One year in the life of a marathon swimmers forum

One year in the life of a marathon swimmers forum

One year (and one week) ago, Donal and I launched the Marathon Swimmers Forum with the following mission statement:

  • To celebrate and promote the sport of marathon swimming.
  • To foster connections and information sharing among the global community of marathon swimmers.
  • To provide an educational resource for aspiring marathon swimmers.

Donal and I are both pretty proud of what’s happened since then. Just by the numbers, 565 confirmed members have contributed 5,437 posts in 400 separate discussion threads. Even better, the quality of the contributions has been gratifyingly high.

To celebrate the Forum’s first birthday, here’s a quick peek at the site analytics:

A Global (yet, to be honest, mostly anglophone) Community

analytics_map
Geographical distribution of visits by city

unique_ctry
Geographical distribution by country, full year

Geographical distribution by country, first month
Geographical distribution by country, first month

Everybody Loves a Controversy

Top Threads, as measured by pageviews:

The best marathon swims of 2012

The best marathon swims of 2012

What’s the right way to decide something like this?

By fiat, like the Freshies? By committee, like induction to the IMSHOF? A vote by a group of journalists, like the Baseball Hall of Fame? Or, like the WOWSA awards, an online poll open to anyone regardless of experience or expertise?

First, some background…

‘Round this time last year, a few of us were discussing some of the great achievements in marathon swimming during the previous year (i.e., 2011). A few of them, truly world-class feats of endurance, on par with anything any famous athlete did in more visible, monetized sports. Penny Palfrey‘s 67-mile swim in the Cayman Islands came to mind. As did Forrest Nelson’s circumnavigation of Catalina.

Yet, as it stood then (in early 2012), no organization existed that was saying to the world, and recording for posterity: These are the most outstanding achievements in marathon swimming this year. The question was: How to do it? Who decides? What’s the process?

Long story short: This conversation gave rise to the announcement of the Marathon Swimmers Forum in March.…

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Some miscellaneous items

Some miscellaneous items

It’s a typically slow time of year for my swimming related endeavors. And so it’s been here at the blog, too! A few brief updates:

  • Exciting times at the Island of the Blue Dolphins.

San Nicolas Island is the real-life location of the beloved children’s novel The Island of the Blue DolphinsIt is also the only one of the eight Channel Islands that has never (to our knowledge) been swum to, from, or around. Possibly because the distance between the island and the closest point on the California mainland is more than 61 miles.

Anyway, the island is now owned and operated by the US Navy. Recently, an archaeologist in the employ of said Navy made an exciting discovery: the long-lost cave in which the “lone woman” immortalized in Blue Dolphins apparently made her home in the mid-19th century!

And here’s a follow-up article in the Santa Barbara Independent with some gorgeous photography.

The same Independent writer also recently did a cool story on his hiking explorations of southeast Santa Cruz Island – near where my big swim in September began.…

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Announcement: The Global Marathon Swimming Awards

Announcement: The Global Marathon Swimming Awards

Along with my friend, fellow swim-blogger, and Marathon Swimmers Forum co-founder Donal Buckley (of loneswimmer.com fame), I am excited to announce the first annual Global Marathon Swimming Awards.

As the name suggests, these awards aim to promote and celebrate the sport of marathon swimming – a unique and historic niche within the increasingly vibrant community of Open Water Swimming. Marathon swimmers – just as our founding father Capt. Webb did nearly 140 years ago – swim long distances in open water without artificial aids.

2012 has been an exciting year for our sport. In addition to the second appearance of marathon swimming at the Olympic Games, numerous solo swimmers have done incredible things in ocean channels, lakes, bays, and rivers across the world.

Few, if any groups – online or in the flesh – are in a more knowledgeable and legitimate position to identify and celebrate these achievements than the MARATHONSWIMMERS.ORG community. At nearly 450 members, the Forum counts a sizeable chunk of the world’s currently active marathon swimmers among its members – and many others who will join their ranks in the coming years.…

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Last Week at the Forum

Last Week at the Forum

So much interesting stuff happening down at the Forum these days, it’s tough to keep up with it all; and it’s not even June! Some highlights since my last update:

Forum stats as of 5/30/2012: 312 members, 1572 posts.…

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Last Week at the Forum

Last Week at the Forum

Highlights from the past week at the Marathon Swimmers Forum:

Forum stats as of May 12, 2012 (exactly two months after public launch): 295 members, 104 threads, 1299 posts, 58K page views.…

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Last Week at the Forum

Last Week at the Forum

Highlights from the past week at the Marathon Swimmers Forum:

In other news, the Forum was featured in the “Open Water Surfing” section of the latest issue of H2Open Magazine. Which makes it two months running

Remember, you can follow the Forum not only at marathonswimmers.org, but also via email (daily or weekly) and RSS.…

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Last Week at the Forum

Last Week at the Forum

After little more than a month, the Marathon Swimmers Forum is approaching 1,000 posts! In the interest of making all this content as accessible as possible, we’re now offering Email Digest Subscriptions.

  • To receive a daily email containing all forum posts from the previous 24 hours, sign up here.
  • To receive a weekly email containing links to all updated threads in the previous 7 days, sign up here.

If you use RSS, copy this address into your feed reader to subscribe to all new posts.

You do not have to be a member of the forum to subscribe via email or RSS. However, membership has its benefits: viewing member profiles, using the private messaging system, and participating in discussions.

Here are some of the highlights from the past week at the Forum:

Marathon Swimmers Forum after 20 days

Marathon Swimmers Forum after 20 days

Since its beta launch March 7 and its public launch March 12, the Marathon Swimmers Forum has attracted 230 registered members (and many more who benefit from its content anonymously), and over 23,000 page-views.

It’s already a remarkable community – vibrant, diverse, and global. The Forum brings together some of the most accomplished and knowledgeable marathon swimmers in the world, and puts them in the same “virtual” room with swimmers who may be attempting their first 10K swim.

The quality of the content is astonishing, and has exceeded even my own high expectations. As for quantity, well… no interpretation is necessary:

marathon swimmers forum stats
Forum Participation Statistics: March 6 - March 27

A Tale of Two Posts

The Forum recently benefited from “mentions” by two of the world’s best-known open-water swimming promoters: Steven Munatones, founder of Open Water Source and the Daily News of Open Water Swimming; and Paul Ellercamp, founder of Oceanswims in Australia. We appreciate their help in getting the word out.

Steve and Paul’s respective posts are an interesting study in contrasts. Donal and I provided no “press release” verbiage, aside from our initial blog posts, so their choice of words is their own.…

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Announcement: The Marathon Swimmers Forum

Announcement: The Marathon Swimmers Forum

Donal Buckley and I are pleased to announce a new online community: marathonswimmers.org.

marathon swimmers forum

After a brief “quiet launch,” the forum already counts some of the most accomplished and knowledgeable marathon swimmers on the planet among its members. Whether you’re a current marathon swimmer, an aspiring one, a retired one – or just curious – we invite you to join their ranks.

Ask questions (there are no dumb ones). Discuss the latest exploits – from Dover, Manhattan, L.A., and Hawaii… to Perth, Wellington, Tarifa, and the Sea of Japan. Announce your friends’ swims and cheer them on.

marathonswimmers.org

2012 will, in all likelihood, be the most historic, exciting year in the history of marathon swimming. Follow it on The Marathon Swimmers Forum.…

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