Starting/Forming a Governing Body for solo swims in Lake Erie

I'm currently in the process of forming a governing body for solo swims in Lake Erie. I 'm in the process of talks with Border Patrol, Customs, and US Coast Guard.
I also have looked at the other governing bodies packets and forms English Channel, Catalina Channel, Santa Barbara and Solo Swims Ontario and have a good idea of what i want to do. Does anyone have any advice on taking on this type of task forming this governing/observation body would be of great help???

I have crossed 24.3 miles of Lake Erie twice from Long Point Ontatio, to North East Township (erie, pa) 2006, 2011 and currently hold the course record of 11hrs 16 min 33 sec. Only 14 people have successfully made this crossing, as many as 70 have tried.
I did follow open water swimming rules on both. This particular crossing is taking popularity, and i want to help others be successful and do it properly.
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  • I thought SSO sanctioned Erie crossings. Are they still active?
    http://www.soloswims.com/
  • YEs they do, but their requirements are high, many swimmers can't get the # of boats and costs they reuire. They also mostly do Lake Ontario crossings, few lake Erie.
    In addition they are on the Canadian side. I am forming a US governing body. Competition breeds excellence!!!!
  • I grew up with the end of my street being Lake Erie. I'm considering a crossing from Leamington to Catawba (to the beach at the end of the street I grew up on). I'd be very interested in the progress you make. I live in Louisiana now, but would be willing to help some, too.
  • You know that I'm here to help you any way I can Josh! Let's get the process rolling!!
    www.darren-miller.com
    Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania U.S.A.
  • edited September 2012
    jheynes said:

    YEs they do, but their requirements are high, many swimmers can't get the # of boats and costs they reuire. They also mostly do Lake Ontario crossings, few lake Erie.
    In addition they are on the Canadian side. I am forming a US governing body. Competition breeds excellence!!!!

    The SSO requirements do seem like a rather strong barrier, and I'm sure have turned off more than a few potential swimmers.

    If I recall correctly, @LOSTswimmer was thinking along these same lines, but in the end, did his Lake O crossing sanctioned by SSO. I'd like to hear what he thinks... and know the reasons for his change of heart.

    ...anything worth doing is worth overdoing.
  • I'd be interested in joining the effort. Agree that the SSO requirements seem over the top. One of their recommendations for the Ontario swim is that you reserve an ambulance ahead of time--to use if you're _successful_. That seems a bit much.
  • thanks for Evmo!

    Okay, i'll bite. I know more about SSO and Lake O swimming than is probably healthy.

    There is all kinds of stuff going on here that you probably don't know about. I started LOST swimming (from 1 to over 200 registered Masters swimmers) in Lake O 7 years ago and I (and virtually everyone else involved marathon swimming) have been at logger heads with SSO since.

    They initially wanted me to join and I went to each meeting for over 1 1/2 years and tried to work with them to change things. they claimed that they were very interested in having new blood in the group and fresh ideas... and after going to all the meeting and proposing numerous suggestions to try and improve the organization, they chose to adopt a grand total of... none of them. So I gave up trying to work with them. And I told them so, and told them why. Only two people on the board have ever done any other swims anywhere else in the world and have very little knowledge of what goes on elsewhere or what international standards are. And have made no attempt to revert international standards.

    The biggest obstacle is the 4 boats rule. They wouldn't budge. I did research globally and came back with 964 instances of crossing from around the world and the number of boats and crew required... and Lake O is the only place that requires 4... in fact there are none that require more than 2. In their defense, Lake O does require some special procedures that others don't, because it is so long, mainly. (btw, the comment about reserving an ambulance isn't accurate, but there are plenty of other crazy requirements in it's place).

    I decided to do my Lake O Crossing (26.2 miles, 20 hrs & 52 mins) in August... by their rules. Largely for credibility sake. So that if I go again on my own they won't be able to say anything. They won't even acknowledge the 3 LOSTies that have done our route on the plaque... so we are getting our own plaque. If this sounds a lot like CSA and CS&PF... it is.

    Given that LOST Swimming is the lifeblood of marathon swimming in Lake O, a record number of people tried to cross this year, 7, and all 7 came from LOST, they are doing their best to ignore us... but can't. I've considered starting my own rival governing body (and still might), but it just comes down to how much time I want to devote to this venture. Running a Masters team and the LOST Race is a lot already... let alone my own training, etc. Others on the board of SSO have quit... and others have asked me to run for the President and replace much of the board... and numerous really want me to start a new organization. We'll see.

    Long and short of it is... I'd be very happy to see another organization (whether I start it or someone else in Lake Erie does)... and I would gladly support it, as would LOST.

    Cheers,

    Rob
    Cheers,
    Rob
  • Great guys, i am glad for the support. That and what others have told me, is my main reason to go thru with this project of forming this governing/observation body. Along with starting an open water US masters team here in Erie, Pa at the same time. OWSPI (open water swim presque isle). I have to say ,i am prob following in Rob Kents footsteps.
    However my main question and inquiry still stands. I would love input on how to set up such a goverence and how to reach out to everyone ie teams, aspirants, boats owners, setting up costs etc etc.
    I am pretty much have a base set with all the input from the previous goverening entities that i mentioned in my first post. Again just trying to be the middle man and help others be successful.
  • > "btw, the comment about reserving an ambulance isn't accurate,"

    Quoting from the "Solo Swims of Ontario Regulations and Information", downloaded from the Web just now: "It is advisable for the swimmer to proceed to a hospital for a check-up after the swim has been completed. An ambulance should be secured well in advance. In Toronto, phone 416-638-7301."

  • The biggest obstacle is the 4 boats rule. They wouldn't budge. I did research globally and came back with 964 instances of crossing from around the world and the number of boats and crew required... and Lake O is the only place that requires 4... in fact there are none that require more than 2.

    Long and short of it is... I'd be very happy to see another organization (whether I start it or someone else in Lake Erie does)... and I would gladly support it, as would LOST.

    Cheers,

    Rob

    Thanks for adding your experiences to the discussion. Perhaps the SSO modeled their requirements off the FINA pro circuit?
    I had 4 boats following me in Lac St Jean (including a rescue diver and a nurse). I was also given a brief medical check up at the end.... temperature, blood pressure, blood sugar, etc. It took all of 5 minutes, but they do have a very nice facility set up at the finish.

    Though my swim wasn't part of the pro race, it seems that is just the way they do things. I assume (perhaps incorrectly) other swims on that circuit maintain a similar protocol.
    ...anything worth doing is worth overdoing.
  • Hey Jon,

    You are correct, in that they recommend reserving an ambulance, however, being directly involved in all of the last 7 crossings, including my own, that isn't a requirement... just a suggestion. They also actually "suggest" that you have 5 boats, not just 4... not surprisingly no one uses more than the minimum 4 required.

    David, the 4 boat rule actually comes from the Gus Ryder report in 1973, after the coroners inquest from a 1971 drowning that created SSO by an order in the provincial parliament... however, I ordered the original coroners report a couple of months ago and Gus Ryder's report is an adendum to it... and it only recommends 2 boats. Gus Ryder was Marilyn Bell's coach and one of the main guys involved in open water swimming in Lake O (and globally... EC and Catalina, etc). But somehow it go twisted into the current 4 boat rule.

    One of the key differences with Lake O Crossings and Lac St Jean is that the boats are provided in LSJ... and SSO has absolutely nothing to do with providing boats here. I have been trying to put together a boating organization, more like what is available in most other centers in the world, but it virtually impossible with the 4 boat requirement. And is pretty much impossible if you aren't from here to secure 4 boats. That's why if you look at the successful crossings it is very rare to have an international swimmer. Miguel did it 2 years ago and he is Mexican... but he lives here and trains with LOST too.

    Cheers,

    Rob
    Cheers,
    Rob
  • I'm saddened by this thread. The greater the number of organizations, the greater the number of differences in swim standards/details, the greater the confusion for the media, and the greater the dilution of the accomplishments of those who swam "cleanest".

    I actually find myself longing for Solo Swims Canada. (I have some safety worries going on out in the maritimes, and it's complicated by having three provinces sharing one body of water.)

    United we stand, divided we are struggling non-profits that confuse the sport? :)
  • Jen, I do not understand your concern. If we follow EC swimming rules then what's the big deal???
    I have already spoken with Customs/Border Patrol and US Coast Guard and they are on board with what we are trying to do.
  • Well... if you follow EC Rules, will you have swimmers drafting off the bow? What if you say no to drafting and another great lakes swim org pops op, and they say it *is* OK, will anyone but the OW community ever recognize the difference? Different accomplishments recognized without distinction is demoralizing. :( It's bad for OWS.

    It's natural to have loyalty to "your" organization (and cultivate friends who are loyal too), but it seems to fracture communities... which is bad for OWS.

    Finally, having passionate sport builders accomplish identical work seems like a massive waste of talent, energy, and resources... which might not exactly be *bad* for OWS, but it seems the same talent, energy and resources could be better invested in a way that builds the sport.

    If @LOSTswimmer's pleas aren't being acted on/quickly enough, perhaps, @jheynes, your voice could *help* @LOSTswimmer's causes... which would be good for OWS. :)
  • Jen,
    So you're saying that Solo Swims out of Canada with all their outrageous requirements should be the only game in town to monitor swims in all the great lakes?
    We in actuality they are in Lake Ontario???
    Since we are only in step 1 of this process, which OWS rule book would like to see followed?? I am up for suggestions on any topic of setting this up.
  • @jheynes, at no point did I characterize or suggest that SSO's requirements were "outrageous".

    I cannot imagine that SSO would require four boats for a 500-meter swim along the shoreline. Four boats would be unreasonable for such a short swim. This suggests reasonable, case-based flexibility.

    Have you approached SSO and investigated their requirements for Lake Erie swims along your intended route?

    I'm curious, though, about Coast Guard jurisdiction. If you needed support on the Canadian side of the lake, I'm thinking the US Coast Guard couldn't swoop in. Would the Canadian Coast Guard require you to work with SSO anyway?

    With satellite trackers seemingly now standard equipment on OW swims, marathon swimming has a new dimension of safety to it. Perhaps there are more justified reasons to drop boats than previously could have been argued. Perhaps you and @LOSTswimmer could work together and renew your case(s) with SSO. Generations of future swimmers could benefit from your energies! :)

    I encourage you not to throw the baby out with the bath water, here.

    I see the possibility of the OWS community being negatively affected by this. Do you really want to risk recreating the CSA/CS&PF drama and tension in North America?
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