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*** FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE ***

Contact: Steven Munatones, U.S. Masters Swimming


Phone: (714) 305-7374; email: headcoach@openwatersource.com

Protecting Athletes: Open Water Safety Conference


January 24, 2011 – Sharks, jellyfish, currents, waves, hypothermia, hyperthermia and pollution
– how are athletes protected in open water swimming events? This is the theme of the March 18
through March 20 “Protecting Athletes: Open Water Swimming Safety Conference” in San
Francisco.

U.S. Masters Swimming and the Pacific Masters Local Masters Swimming Committee are
jointly hosting the conference, gathering numerous open water swimming experts to discuss best
practices, planning, protocols and guidelines at the world’s first international Open Water
Swimming Safety Conference.

Since the inclusion of triathlons at the 2000 Sydney Olympics and marathon swimming at the
2008 Beijing Olympics, a growing number of individuals of all ages, abilities and backgrounds
are heading to the open water. Both at the grassroots level and elite competitions, there is a
critical and immediate need for swimmers, coaches, race directors, organizations and governing
bodies to share knowledge and experiences on all safety issues regarding competitive and
recreational open water swimming activities.

Conference speakers include Shelly Taylor-Smith and Steven Munatones, both members of the
FINA Technical Open Water Swimming Committee; Jim Wheeler, a recognized aquatic safety
expert; Morty Berger, president of NYC Swim; Dr. Jim Miller, member of the FINA Sports
Medicine Committee; Benoit Amyot, race director of the Traversée International du lac St-Jean;
Chris Brewster, president of the U.S. Life Saving Association; Chris Sheean, race director of Big
Shoulders and U.S. Masters Swimming national championship event in Chicago; Bob Placak,
founder of the RCP Tiburon Mile in San Francisco; Yutaka Shinozaki, founder of the Japan
International Open Water Swimming Association; Marcia Cleveland, English Channel swimmer
and Masters open water national champion; Suzanne Heim-Bowen, marathon swimmer and
Masters open water national champion; Lori Bosco, race director for the Swim Around Key
West; Kaia Hedlund, president of the Waikiki Roughwater Swim; John Tucker, FINA Open
Water Swimming Referee; Maddy Crippen of the Fran Crippen Elevation Foundation; Dean
Jackson, Executive Vice President of blueseventy; Dale Petranech, Honorary Secretary of the
International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame; Malcolm Cooper, Safety Director of the Maui
Channel Swim; Nelson Vargas of the Acapulco 5K International Swim in Acapulco, Mexico;
Bruce Wigo, CEO of the International Swimming Hall of Fame; Karen Reeder, race director of
the U.S. Masters Swimming 6-Mile Championship in Colorado; Dick Sidner, race director of the
U.S. Masters Swimming 25K National Championship in Indiana; Liz Tucker, Race Director
Certification Manager of USA Triathlon and several others.
―The sport now has over 3,600 open water swims in the world – plus an ever greater number of
triathlons, charity swims, solo swims and relays,‖ says Steven Munatones, the conference co-
host and editor-in-chief of the Daily News of Open Water Swimming. ―Open water swimming
presents significant challenges for participants, race directors, coaches and administrators. How
do we keep everyone safe – and anticipate everything that might occur in the open water? That is
what we are discussing at the conference.‖

Mark Gill, Director of Operations with U.S. Masters Swimming, sees the growth—and risks—of
the sport first-hand: ―We host six open water championship events and sanction more than 50
open water swimming competitions from coast to coast. There are many people—including
many of our 55,000 members—who swim primarily in open water or triathlons. We see a critical
need and huge responsibility to bring in some of the world’s most experienced safety experts to
discuss open water safety issues.‖

Michael Moore, Chair of Pacific Masters LMSC, whose LMSC has 10,000 USMS members and
sanctions many open water events comments, ―Our race directors have decades of accumulated
know-how and practical experience in conducting events in lakes, oceans and other venues that
range from 1-mile lake races to swims across the San Francisco Bay. We are tapping into their
knowledge, documenting it and coming up with a series of recommendations for the sport.‖

The conference schedule can be fully viewed at http://www.openwatersource.com/open-water-


swimming-safety-conference.html. The Conference will provide summary documents of the
sessions and case studies that will help raise the standards of safety in the sport and will help race
organizers and governing bodies worldwide understand optimal safety practices. The sessions
will be video recorded and archived for viewing by interested parties. For more information,
please contact Steven Munatones at 714-305-7374 or email: headcoach@openwatersource.com

About U.S. Masters Swimming


U.S. Masters Swimming, founded in 1970, is a membership-operated national governing body
that promotes adult health, fitness, wellness and competition through aquatics. It does so by
partnering with more than 1,000 adult swim programs across the country that offer swimming
and fitness programs, promotes information via a bimonthly member magazine and
www.usms.org, and sanctions and promotes pool, open water and virtual competitions. More
than 50,000 adults are registered members of U.S. Masters Swimming. For more information,
contact us at 655 North Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL 34236 or by phone at 941-256-USMS
(8767).
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