Who Earns the Title 'Channel Swimmer'?

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Comments

  • @oxo: In all of the blogs and media releases prior to her EC swim she always quoting channel rules, stating only one bathing suit and no wetsuit could be worn, etc. I can't imagine there was single person who read these things and thought to themselves."I think she might just bring a wetsuit AND FINS on the boat in case she gets too cold"
    I can only speak for myself, it isn't the wetsuit and fins that make this so irritating but rather the self promotion with the skewing of the facts when there were so many more deserving swimmers with amazing feats of courage who followed the rules. A shining example of someone who should be getting the accolades and media recognition is Fionnuala Walsh - what she did was amazing!
  • jgaljgal Member
    edited January 2013
    oxo said:

    Comradery amongst Channel Swimmers per se is irrelevant to personal feuds between a Channel Swimmer and a non Channel Swimmer.

    Given that I have no idea who you are, I find it rather comical that you feel I am in a personal feud with somebody I also do not know personally.

    I think swimming across the EC in a wetsuit/fins is more of an accomplishment than swimming 10k down river in channel attire.

    That's totally your opinion, and I respect that.

    However, I don't understand why you felt a need to inflate your argument. Your choice of thread title and your opening post is Jerry Springeresque.

    I take that as a compliment! Thank you! :D And personally I don't understand why you feel a need to try to make me feel bad for loving this sport, our community, and the English Channel, but again, you are welcome to make assumptions about me if you feel it communicates your feelings on this topic more effectively.

    As for the rest of us, I do believe a media guide is long overdue...it has been mentioned in the past, but I feel now more than ever it must be produced. That way, when this happens the next time (because it will), those upset with inaccuracies in reporting can more effectively point out errors made by gullible journalists.
  • oxooxo New Member
    edited January 2013
    firebah said:

    I would say at this point you won't see her making the claim but had you been following her blogs and media prior to the swim you would have seen her saying she was [going to follow] all of the rules, explicitly pointing out the bathing suit only rule.

    Both the bold and the square bracket correction are mine. I see nothing wrong with that in itself. Even as soon as the moment Brittany King signed the exterior of the pub, she was acknowledging to all the world that she wore a wetsuit (she included and underlined the term 'wetsuit' in her inscription). I see no reason why she would then withhold that from the media contact.

    People here in this thread seem to be holding Brittany King accountable for what the media sculpts into their product, that is, what the media edits-in, edits-out, fictionalizes, dramatizes, etc ... How ludicrous is it to hold an interviewee responsible? Not even the editors/publishers of peer reviewed scientific literature necessarily make the corrections that they receive as annotations on the pre-press proofs by the authors, not even those errors that are black and white, nor necessarily publish in a subsequent issue an erratum correcting the errors.

    Problem is she says one thing and does another.

    Brittany King said she was going to swim in channel attire. She started out swimming in channel attire. To me that is not a foul, nor foul play. Even changing plans and starting out in a wetsuit (as occurred at least once this past season) is, to me, not a foul, nor foul play.

    Brittany King couldn't make it all the way in channel attire. She got out, perhaps thinking the attempt was completely over, maybe not. Her CS&PF pilot was generous enough (think back to Trent, who learned 1) for the first time in his life, 2) from his EC pilot, 3) just minutes before leaving the dock to start his swim, that it was ok to use the escort boat for speed assistance both intentionally and during the entire swim) to encourage Brittany King to finish the swim in a wetsuit. I used 'generous' for several reasons. First, the pilot putatively could have made more of a profit by acting hardcore and terminating the swim by discouraging her from getting back in with a wetsuit. Second, when the pilot encouraged her to put on a wetsuit and get back in, he was communicating that doing so is OK, that it is not an offense, that it would be better to kit up and complete the swim in non-channel attire than to turn the escort boat around and head home.

  • oxooxo New Member
    edited January 2013

    The size of her announcement on the wall!
    Inside the pub it would have been room enough for 50 crossings.

    Per the photo posted above by @firebah, Brittany King signed on the rail of a window sash. It measures less than 3" by 7" by my estimate.
  • oxooxo New Member
    edited January 2013
    firebah said:

    In all of the blogs and media releases prior to her EC swim she always quoting channel rules, stating only one bathing suit and no wetsuit could be worn, etc. I can't imagine there was single person who read these things and thought to themselves."I think she might just bring a wetsuit AND FINS on the boat in case she gets too cold".

    Considering the failure rate is 30-40%, it seems prudent to me to bring non-channel attire on board the escort boat, especially since before the swim Britanny King's pilot encouraged her bring it along. It is a double edge sword though, because having the option to don a wetsuit likely would undermine one's conviction.

    I can only speak for myself, it isn't the wetsuit and fins that make this so irritating but rather the self promotion with the skewing of the fact

    This irritates me too. That @jgal skewed the facts is even more irritating, especially after claiming herself to be a member of 'one of the most dignified and fair groups in the world'.

    when there were so many more deserving swimmers

    Yes, society is not a meritocracy. As @evmo wrote, yawn.

    A shining example of someone who should be getting the accolades and media recognition is Fionnuala Walsh - what she did was amazing!

    Another example is Steve Redmond (one of my heroes) not getting the recognition and accolades that he deserves for not only completing his O7, but being the first in the world to do so.
  • jgaljgal Member
    edited January 2013
    oxo said:

    That @jgal skewed the facts is even more irritating, especially after claiming herself to be a member of 'one of the most dignified and fair groups in the world'.

    What facts have been skewed?

    I joined the club in 2009. If you'd like my specific date/time/pilot/link to record of swim, I am happy to share.
  • oxooxo New Member
    edited January 2013

    However, I don't understand why you felt a need to inflate your argument. Your choice of thread title and your opening post are Jerry Springeresque.

    I take that as a compliment! Thank you! :D
  • How is responding to one's personal feelings a 'skewing of facts'?

  • firebahfirebah Member
    edited January 2013
    oxo said:

    People here in this thread seem to be holding her accountable for what the media sculpts into their product, that is, what the media edits-in, edits-out, fictionalizes, dramatizes, etc ... How ludicrous is it to hold her responsible? Not even the editors/publishers of peer reviewed scientific literature necessarily make the corrections annotated on the proofs by the authors, even the black and white ones, nor publish an errata of the mistakes in subsequent issues.

    We are also including HER BLOGS IN HER OWN WORDS which often stated she would follow the channel rules of a bathing suit and NOT use a wetsuit.
  • Big kudos to Steven Redmond. Wasn't he partly if not entirely sponsored by Red Bull? Just asking because I have heard he was and it caused issues on some boats because the Red Bull folks were a bit pushy about rules and such. It might also explain to those of us emptying our bank accounts to attempt a swim how he could repeat swims 2 and 3 times in order to have a success. Oh to have a major sponsor - what a dream come true that would be!
  • oxooxo New Member
    edited January 2013
    firebah said:

    We are also including HER BLOGS IN HER OWN WORDS which often stated she would follow the channel rules of a bathing suit and NOT use a wetsuit.

    Your comment is about what Brittany King wrote before her swim. Given that scope, I see nothing wrong with that in itself. Brittany King said she was going to do swim in channel attire. She started out in channel attire. To me that is not a foul, nor foul play. Even changing plans and starting out in a wetsuit (as occurred at least once this past season) is, to me, not a foul, nor foul play.

    Post swim:

    Even as soon as the moment she signed the exterior of the pub, she was acknowledging to all the world that she wore a wetsuit (she included and underlined the term 'wetsuit' in her inscription).

    In her post-swim blog, in her first sentence she acknowledges non-channel attire to all the world in the broad daylight of the world wide web.

    Alanna Nuñez, the author of the the post-swim Shape article, not only quotes Brittany King as acknowledging non-channel attire, but Nuñez decidedly contextualizes King's violation as a distinct failure to follow the ratification-eligible guidelines. Nuñez does that by making the guidelines clear in the Shape article's second paragraph: "If she broke any of those rules, King would not be recognized as having completed the swim, even if she made it to the other shore." It's a vastly popular literary strategy to leave the reader hanging until the very end regarding the final outcome. One would have to inflate the facts to say that the author, let alone the interviewee, was trying to hide the truth.
  • oxooxo New Member
    edited January 2013
    firebah said:

    Big kudos to Steven Redmond.

    Steve Redmond truly is larger than life.
    firebah said:

    Wasn't he partly if not entirely sponsored

    I think sponsorship came in only in the later O7 swims. North Channel etc emptied his own pockets, I think. If I recall correctly, the birth of the issues/politics surrounding Amateur vs Sponsored/Professional is covered in great detail in The Great Swim, which in my reading of the book takes the halo off amateurism.
  • firebahfirebah Member
    edited January 2013
    @oxo: Since you are a late comer to this whole thing you did not see media and blogs prior to the swim. Much has changed since then because of pressures forced upon her to be honest. Where is her admission to the use of fins?

    I think bringing Paraic into this discussion is out of bounds and shows a lack of class on your part.
  • oxooxo New Member
    edited January 2013
    firebah said:

    I think bringing __ into this discussion is out of bounds and shows a lack of class on your part.

    Agreed. I've edited it out.
    firebah said:

    Where is her admission to the use of fins?

    What is the data on the use of fins?
    firebah said:

    see media and blogs prior to the swim. Much has changed since then because of pressures forced upon her to be honest.

    You are wrong. Brittany King made it clear when she signed, presumably on her own account, the exterior wall of the White Horse. That occurred sometime between Sept 4th and Sept 26th. My guess is that she wrote the inscription within 24 hrs or so of her swim.
  • dc_in_sfdc_in_sf San FranciscoMember
    edited January 2013
    oxo said:

    What is the data on the use of fins?

    Nick Adams mentions it in the comments to the Shape magazine article. He would seem to be a reliable witness in this context.

    Can you be a bit more consistent in retaining the attribution of who you are quoting btw? I think removing it can cause confusion and it is not like we are saving paper here :)
    http://notdrowningswimming.com - open water adventures of a very ordinary swimmer
  • oxooxo New Member
    edited January 2013
    dc_in_sf said:

    oxo said:

    What is the data on the use of fins?

    Nick Adams mentions it in the comments to the Shape magazine article. He would seem to be a reliable witness in this context.
    I am aware of that comment. For how long did she wear them?

  • dc_in_sfdc_in_sf San FranciscoMember
    oxo said:

    see media and blogs prior to the swim. Much has changed since then because of pressures forced upon her to be honest.

    You are wrong. Brittany King made it clear when she signed, presumably on her own account, the exterior wall of the White Horse.
    @oxo The above argument does not hold. It is entirely possible for the swimmer to sign the pub one way and represent herself in another and then to further change that representation.

    That said, personally I don't know if she did or did change her representation. I did see some comments deleted from here blog that did accuse her of changing her representation but that is hardly evidence of anything.
    http://notdrowningswimming.com - open water adventures of a very ordinary swimmer
  • jgaljgal Member
    edited January 2013
    oxo said:

    You are wrong. Brittany King made it clear when she signed, presumably on her own account, the exterior wall of the White Horse.

    Along those lines, where is the admission of wearing fins, or wearing two wetsuits? Or, as you've deduced from her blog, getting onto the boat?

    Does it really matter?

    My initial question surrounded the now apparent vagueness that is associated with the words English Channel Swimmer. I always felt it was straightforward: you are an aspirant before the swim and, if successful, an English Channel Swimmer henceforth.

    I think @Haydn puts it best:

    It remains for all swimmers to have the integrity to be more forthcoming in the way they have swam. Categories of 'Channel Swimmer' 'Assisted Channel Swimmer' 'Relay Channel Swimmer' seems to solve the issue quite neatly.

    I am glad this thread has caused such a lively discussion, and I hope we all preserve the respect that our sport has held for 138 years.
  • oxooxo New Member
    edited January 2013
    dc_in_sf said:

    It is entirely possible for the swimmer to sign the pub one way and represent herself in another and then to further change that representation.

    My argument is not water-tight, true, but if a swimmer is honest enough and forthcoming enough to sign the pub wall with the admission of having completed a swim that violated ratification guidelines, it seems most likely that the swimmer would continue in that vein. Earnest question: besides the Shape article, is there any other post-swim media?
  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    dc_in_sf said:

    The above argument does not hold. It is entirely possible for the swimmer to sign the pub one way and represent herself in another and then to further change that representation.

    oxo said:

    My argument is not water-tight, true, but if a swimmer is honest enough and forthcoming enough to sign the pub admitting to having completed a swim that violated ratification guidelines, it seems most likely that she would continue in that vein.

    Inspired by @oxo's "Texas blood feud" theory, I think we need another conspiracy angle:

    Brittany signed the pub without the "wetsuit" addendum, and then someone else with remarkably similar handwriting and love of underlining... added it later!

    mwahahahaha! Ghost of Capt. Webb, I bet!
  • oxooxo New Member
    edited January 2013
    Your ghost-editor theory, @evmo, would be even more conspiratorial if you proposed that the underlining was done by a third party, in photoshop.
  • @oxo: what about the fins? She is an able bodied swimmer who used fins. Why did she use them? She has not admitted to the fins at all that I have seen or have you found documentation where she has admitted to their use?
  • oxooxo New Member
    edited January 2013
    oxo said:

    dc_in_sf said:

    oxo said:

    firebah said:

    Where is her admission to the use of fins?

    What is the data on the use of fins?
    Nick Adams mentions it in the comments to the Shape magazine article. He would seem to be a reliable witness in this context.
    I am aware of that comment. For how long did she wear them?
  • HaydnHaydn Member
    edited January 2013
    Interesting point regarding 'ending the swim' by getting on the boat. Surely that would always be a failed swim. However, if the wetsuit and fins were put on in the water, then that would imply a successful assisted swim.

    As for a failed swim. I had occasion to share a boat across the EC. The other swimmer was slow and I was swimming backstroke, but in hanging back was not getting tired. After about 13 hours she had to stop and gales were blowing in, we were getting nowhere. I was allowed to carry on as I was able to increase my speed, now swimming alone. It made no difference. The conditions were blowing me back towards England. The point is, if you are employing your escort, you might as well turn a failure into the best training swim possible. As it was obvious conditions were such I could not get to France, they were perfect to help me swim back to England. But I had to get back on the boat for the return trip. Had the other swimmer not been onboard, I would happily have swam as far back to England as I could. It's not nice having to abort a swim when there is still a lot of swimming left in the swimmer. But we have to obey the pilot. I think the pilot was being exceptional in allowing me to keep trying on an otherwise partially aborted swim. Also Brittany Kings pilot was exceptional allowing her aborted swim to continue by allowing her to get into a suit/fins and carry on.

    A couple weeks later, I re-booked my own boat and swam across backstroke. Since that swim, they changed the rules forbidding two swimmers to share a boat.

    What I am getting at is this: Only when something out of the ordinary crops up, can the rules be amended, depending on the will of the swimmers or the organisation.

    In my case, the CSA suggested there was an additional safety risk for two swimmers sharing a boat. You could also suggest, a swimmer aborting a swim, and then restarting it, also increases the safety risk. But as yet, ending a swim early and then continuing is not against the rules.
  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    edited January 2013
    It looks like this person went to a lot of effort to write this comment, with the Latin phrases and such.

    http://dailynews.openwaterswimming.com/2013/01/fit-for-king-but-not-for-channel.html?showComment=1359473887820#c3629249214152009327

    I thought it might be @oxo at first, but... maybe not. Perhaps 'hughjass' will join our Forum and teach us some more Latin.
  • oxooxo New Member
    edited January 2013
    link farm == will receive no comments

    ... 'sides, I would not have passed up the opportunity to write: for a pet pet charity

    in @evmo parlance,
    marathon swimmer != skin swimmer
    marathon swimmer == at least once swam >= 10 km

    ... which is just to say that on that blog's thread, i'm not the great Unknown either.

    If I were to ding King, I'd just point out that if one swims to the point of being pulled for hypothermia, then it is essentially impossible, if not wholly unwise, to a don a wetsuit, get back in the water, then swim 'really fast' to warm up. Cold doesn't work that way, at least not in my experience, anymore than what's her name's hot water drip necklace would have. Moreover, if a swimmer is truly hypothermic at say hour K, then a 3/2 mm or similar is not going to allow the swimmer to swim another N hours, where K+N=13+ and K is something like 8 or 10.

    Why is that important? Because that is what this forum (I think) is about. It's not about rules. It's about the point that comes after which we are limited, essentially, only physically, then exercising to push that limit.

    Yeah, Brittany King does not seem to be swimming on the other side yet ... or maybe she just had a bad day when she was in the Channel. Regardless, she accomplished something few people could, albeit not as rare as a ratifiable swim, Congrats, with bonus points for using publicity to fundraise.

    Besides, Gertrude Ederle was a publicity seeker, and Webb a stuntman.
  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    I always appreciate Gords' perspective on these things:

    http://gordsswimlog.blogspot.com/2013/02/contention-is-of-devil.html
  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    edited May 2013
    @KarenT recently gave a fascinating academic talk covering this debate and the Diana Nyad debate. It has been preserved for posterity on an mp3 podcast:

    http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/sociology/staff/academicstaff/throsby/homepage/channelswimmer/research/podcasts/ws650084.mp3

    The talk is called: ""We cannot let up until our sport is purified": marathon swimming and the troubled boundaries of authenticity"

    Well worth everyone's time to listen. Great work, Karen!
  • GordsGords Charter Member
    Don't know how I missed this until now! Thanks @evmo. I'm going to download this so I can more closely listen to it and absorb it all. Lots of deep thought went into it and she goes pretty fast, and I'd like to better appreciate the depth of it. Good stuff.

  • KarenTKarenT Charter Member
    @Gords - I'm so glad you liked it. I was really nervous when I gave the talk so picked up a bit too much speed - I have a draft written version if anyone prefers text over talk. K
  • IronMikeIronMike Bishkek, KyrgyzstanCharter Member
  • mjstaplesmjstaples Atlanta, GA, USMember
  • KarenTKarenT Charter Member
    Thanks for the interest in the talk. For those who would like a copy, please send a message to my inbox with an email address and I will send draft copies of the text. The slides from the talk can be downloaded from the project website at: http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/sociology/staff/academicstaff/throsby/homepage/channelswimmer/research/presentations/
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