SOFLO’s Mesa, Porto Will Take On Saturday’s ISHOF Fort Lauderdale Rough Water Swim

SOFLO’s Mesa, Porto Will Take On Saturday’s ISHOF Fort Lauderdale Rough Water Swim


WRITTEN BY SHARON ROBB

January 7, 2011

Alfredo Mesa Jr. and Kevin Porto will represent South Florida Aquatic Club in Saturday’s International Swimming Hall of Fame’s 41st annual Fort Lauderdale Rough Water Swim off Fort Lauderdale beach.

Mesa, 12, and Porto, 11, are members of the Bronze Group and coached by Rose Lockie at the Academic Village Pool.

The pair will be greeted by 52-degree weather in the morning. A high of 76 degrees is expected by midday for the mostly sunny weather forecast.

Fran Crippen, who tragically died in a FINA-sanctioned open water event in October in United Arab Emirates, will be honored during the event.

Brazilian Ana Marcela Cunha, the 2010 FINA Open Water Swimmer of the Year, and Pan American Games champion Ricardo Monasterio, will participate in the event in honor of Crippen. Both are training with the Davie Nadadores during the holidays.

Cunha, 18, finished third in the same 10K race that Crippen lost his life in. Monasterio is a friend and former competitor of Crippen’s.

“We are swimming to honor Fran’s memory and to share his and our love of open water swimming,” Monasterio said.

Said Cunha, “We also want to show that open water swimming is very safe if safety precautions are followed. That was not the case in Dubai where there were few observers and both the water and air were excessively hot.

“Open water swimming is a wonderful sport,” Cunha said. “We are more than satisfied that this swim (in Fort Lauderdale) will be as safe as any competition in a pool.”

Crippen was in Fort Lauderdale last year to conduct an open water clinic for local swimmers and coaches and also won the Rough Water Swim in 19 minutes and 25.4 seconds.

ISHOF is working closely with Fort Lauderdale Ocean Rescue to ensure all standards established by the United States Lifesaving Association (USLA) for open water swimming are in place including safety buoys.

The swim is parallel to the beach and swimmers will be observed from both the beach and ocean side of the course.

“Given the recent tragedy in Dubai, we are taking extra precautions to ensure the safety of every swimmer,” said ISHOF curator and race director Bob Duenkel.

Race officials are also providing 300 safety buoys and encouraging swimmers to use them for an experiment to determine if they are viable for future open water races.

The open water swim was started in 1969 by the legendary Buck Dawson, founder of the International Swimming Hall of Fame Museum and one of the early open water swimming pioneers.

ISHOF CEO Bruce Wigo is hoping for a good turnout of swimmers of all ages from local clubs, high school and masters teams to the popular event. Numbers were low last year, he said.

Awards will be presented for the one mile swim in age group, college and masters divisions as well as the top 10 male and female finishers.

Registration is underway online at www.ishof.org or at the ISHOF Gift and Pro Shop. There is also race day registration up to one hour before the race with an additional $10 fee.

The race begins at 9:30 a.m. on Fort Lauderdale Beach at Vistamar Street. The race finishes in front of the ISHOF facility on the beach at SE Fifth Street.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com

 http://www.swim4soflo.com

ISHOF Adds New Safety Device For Jan. 8 Rough Water Swim

ISHOF Adds New Safety Device For Jan. 8 Rough Water Swim


WRITTEN BY SHARON ROBB

December 28, 2010

With a solid safety plan already in place for years, an additional safety device will be offered to swimmers in the January 8 International Swimming Hall of Fame’s 41st annual Fort Lauderdale Rough Water Swim off Fort Lauderdale beach.

Since the tragic death of 26-year-old U.S. national team member Fran Crippen at an October open water swim in the United Arab Emirates, open water swimming has come under scrutiny.

While the investigation into Crippen’s death is ongoing, local open water race officials are taking extra precautions to ensure the safety of every swimmer and for the race to maintain its perfect safety record.

“This is about safety and lives of swimmers,” said ISHOF CEO and president Bruce Wigo, who has been an open water swimmer since age 10.

ISHOF ordered three hundred open water safety balls that will be made available to any swimmer wishing to use one during the swim.

Wigo first saw a photo of the unique product, that ties around the swimmer’s waist, used at the Pearl River Swim, featuring 15,000 swimmers in China, is not only a flotation safety device but also has a compartment that can hold towels, clothes and valuables when swimming alone in open water.

“I always wanted to try this product, something like this is inevitable,” Wigo said. “It doesn’t impede or slow down the swimmer. It goes around the waist. It’s an inflatable float that rides the back flow of the swimmer, it doesn’t pull, it just rides through the water. There is no drag at all.”

Wigo remembers his early days as an open water swimmer when he put himself at risk unknowingly. “When I look back at it now…” Wigo said.

“We would like as many people possible to use them as an experiment,” Wigo said. “I am convinced if Fran had been wearing this it would have been easy to note that his identification marker wasn’t moving. I think it’s perfect. We want to try to get people to use it.”

Crippen, in Fort Lauderdale last year for an open water clinic for local swimmers and coaches, won the Rough Water Swim in 19 minutes and 25.4 seconds.

ISHOF is working closely with Fort Lauderdale Ocean Rescue to ensure all standards established by the United States Lifesaving Association (USLA) for open water swimming are in place including safety buoys.

The swim is parallel to the beach and swimmers will be observed from both the beach and ocean side of the course.

The open water swim was started in 1969 by the legendary Buck Dawson, founder of the International Swimming Hall of Fame Museum and one of the early open water swimming pioneers.

Wigo is hoping for a good turnout of swimmers of all ages from local clubs, high school and masters teams to the popular event. Numbers were low last year, he said.

Even before Crippen died, some college athletic directors would not allow their teams that were pool training in South Florida during the holidays, to participate in any open water swim because of the risk. College swimmers always looked forward to the change of scenery swimming in the ocean.

Numbers have been low for the College Swim Forum in Fort Lauderdale as well mainly because of the economy and travel problems.

Awards will be presented for the one mile swim in age group, college and masters divisions as well as the top 10 male and female finishers.

Registration is underway online at www.ishof.org or at the ISHOF Gift and Pro Shop. There is also race day registration with an additional $10 fee. The race begins at 9:30 a.m. on Fort Lauderdale Beach at Vistamar Street. The race finishes in front of the ISHOF facility on the beach at SE Fifth Street.

Another open water swim is scheduled for Sunday, January 2 at 9:30 a.m.

The Delray Beach Ocean Rescue Ocean Mile Swim will be held on Anchor Park Municipal Beach right off South Ocean Blvd. The well-organized event, open to all ages, benefits the Delray Beach Ocean Rescue Lifeguard Competition Team. There is free parking at Sandoway Park. Lifeguards will be on paddleboards and all lifeguard towers will be open. For more information call 561-243-7352 or email fosterj@mydelraybeach.com.

Another fun event this weekend is the largest paddle boarding event hosted by Miami.

The World Paddle Association’s Orange Bowl Paddle Championship will take place at 11 a.m. on Sunday, January 2 at the Bayside Marketplace Marina, 401 Biscayne Blvd. The event includes a five-mile race from Biscayne Bay to the Miami River for competition and amateur paddle boarders.

There will also be live music, charity raffle and demonstrations. The race is open to anyone. All proceeds benefit Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Great Miami. The event fee is $10. Admission includes credit for a burger and refreshment. For more information go to www.orangebowlpaddle.com.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com

 http://www.swim4soflo.com