Saturday, December 6, 2014

Kenichi Completes A Crossing: Success For 節政健一

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Kenichi Setsumasa completed a 9 hour 48 minute crossing of the Tsugaru Channel, a long-held goal.

Japanese distance freestyler started swimming at the age of five and continued doing well throughout his school years where he retired as a national-level swimmer.

Four years ago, the 24-year-old Japanese became hooked on open water swimming when he saw a relay crossing of the Tsugaru Channel broadcast on television. "I was both inspired and surprised by the relay. Someday, I was absolutely sure that I would attempt this challenge," he promised to himself.

He understood that balance was hard to maintain with the waves and turbulence, but the ambiance of the open water attracted him. "It was much different from the pool and the goal was that everyone was smiling. I was hooked," Setsumasa recalls.

He started competing in - and winning - open water swims throughout Japan.

He eventually sought help from the Tsugaru Channel Swimming Association and found a slot on September 8th - and a support.

He became the first person from Kyushu to complete the channel when he finished on Cape Shirakami in 7 hours 30 minutes, the fourth fastest crossing in history and the fastest of any Japanese swimmer.






















With the water temperature raising from 23.7ºC to 26ºC soon after his start at the Kodomari fishing port on Aomori Prefecture and initial calm conditions, his initial experience was very positive; something he did not expect.

"The water temperature was warmer than I thought and I was moving well [at 5 kph]. I swam comfortably during the first hour as it served as a warm-up and replenished on jellies and sports drink every 30 minutes."

However, as they hit the 20 km mark, he gradually became sore with no feeling below his elbow. As he hit the eddies and turbulence from the waters of the Sea of Japan mixing with the Pacific Ocean currents, he was tossed left and right and had a hard time to focus.

At one point with the shoreline in sight, it took him over 10 minutes to travel as little as 100 meters. But he came ashore, tired and successful - far faster than any Japanese or Asian over the 25-year-old history of crossing the Tsugaru Channel.

Copyright © 2014 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Cold, Wet, Dreary...And Happy In The Tsugaru Channel

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Team Umiou (海王《うみおう》) started out in cold, wet and dreary conditions on one side of the Tsugaru Channel, but finished under better conditions in their 12 hour 45 minute crossing from Hokkaido to Honshu. Captain Mizushima escorted Tomokazu Sakurai, Nobu Arihisa, Yuko Isozaki, Shinpei Kamata, Fujiko Kawasaki and Motoko Honma in northern Japan.

Copyright © 2014 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Tsugaru Channel Crossing Completed by International Team

Video courtesy of Ocean Navi across the Tsugaru Channel in Japan.

Aya Iwata, Yukichi Usui, Ikuko Ono, Yasuo Naito, Hiroko Hachinoe and Peter Turberfield completed a 6-person Tsugaru Channel crossing from Honshu to Hokkaido in 9 hours 51 minutes in Japan.

The team escorted by Captain Mizushima landed on Hokkaido's Shirakami Misaki after swimming south to north from Honshu, the main island of Japan, across the Tsugaru Channel, to the northernmost island of Hokkaido. Their course was relatively straight, comparatively rare among Tsugaru Channel crossings, although they hit a challenging eddy towards the end.

Copyright © 2014 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Monday, November 17, 2014

David Yudovin Inspires The Yudovin Award

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

For years, he toiled in the world's oceans with minimal publicity and little public recognition.

For decades, he continued to rake up an impressive list of successful swims that pioneered courses across many channels.

Stroke after stroke, mile after mile, hour after hour including through the Tsugaru Channel, he swam through cold, warm, rough, calm, salty and sharky waters, escorted by his wife, enabled by his co-workers, and constantly supported by his family.

The reputation and talents of David Yudovin were well-known among the small niche of marathon swimmers and channel swimmers in the 20th century, but his exploits are only now becoming widely acknowledged by those who follow in his wake.

Yudovin was not only inducted in the International Swimming Hall of Fame this year, but he also became the namesake of an award: the Yudovin Award.

The Yudovin Award is awarded by the Marathon Swimmers Federation as part of its MSF Global Marathon Swimming Awards that also include the Solo Swim of the Year (to honor the single most outstanding marathon swim of the year), the Barra Award (to honor the most impressive year of marathon swimming), and the Service to Marathon Swimming Award (to honor individuals who have selflessly given their time and energy to advance, enrich, and support the sport of marathon swimming).

The Yudovin Award honors the single most adventurous swim of the year as voted upon by the MSF membership. The MSF explains its newest award, "The Yudovin Award is meant to recognize the spirit of adventure, the most interesting swim, or the most unusual swim."

In the twilight of his 4-decade career, Yudovin continues to add luster to the sport.

To nominate individuals for this award, post here.

Copyright © 2014 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Friday, November 14, 2014

Kelly Gneiting To Pull Double Duty In Japan

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Kelly Leo Gneiting, a father of 5 children from Rexburg, Idaho, is the five-time American sumo wresting champion.

Known as the Man of Fat Steel, Gneiting will represent the United States as an athlete and coach at the 20th annual World Sumo Championships in late August in Japan.

But along the way to cross the Pacific Ocean to the world's fiercest sumo wrestlers, he is going to also attempt to swim across the Tsugaru Channel from Honshu to Hokkaido the week before.

His attempt is within his capabilities as he has crossed Bear Lake in Utah in 16 hours 13 minutes and gave it a good shot in an attempt of the Anacapa Channel this year. Leo has the heart of a lion.



To help Gneiting along his way, visit Go Fund Me.

Copyright © 2014 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Doctor Is In The House

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

A day after the latest Japanese relay team crossed the Tsugaru Channel, Dr. Steven Minaglia from Honolulu, Hawaii is getting ready for his own solo Tsugaru Channel attempt.

From his hotel room on Tappi Misaki, he has been watching the whitewater and wind chop typically blow across the Tsugaru Current. Eddies, chop and marine life await the specialist in Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery at the University of Hawaii who has crossed several channels in Hawaii and the Strait of Gibraltar.

Photo by Dr. Minaglia shows Honshu (Tappi Misaki*) in the foreground and Hokkaido (Shirakami Misaki*) in the background where the current typically flows quickly from west to east (left to right in the photo) unless it is punctuated with swirling eddies.

For more information on the Tsugaru Channel, visit Tsugaru Channel Swimming Association and Openwaterpedia.

Note: The Seikan Tunnel (青函トンネル) runs underneath the channel with a 23.3 km (14.5 mile) portion under the seabed very close to the optimal swimmer's course. The rail track is about 100 meters below the seabed and 240 meters below sea level.

* Misaki means point or cape in English.

Copyright © 2014 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Now Swimming, Then Success After 9 Hours 51 Minutes

Photos and report courtesy of Ocean Navi.

Aya Iwata, Yukichi Usui, Ikuko Ono, Yasuo Naito, Hiroko Hachinoe and Peter Turberfield completed a 6-person Tsugaru Channel crossing from Honshu to Hokkaido in 9 hours 51 minutes this week in Japan.















The team traveled south to north, swimming from Honshu, the main island of Japan, across the Tsugaru Channel, to the northernmost island of Hokkaido. Their course was relatively straight, comparatively rare among Tsugaru Channel crossings, although they hit a challenging eddy towards the end.

Photo above was taken onboard Captain Mizushima's escort boat after landing in Hokkaido's Shirakami Misaki.

Copyright © 2014 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

津軽海峡初泳!女性だけのチームで挑戦し成功した



"A First For The Tsugaru Channel. All-female Team Is A Success" video courtesy of Masayuki Moriya of Ocean Navi on the Tsugaru Channel in Japan.

The relay including Asano-san, Abe-san, Inoue-san, Kataoka-san, and Takahashi-san became the first all-female team to finish the Honshu-to-Hokkaido crossing. On August 21st, they crossed in 13 hours 44 minutes. The infamous Tsugaru Channel eddies off the Hokkaido shore can be seen at the 2:56 mark in the video.

Copyright © 2014 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Go West To Swim North To Hokkaido

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

We never understand why swimmers who attempt the Tsugaru Channel in Japan start from the eastern peninsula on Honshu. The currents, tides and eddies have proven time and time again to prevent swimmers from successfully crossing the Tsugaru Channel.

History has proven that the chances of success starting from the east in order to reach the northern island of Hokkaido are extraordinarily low.

In contrast, swimmers since David Yudovin and Steven Munatones in 1990 to the recent successes of Kimberley Chambers and Attila Mányoki have started on the western peninsula of Honshu.

With his 7 hour 29 minute crossing of the Tsugaru Channel last week, Mányoki continues to be a topic in the television news in his native Hungary. "Every day there was news about my days in Japan. On Saturday evening during the main news time, my swim across the Tsugaru Channel was reported and broadcast. It was also shown during the Sunday morning news shows too. And the TV stations are waiting for me [to return]."

The image above shows the typical course of swimmers who start from the eastern peninsula...before being pulled out.

Copyright © 2014 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Attila Mányoki Across The Tsugaru Channel



Video courtesy of Ocean Navi, showing Attila Mányoki's fast 7 hour 29 minute crossing of the Tsugaru Channel between Honshu and Hokkaido in Japan.

Mányoki took a chance and departed Honshu from Tappi Misaki, something very few athletes attempt.

Copyright © 2014 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Cápákkal úszott Mányoki Attila



Interview of Hungarian Mányoki Attila courtesy of tv2.hu about his swim across the Tsugaru Channel.

Mányoki Attila bravúros teljesítményt vitt véghez, ugyanis telesítette az Ocean’s Seven japán állomását, átúszta a veszélyes Cugaru-szorost. Magyarként először, de a világon is mindössze a tizenharmadik úszó, aki sikerrel teljesítette ezt a szakaszt. A zalaegerszegi sportoló a Mokkában elmondta, hogy sok veszéllyel járt a kísérlet. Két hajó is kísérte, így próbálták ugyanis távol tartani a cápákat az úszóktól. Attila elmondta, hogy egyszer még le is kellett állnia, ugyanis a parttól 4-5 kilométerre kettő, egyenként négy méteres cápa közelítette meg őket. A 37,1 kilométeres távot végül 7 óra 29 perc alatt teljesítette.

Attila Mányoki completed the Japanese leg of the Oceans Seven, a risky swim across the Tsugaru Channel. He was the first Hungarian to complete the swim and only the thirteenth swimmer to successfully cross this channel. The athlete from Zalaegerszeg Mokkában [in western Hungary] said there was a lot of risk in the attempt. He was accompanied by two escort boats in an attempt to keep sharks away. Attila said that the crossing was longer than anticipated by 4-5 kilometers while four-meter shark approached him. The 37.1 km swim was ultimately completed in 7 hours 29 minutes.

Copyright © 2014 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Attila Mányoki Flies Across The Tsugaru Channel

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Attila Mányoki was accompanied by a crew from the largest Hungarian broadcasting company and did his country proud with a very fast 7 hour 29 minute crossing of the Tsugaru Channel in Japan.

The professional marathon swimmer had to wait a few days for a typhoon to pass so both he and the television crew were nervous that his window would pass. But when the typhoon turned away from Honshu, the post-storm calm was inviting. Mányoki took off fast from the shores of Honshu and never let down until he reached Hokkaido.

His time across the Tsugaru Channel was the third fastest of all time and the fastest since 1990.

The list of Tsugaru Channel swimmers is below:

* David Yudovin (USA) solo single crossing (Honshu-to-Hokkaido) in 11:56 (1990)
* Steven Munatones (USA) solo single crossing (Honshu-to-Hokkaido) in 6:11 (1990)
* Steven Munatones (USA) solo single crossing (Hokkaido-to-Honshu) in 6:39 (1990)
* Steven Munatones (USA) solo double crossing (Honshu-to-Hokkaido-to-Honshu) in 12:50 (1990)
* Miyuki Fujita (Japan) - solo single crossing (Honshu-to-Hokkaido) in 11:36 (2005)
* Miyuki Fujita (Japan) - solo triple crossing in 37:24 (2006)
* Masayuki Moriya (Japan) - solo single crossing (Honshu-to-Hokkaido) in 11:55 (2011 with wetsuit)
* Penny Palfrey (Australia) - solo single crossing (Hokkaido-to-Honshu) in 14:26 (2011)
* Darren Miller (USA) - solo single crossing (Honshu-to-Hokkaido) in 15:55 (2012)
* Stephen Redmond (Ireland) - solo single crossing (Honshu-to-Hokkaido) in 12:45 (2012)
* Michelle Macy (USA) solo single crossing (Honshu-to-Hokkaido) in 8:55 (2012)
* Forrest Nelson (USA) solo single crossing (Honshu-to-Hokkaido) in 9:26 (2012)
* Craig Lenning (USA) solo single crossing (Hokkaido-to-Honshu) in 10:44 (2012)
* Pat Gallant-Charette (USA) solo single crossing (Honshu-to-Hokkaido) in 19:36 (2012)
* Anna-Carin Nordin (Sweden) solo single crossing (Honshu-to-Hokkaido) in 19:11 (2012)
* Adam Walker (Great Britain) solo single crossing (Honshu-to-Hokkaido) in 15:31 (2013)
* Kimberley Chambers (New Zealand) solo single crossing (Honshu-to-Hokkaido) in 9:38 (2014)
* Attila Mányoki (Hungary) solo single crossing (Honshu-to-Hokkaido) in 7:29 (2014)

Copyright © 2014 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Friday, July 4, 2014

Kimberley Chambers Loving Her Journey In Tsugaru

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Kimberley Chambers of New Zealand completed her sixth Oceans Seven channel this week in a quick 9 hours 38 minutes.

As she was closing in on Hokkaido, the currents and eddies pushed her far east for the last two hours. "I was expecting this, but man, those currents were strong. The swim streamer was at a right angle to the boat [then]."

But her strategy was spot on. "My shoulders are oddly sore, but I am sure that is because i started out of the gate as fast as I could because I was worried about the [Tsugaru] current. [In contrast] I spent the first 3 hours slow and steady in the English Channel and Catalina. But overall, I am in much better shape than [after completing] the Molokai Channel [in 19 hours 27 minutes]."

One thing that we have observed is that Chambers is getting stronger and faster as she climbs up the Oceans Seven chart. "I am trying my best. And simply loving the personal journey and seeing how far I can push my mind and my body. I have many more swims to do."

Copyright © 2014 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Kim Chambers Completes #6 To Climb To #5



































Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

It is natural and expected for world-class swimmers like Lynne Cox and Penny Palfrey to be on the highest echelon of the Oceans Seven list.

But it is equally unlikely and unexpected for rugby players like Stephen Redmond and ballerinas like Kim Chambers to be at this same level.

Chambers has steadily climbed the Oceans Seven rankings and is within a swim of becoming the fifth person to complete it.

Yesterday, the former ballerina from New Zealand comparatively easily knocked off the Tsugaru Channel in Japan with a relatively uneventful crossing of 9 hours 38 minutes under unexpectedly mellow conditions, swimming steadily from Honshu to Hokkaido northern Japan under the watchful eye of Captain Mizushima.

The current top 10 individuals of the Oceans Seven:

1. Stephen Redmond (Ireland): COMPLETED English Channel, Strait of Gibraltar, Catalina Channel, Cook Strait, Molokai Channel, Tsugaru Channel, North Channel.
1. Anna-Carin Nordin (Sweden): COMPLETED Molokai Channel, English Channel, Strait of Gibraltar, Catalina Channel, Tsugaru Channel, Cook Strait, North Channel.
1. Michelle Macy (USA): COMPLETED English Channel (3 times), Catalina Channel, Molokai Channel, Strait of Gibraltar, Cook Strait, Tsugaru Channel, North Channel.
1. Darren Miller (USA): COMPLETED English Channel, Catalina Channel, Molokai Channel, Strait of Gibraltar, Tsugaru Channel, Cook Strait, North Channel.
5. Penny Palfrey (Australia): English Channel (2 times), Strait of Gibraltar, Catalina Channel, Cook Strait, Molokai Channel, Tsugaru Channel: 6 with 1 more to go.
5. Adam Walker (UK): English Channel, Strait of Gibraltar, Molokai Channel, Catalina Channel, Tsugaru Channel, Cook Strait: 6 with 1 more to go.
5. Kimberly Chambers (New Zealand): Cook Strait, Molokai Channel, Strait of Gibraltar, Catalina Channel, English Channel, Tsugaru Channel: 6 with 2 more to go.
8. Forrest Nelson (USA): English Channel, Catalina Channel (both ways and two-way), Molokai Channel (both ways), Tsugaru Channel and Cook Strait: 5 with 2 more more to go.
8. Craig Lenning (USA): North Channel, English Channel, Catalina Channel, Tsugaru Channel, Cook Strait: 5 with 2 more to go.
10. James Pittar (Australia): English Channel, Catalina Channel, Cook Strait and Strait of Gibraltar: 4 with 3 more to go.
10. Kevin Murphy (England): English Channel (34 times), Catalina Channel, North Channel (2 times) and Strait of Gibraltar: 4 with 3 more to go.
10. Bula Chowdhury Chakraborty (India): English Channel (twice), Catalina Channel, Cook Strait and Strait of Gibraltar: 4 with 3 more to go.
10. Tom Hecker (USA): English Channel, Catalina Channel, Cook Strait and Strait of Gibraltar: 4 with 3 more to go.
10. Pieter Christian Jongeneel Anderica (Spain): English Channel, Catalina Channel, Cook Strait and Strait of Gibraltar: 4 with 3 more to go.
10. T. Scott Coleman (USA): English Channel, Catalina Channel, Cook Strait and Strait of Gibraltar: 4 with 3 more to go.
10. Kathleen Wilson (USA): English Channel, Catalina Channel, Molokai Channel, Strait of Gibraltar: 4 with 3 more to go.
10. Pat Gallant-Charette (USA): English Channel, Catalina Channel, Strait of Gibraltar, Tsugaru Channel: 4 with 3 more to go.
10. Lynne Cox (USA): English Channel (2 times), Catalina Channel (2 times), Cook Strait, Strait of Gibraltar: 4 with 3 more to go.
10. Aditya Santosh Raut (India): English Channel, Catalina Channel, Cook Strait, Strait of Gibraltar: 4 with 3 more to go.

Copyright © 2014 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Safeguarding Swims With The Japan Coast Guard

The Japan Coast Guard (or JCG or 海上保安庁) in Japanese, was formerly called the Maritime Safety Agency when it was founded in 1948. The JCG is the Japanese federal agency that employs about 12,000 personnel for the protection of Japanese waters and coastlines.

The Japan Coast Guard remains under the oversight of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism.

Its ships and personnel patrol Japan's territorial seas and between 12 – 200 nautical miles out from the shore to provide various safeguards and countermeasures.

The Japan Coast Guard works against piracy and illegal operations and resolves maritime conflict as well as provide search and rescue, oceanographic surveying and maritime traffic management. It also works with local fishermen's unions and reviews and approves solo and relay crossings of the Tsugaru Channel by swimmers attempting swims under the auspices of the Tsugaru Channel Swimming Association and Ocean-navi.

"We started working with the Japan Coast Guard back in 1988 on channel swims and marathon swims. Since that time, Commander Matsuzaki and subsequent teams all over Japan from Yonaguni Island in Okinawa to the Tsugaru Channel on the shores of Hokkaido were extremely helpful in planning swims around Japan," explains Steven Munatones who works with Masayuki Moriya of Ocean-navi and Yuko Matsuzaki of the Tsugaru Channel Swimming Association. "The Japan Coast Guard personnel's knowledge of the local waters, conditions, currents and marine life are extraordinary. With a typical Japanese focus on details, careful planning and deep concern for the welfare of swimmers, they have been a tremendous joy to work with over the years."

Copyright © 2014 by World Open Water Swimming Association