Words: Conan Marshall
Much like many adventure sports, swimming has only grown in recent years. With an abundance of celebrity Olympic swimmers and triathletes, the sport has only been obtaining more and more followers. Aside from the indoor swimming pools, there is another more extreme side to this sport.
Open water swimming has gained popularity amongst adrenaline junkies, but what is open water swimming all about? Freezing cold temperatures, powerful ocean swells and the risk of shark attack. Lets just say this, these races aren't for the faint-hearted.
With over 172 open water swims in Europe alone, it can be hard to find one right for you. Your best bet would be to start with local races then progress from there. As with any endurance sport, there are those special moments which can make or break you.
Here we take a look at some of the most brutal and challenging open water swims around the word:
1) The English Channel
The channel between Northern France and England is one of the most well known open water swims with many iconic swimmers like Petar Stoychev completing it. The fastest attempt so far is by Australian swimmer Trent Grimsey, who reached the finish at 6 hours 55 minutes. The swim is heavily regulated due to the amount of traffic from cargo ships in the channel.
For more: https://www.channelswimmingassociation.com/
2) Norseman Xtreme Triathlon
Held in Norway every year, this triathlon is not supported, this means that competitors need to have personal crews to follow them and provide food and drink. When starting the swim, competitors are dropped from over 12 feet into a fjord from a ferry. Temperatures average around 13 degrees Celsius, wetsuit's are advised...
For more: https://nxtri.com/
3) Waikiki Roughwater Swim
Named as one of the top 100 open water swimming races in the world. This race occurs off Waikiki Beach, on the south shore in Hawaii. This race sees up to 1000 swimmers enter, be prepared to rub shoulders with the hundreds of competitors. The choppy sea includes strong currents so competitors must be ready for a challenge. The 2.3 mile race is a test of endurance and strength. In 2016, little more than half finished the race, this goes to show that preparation and training is key.
Find out more: http://www.waikikiroughwaterswim.com/