach of swimmers across the Cook Strait.

Pierre Lafontaine (Canada): Renowned coach and administrator. Currently, the National Swim Team Coach and CEO of Swimming Canada.

Ram Barkai: (South Africa): Adventure swimmer with swims in Antarctica, Lake Zurich (in winter) and Cape Town, founder of the Cadiz Freedom Swim in Cape Town, benefactor of open water swimmers, CEO of Cadiz Holdings of South Africa.
Richard Witt (California): Lieutenant Commander of the United States Navy SEALs (Sea Land Air), a renowned stealth and clandestine branch of the U.S. military forces.
Sergiy Fesenko (Azerbaijan):
3-time Olympic swimmer and leading FINA 10KM Marathon Swimming World Cup competitor.

Shelley Taylor-Smith (Australia)
: International Swimming Hall of Fame Honor Swimmer, International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Honor Swimmer, 7-time World Professional Marathon Swimming Federation champion, English Channel swimmer, former Secretary-General of the FINA Technical Open Water Swimming Committee, coach and clinician.  Author of Dangerous When Wet and founder of Champion's Mindset in Australia.

Sid Cassidy (Florida): Recipient of the highest honor given by USA Swimming. Past Chairman of the FINA Technical Open Water Swimming Committee. Professional marathon swimmer and long-time USA Swimming National Open Water Swimming Team coach. Starter at the men's and women's Olympic 10K Marathon Swim at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and inductee in the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame.

Steven Munatones (California): Technical Open Water Swimming Delegate for the Special Olympics, International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Honor Swimmer, solo swimmer with 5 unprecedented swims, FINA Technical Open Water Swimming Committee member, USA Swimming National Open Water Swim Team coach, creator of The Daily News of Open Water Swimming, World's Top 100 Open Water Swims and the Open Water Swimming Dictionary.

Sultan Aziz, Ph.D. (Bangladesh): Member of the FINA Technical Open Water Swimming Committee and former Vice Chairman of the FINA Sports Medicine Committee.  Served as Secretary General of the Asian Continental Swimming Federation and Asian Amateur Swimming Federation.  Current Chairman of the Asian Amateur Swimming Federation Medical Committee and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and a Fellow of the Bangladesh Academy of Sciences.

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