Global Open Water Swimming Conference

It is what it is!

Writing to you after my plane was cancelled due to the Chile volcanic ash closing down Sydney airport.  It is 2am in the hotel lobby here in Los Angeles, 5am in New York City and your local time wherever you are in the world today.

After three solid days of non-stop open water swimming action, excitement and honour I am left electrified with open water buzz and reflecting on the impact of the fastest growing sport on the planet.

After the inspirational talks at the Global Open Water Swimming Conference held at the Columbia University in NYC, I felt like a total underachiever!!!! I was in awe of Lewis Pugh, who swam 1km at the Geographic North Pole in water of -1.7C in ONLY his Speedos, in total disbelief by Martin Strel “Big River Man” who has swum the entire length of the Amazon, Danube, Parana, Mississippi Rivers and Penny Lee Dean who at 23 broke the fastest time – male & female- for the English Channel 7hrs 40mins that stood for 16yrs!!! (and only 4 people have still swum faster than that time). To top it off, South African cold water legend, Ram Barkai left me speechless (hard to imagine yes!) describing his epic swim around Cape Horn!

These amazing open water swimming exploits were motivated by their concern for peace, freedom, human poverty and environmental concerns including climate change and quality of water. I believe we all possess the potential to impact thousands of lives and make a significant difference in the world by contributing our unique gifts to others.

The three-day OWS bonanza culminated with the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame ceremonies held at the United Nations in NYC celebrating the inductions of swimmers, coaches and organisations that emulate the Champion spirit of open water swimming.

Under the leadership of Colonel Nejib Belhedi of Tunisia, Gary Foote and a host of accomplished open water swimmers, a dove was released as a symbol of peace and congratulations to Tunisia. Watch the video below.

I know I have achieved but as they say “you’re only as good as your last win!” So what are you doing today to make YOUR difference with your family and community? My mission is to make a difference with coaching people to believe in themselves, eliminate stumbling blocks once and for all and help create new habits that stick!

Of course we all have our limits, but how can you possibly find your boundaries unless you explore as far and as wide as you possibly can? Failure to me means that I am one step closer to success.

I find nothing more rewarding than helping people who set health & fitness goals to compete in open water swimming but are stricken with fear. Eradicating the big 3; fear, frustration and self doubt is the gateway for people to get on with having fun swimming to achieve their OWS and triathlon pursuits.

To help you shed your old skin:

1.      What progress have you made toward a new behaviour/skill that you can celebrate right now? _________________________________


2.      How often do you spend time with the people you most admire, that emulate the character, attitude and behaviours of a Champion? _________________________________

3.      What recent activities, event, or results are you most proud of, where you stuck at it and have you talking, walking and swimming like a Champion in a more positive way right now? _________________________________


Post your comments below as I am keen to receive your feedback.


Cheers to you and your OWS success!

Shelley Taylor-Smith


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