Northwest Open Water Swimming Association

malinakamalinaka Seattle, WACharter Member

The Northwest Open Water Swimming Association, at a regular board meeting, sanctioned its first three swims today.

NOWSA was formed this past April by forum member @wendyv34 and me along with three other local swimmers as the local sanctioning body in the Pacific Northwest. We all believe the the Northwest has some fantastic and challenging swims, and share the goal of promoting our sport in the area and seeing that it is done in a safe and authenticated manner.

The history of marathon swimming in the Northwest has its beginnings in the early 1950s with the rush to cross the Strait of Juan de Fuca, with legends such as Marilyn Bell and Florence Chadwick coming from afar to have a go. Today, we look forward to a reemergence of such swims, and the emergence of new legends.

NOWSA currently sanctions five routes, and is always open to more. This and more can be found at our website: northwestopenwater.org.

And, NOWSA uses the MSF Rules, of course.

evmoloneswimmerJenAkiparizTheosuziedodscurly

I don't wear a wetsuit; it gives the ocean a sporting chance.

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Comments

  • JenAJenA Charter Member

    Awesome. Perhaps NOWSA can extend into British Columbia... :-)

  • IronMikeIronMike Alexandria, VACharter Member

    OK, so I guess you're not on FB as NOWSA. ;)

  • msathletemsathlete Victoria, British Colubia, CanadaGuest

    Fantastic news @malinaka and team. Glad to know that you have the association up and running! Congratulations to all.

    @JenA the Masters Swimming Association of British Columbia has added open water swimming to it's portfolio and is ratifying swims if you are planning on doing one locally.

  • malinakamalinaka Seattle, WACharter Member

    The future is a very big place, @JenA. Although isn't our Northwest your Southwest?

    @msathlete It looks like a MSABC ratification is more of an archival role than what we would consider the typical oberservation and verification role of a sanctioning body. Is that correct? If they're actually observing swims, that would be great! Frankly, I'm surprised VOWSA hasn't stepped into that role already.

    I don't wear a wetsuit; it gives the ocean a sporting chance.

  • malinakamalinaka Seattle, WACharter Member

    And good news @ironmike: we ARE now on Facebook! Because that is the kind of fantastic customer service you deserve. https://www.facebook.com/NOWSA.swim/

    IronMikesuziedodsemkhowley

    I don't wear a wetsuit; it gives the ocean a sporting chance.

  • msathletemsathlete Victoria, British Colubia, CanadaGuest

    @malinaka I think MSABC is more than archival. We are working on a number of things and have been for a few years now. Not all that is being done is posted on the web :)

  • JenAJenA Charter Member

    @msathlete: I believe MSABC would be bound to the FINA or Masters Swimming Canada guidelines, no?

    Both MSC and FINA only allow events "in water that is subject to only minor currents or tide", in waters warmer than 18oC. MSC caps the distance at 10km, and FINA caps it at 5km.

    Not really the sort of thing I'm interested in. ;-)

  • msathletemsathlete Victoria, British Colubia, CanadaGuest

    Hey @JenA. Although MSABC has traditionally focused on pool swims, open water has recently become part of their portfolio. At one point we had the BCOWA but it ended up closing it's doors. Before doing so it asked MSABC if they wouldn't mind playing a more active role in the community.

  • JenAJenA Charter Member

    @msathlete, do you know the limits of the events MSABC is able to offer/support/be officially involved in? Collecting and reporting details after the fact is relatively 'safe' from a liability perspective, but I'm imaging that they'd be unable to endorse events outside of the FINA/MSC parameters. Do you know?

  • Cool news re the new association!

  • msathletemsathlete Victoria, British Colubia, CanadaGuest

    Hey @JenA, if you are talking from an insurance perspective MSABC falls within the FINA structure. That does not mean however that we are not able to do swims that do not fall within the FINA events or follow those rules. The Thetis Lake Swiim for example is a MSABC event that includes races with wetsuits, which FINA does not officially recognize.

    My suggestion to anyone who is looking for support/help with a swim in BC to contact MSABC and find out if/how they can help. There are a number of swimmers in our province who have swum throughout the province and are a wealth of knowledge and there are a variety of insurance options.

    If I have misunderstood your question I apologize.

  • malinakamalinaka Seattle, WACharter Member

    This Saturday, around noon Pacific, @wendyv34 will be taking on a 22.8 km swim around Maury "Island", the east piece of her home island of Vashon. To our knowledge, this swim has not been attempted before.

    Weather report: looks good, winds <6kt, south winds mean it will be overcast.

    Whale report: a fin whale has been lost deep in the south Sound for a few days, J-pod orcas entered the north Sound last night moving south, Common Dolphins spotted near Fox island off Tacoma yesterday.

    Tracking: track.rs/nowsa/ will be following our AIS.

    Maury-route-clockwise

    curlyNiekjendutbluemermaid9SoloIronMikesuziedodsdavid_barra

    I don't wear a wetsuit; it gives the ocean a sporting chance.

  • You are going to crush it Wendy! I can't wait to see the results :-)

  • wendyv34wendyv34 Vashon, WASenior Member

    Thanks! I'm excited!

    bluemermaid9

    It's always a bad hair day when you work at a pool.

  • IronMikeIronMike Alexandria, VACharter Member

    Good luck @wendyv34, if I'm awake at 23:00 Saturday night I'll certainly be watching!

    wendyv34
  • wendyv34wendyv34 Vashon, WASenior Member

    7:23:20

    Everything hurts. Well, actually, my hair feels ok.

    Thanks to my awesome crew: Andrew Malinak, Scott Lautman, Erika Norris, Peter Ray and my mom, Margaret Van De Sompele. Without them, I wouldn't have been able to do it.

    <:-P

    ViveBeneemkhowleyjendutSoloJustSwimmalinakaIronMikesuziedods

    It's always a bad hair day when you work at a pool.

  • Yay! Big congratulations, @wendyv34!

    Another effortful, imaginative swim!

  • wendyv34wendyv34 Vashon, WASenior Member

    SPEO199_01_edited-1 Approaching the north side of Point Robinson. There were lots of people on the beach, including a couple of friends. I imagined that everyone out there was an adoring fan, for an underwater chuckle.

    malinakasuziedodsemkhowley

    It's always a bad hair day when you work at a pool.

  • curlycurly Issaquah, WAMember

    Nice swim @wendyv34. Great way to enjoy Seafair without the crowds. You guys continue to inspire me. Maybe one day I will do a noteworthy swim. In the meantime, I really enjoy seeing what you can do.

    wendyv34Niekmalinaka
  • suziedodssuziedods Charter Member

    That looks like a really fun swim!

    wendyv34

    Looking for the next big thing.. ... @suzieswimcoach www.suziedodsswimcoaching.com

  • IronMikeIronMike Alexandria, VACharter Member

    @curly, any swim you do and learn from is noteworthy. ;)

  • wendyv34wendyv34 Vashon, WASenior Member

    It was a fun swim.

    I left shore at Tramp Harbor at noon, under cloudy skies. The water felt breathtakingly cold for the first 20 minutes. I was wishing for the sun to come out. We made good time (1:30) to Point Robinson, where the sun finally came out. South of the point, the water turned glassy smooth and I was truly enjoying the swim. Scott sounded jealous of the conditions from up on the boat. Piner Point was looking closer by 3 and I thought I might make it by 4. Around 3:30, I could see the horizon starting to sparkle, then the headwind arrived. It was lumpy and challenging for what seemed like forever, I'd sort of lost track of time by then. Once we entered the harbor, I knew I was going to make it. Scott jumped in and we rushed northeast up the harbor with the current and tail wind. I think I heard that we were coasting at 1 kt. during the feed stops. Scott got out as we neared Jensen Point. The sun was getting low and we went into the shade for a bit. I was getting kind of cold. Back out into the sun for the final mile and the water went smooth again. I swam through a moon jelly universe, then saw clam shells on the bottom and little crabs scuttling along the gravel. I was done! Scott warmed me up in the car and we headed to Casa Bonita to stuff ourselves, which I'd been dreaming about for hours.

    Andrew did an amazing job navigating the currents and Scott was the greatest cheerleader. I felt like the entire swim went off as well as it possibly could've, thanks again to everyone on my crew. =D>

    curlysuziedodsSolo

    It's always a bad hair day when you work at a pool.

  • curlycurly Issaquah, WAMember
    edited August 2016

    IronMike said: @curly, any swim you do and learn from is noteworthy. ;)

    Good point. I like your positive attitude. However, when I see some of these swims I feel like I'm still in "Tadpoles" back at the YMCA again...

    IronMike
  • wendyv34wendyv34 Vashon, WASenior Member

    Don't sweat it Curly, you'll graduate to "Sea Lions" eventually! sea-lion-pictures-dowload[1]

    curlyJaimie

    It's always a bad hair day when you work at a pool.

  • Congrats on a cool swim!

    wendyv34
  • malinakamalinaka Seattle, WACharter Member
    edited September 2016

    NOWSA is resurrecting one more swim this summer. On Sunday, Erika Norris will swim the 10.4 mile route from Bremerton to Alki Light, swum once by Amy Hiland in 1959 and not once since then.

    This will Erika's first official marathon swim despite being an extremely capable cold water swimmer. By that, I mean she's the perfect guinea pig for what will be an excitingly challenging route through currents and shipping channels.

    Updates provided on NOWSA's facebook page

    Tracking provided by track.rs

    In her free time, Erika designs patterns such as this one, packed for another Seattle swimmer's Catalina swim today. You can see this and others at her Society6 store #shamelesspromotion

    evmogregocIronMikessthomascurlyTheosuziedodsJaimie

    I don't wear a wetsuit; it gives the ocean a sporting chance.

  • wendyv34wendyv34 Vashon, WASenior Member

    GOOOOOOOOO Erika!!! =D>

    It's always a bad hair day when you work at a pool.

  • ssthomasssthomas Charter Member

    @malinka, what time will she start? I don't want to miss it. And that bag is adorable!

    suziedods
  • malinakamalinaka Seattle, WACharter Member

    We're shooting for a 10am start.

    ssthomassuziedods

    I don't wear a wetsuit; it gives the ocean a sporting chance.

  • Karl_KingeryKarl_Kingery Denver, COMember

    Good Luck Erika! I will be sending good vibes.

  • wendyv34wendyv34 Vashon, WASenior Member

    She's kicking some serious butt out there!

    It's always a bad hair day when you work at a pool.

  • So cool - go Erika go!

  • wendyv34wendyv34 Vashon, WASenior Member

    Woohoo! <:-P

    emkhowleySolo

    It's always a bad hair day when you work at a pool.

  • SoloSolo B.C. CanadaMember

    Love the tracks! So cool to see that red dot move, knowing that team is making progress toward an insanely difficult goal!

  • curlycurly Issaquah, WAMember

    Wow, what a beautiful day for a swim. I checked the track early in the day and thought, man she's really setting a pace there. Then later in the day I was with friends and thought I should take a peek at the track. Nearly done! Somebody was moving out there today. Great going!!!

    Jaimie
  • wendyv34wendyv34 Vashon, WASenior Member

    Here's some local news coverage:

    http://www.king5.com/news/local/woman-to-swim-from-bremerton-to-west-seattle/313447048

    Feeling inspired by Erika's swim, I headed down to the harbor on Sunday afternoon. Conditions were so lovely that I took a detour from my regular route to do some sight seeing along the shoreline. A juvenile harbor seal tagged along for at least 45 minutes. I was feeling really happy for Erika, (you know, that state of swimming nirvana one experiences when everything is awesome?), that she had such perfect conditions for her swim and that she set such an impressive time, which will likely stand for a quite a while, if not forever. Congrats Erika! =D>

    IronMike

    It's always a bad hair day when you work at a pool.

  • malinakamalinaka Seattle, WACharter Member

    After being derailed by weather in Nanaimo last August, Erika completed her first marathon swim yesterday. We'd had some weather the past few days, but as it always seems to do here, things cleared up in the nick of time and the fog parted on our sail to the start. Conditions couldn't have been more perfect if they tried.

    From my end, Erika couldn't have been a better test subject. Her speed compensated for the times when I lost the current. She didn't complain about the cold spots. The seemingly random choppy spots didn't phase her. I had a fantastic time watching our SOG jump when it should, and fretted when our speed dropped to zero at one point. The ferry's were polite and we made our first channel crossing easily. On the second channel, YM Movement radioed to say they were closing in fast - and I let out a huge sigh when we got past the yellow Tango marker. That ship was huge.

    But through all of that, Erika kept swimming like a pro. We had a King 5 photographer on board all day, and they live streamed an hour of the swim. The Kitsap Sun did a nice preview of the swim and caught the ex-pool swimmer saying something perfect, "In the pool it's very competitive and you time yourself. If I want to enjoy swimming, I go outside."

    The Amy Hiland Swim has been revived after 57 years. People around here think the water is too cold to swim in, but Erika's swim showed again that it isn't.

    Seattle TImes

    JenAdc_in_sfKellieNiekwendyv34SoloIronMikessthomascurlyKarl_Kingery

    I don't wear a wetsuit; it gives the ocean a sporting chance.

  • malinakamalinaka Seattle, WACharter Member

    Officially, summer in Seattle starts on July 5th - but we're ignoring that and starting a few days early this year.

    On Saturday, Melissa Blaustein, San Franciscan, South Ender, Amy Hiland enthusiast, will kick off our salt water season with the Amy Hiland swim from Bremerton to Alki. Splash time is a gentlemanly 12:30pm, and we're expecting a 5:30 to 6:00pm finish.

    Tracking on track.rs/nowsa/ and facebooking on Facebook.

    dc_in_sfevmossthomaswendyv34IronMike

    I don't wear a wetsuit; it gives the ocean a sporting chance.

  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    edited June 30

    Just want to say that I dig Melissa's website - chasingamy.org - and I find it refreshing that someone's inspiration to swim comes from 60 years ago, a marathon swimming pioneer still unrecognized by the IMSHOF.

    http://www.chasingamy.org/amy-in-the-news/

    thelittlemerwookierosemarymintrlmIronMikeViveBene
  • IronMikeIronMike Alexandria, VACharter Member

    Thanks for this @malinaka and @evmo. You are absolutely right about her blog. What a great thing she's doing. I love the history of marathon swimming and enjoy when I get to read about the Golden Age. I was also happy when I pulled my favorite marathon swimming book off the shelf and found on page 285 (hb version) a mention of Mrs. Amy Hiland.

    ViveBene
  • ViveBeneViveBene Member

    The website is a poem.

    And what a great way to honor Amy Hiland! Swimmers have chased other historic feats, but uncommonly with such an intimate connection to the first one who made it happen. A pleasure to follow along on Melissa's swims.

    Go, Melissa!

    IronMike
  • malinakamalinaka Seattle, WACharter Member

    @Karl_Kingery is swimming to Canada tomorrow. 8:15 start. Karl picked his own route and his own tide, and it looks like a good one. The wind could make the second half of the swim a bit bumpy. track.rs/nowsa/

    ssthomasthelittlemerwookieIronMike

    I don't wear a wetsuit; it gives the ocean a sporting chance.

  • curlycurly Issaquah, WAMember

    4 swimmers and 2 kayaks going around the north side of mercer island this morning. They looked like they were aiming for the full circumnavigation. I was doing a little training run and saw them. Anyone we know? Was it a full circle?

    ssthomas
  • malinakamalinaka Seattle, WACharter Member
    edited August 25

    Tomorrow: we have a pair of swimmers set to take on the Amy Hiland swim. Jerome Leslie and Lauren Boilini are both local to Seattle, they'll be finishing the swim at the lighthouse just 1k down the beach from our regular training spot. This will be the first time a male has attempted this swim, and the first tandem swim NOWSA has sanctioned.

    There has been a grey whale hanging around Bremerton and the back side of Bainbridge for the past week, spotted on Wednesday right in the middle of the course. And there was a report of a humpback in the main channel yesterday. I hoping we all have a whaley good time.

    Swim starts at 10am
    https://track.rs/nowsa

    lakesprayssthomascurlypavlicovwendyv34

    I don't wear a wetsuit; it gives the ocean a sporting chance.

  • wendyv34wendyv34 Vashon, WASenior Member

    Yay! It's a beautiful day for it. Good luck Jerome and Lauren! Have fun.

    We saw a grey off the point at Colman Pool a couple weeks ago, wonder if it's the same whale?

    It's always a bad hair day when you work at a pool.

  • curlycurly Issaquah, WAMember

    It looks like our swimmers had a great day for a swim. Congratulations. Did the whale make an appearance?

  • malinakamalinaka Seattle, WACharter Member

    No whales. But our local hero West Seattle Blog did make it down to the lighthouse, and took a few wonderful photos of the finish. This is such a lovely swim.

    ssthomas

    I don't wear a wetsuit; it gives the ocean a sporting chance.

  • wendyv34wendyv34 Vashon, WASenior Member

    Nice!! <:-P

    It's always a bad hair day when you work at a pool.

  • malinakamalinaka Seattle, WACharter Member
    edited September 17

    Melissa Blaustein, of the South End Rowing Club, completed a crossing of the Strait of Juan de Fuca in 7:41. She had beautiful conditions, which included very light winds, sun, and water temps in the typical range of 47-51F.

    This was NOWSA's first successful attempt at a South to North route. Melissa boldly landed on some unexplored coastline, pushed farther east than expected by a flood tide that overstayed it's welcome. The course direction was changed in the days leading up to the swim after a disagreement with the local Canadian customs office on what are the correct procedures to follow, another sign that this swim is young and under development despite the long history.

    It was very exciting to watch Melissa do this: to watch the cold water wipe the smile off her unnaturally cheerful face as she pushed her hardest to the finish. She was surrounded by South Enders, including her observer, who were there at the end to pull her from the wave break on the cliff, bring her back through the kelp, and get her back aboard before the orcas rounded the corner.

    This is Melissa's second NOWSA swim this year. Earlier, she completed the Amy Hiland swim, named for the person to first person complete the route from Bremerton to Alki in 1959. Amy was the first woman to complete the Strait.

    evmothelittlemerwookiecurlyMoCoIronMikekejoyceKarl_KingerySolowendyv34lakesprayssthomas

    I don't wear a wetsuit; it gives the ocean a sporting chance.

  • malinakamalinaka Seattle, WACharter Member

    158

    suziedodswendyv34ssthomas

    I don't wear a wetsuit; it gives the ocean a sporting chance.

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