Registration closes on 31st January 2017.
The Iconic and Historic Swimming Places of Sydney trip will next be held from 13th to 17th March 2017. The price will be approx $1,600 (depending on airfare costs) which includes return airfares from Brisbane (less, of course, if you are already in Sydney or want to make your own way there), four nights accommodation in a small comfortable hotel right on Coogee Beach and a few other bits and pieces such as public transport passes and entry fees to all swimming venues that charge a fee. It is a fully guided tour led by Mark Otter, ex-Sydney boy, swimmer and historian. If you would like to experience this great trip, a repeat of our March 2016 one, please check out this link (http://www.otteraquatics.com.au/sydney.html) and contact Mark on 0438 652 696 or at email@example.com.
Registration closes on 31st January 2017.
From 14 to 20 August 2017, Otter Aquatics will be partnering with Strel Swimming Adventures for an unforgettable swimming holiday experience in the delightful and beautiful lakes and rivers of the small southern central European country of Slovenia.
We will be based in the small, secluded town of Bohinj overlooking the vast waters of the famous lake of the same name. Our trip takes us through Triglav National Park; we will swim in its stunning glacial lakes and we will explore its lush forest and magnificent waterfalls. Swimming in Lake Bled, with its unique island church, cliff-top medieval castle and mountain backdrop, is just one of the highlights of the tour.
For four days, we will swim modest distances in lakes and rivers, fully supported all the way. Then we will play the tourist in the Slovenian capital of Ljubljana.
Come and join us. Call +61438652696 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Otter Aquatics will be leading a week-long tour to one of northern Italy’s most scenic and history-rich lakes in the late European summer of 2017. Our location will be Lago d’Orta (Lake Orta), a relatively small lake with all the advantages of nearby and better-known lakes, such as Lake Maggiore and Lake Como, but so much prettier and without the crowds.
We will be staying in a very comfortable 200 year old hotel in the lovely 12th Century village of Orta San Giulio, right on the shore of Lake Orta, and we will immerse ourselves, literally and figuratively, in the amazing architectural and artistic history and beauty of the town, the lake and the region.
Check out: www.otteraquatics.com.au/swim-tours for more details. If you are interested, get in touch on 0438 652 696 or email@example.com.
Mark Otter is an experienced open-water/ocean swimmer and has swum in some of the world’s great waterways, including many of Europe’s lakes and rivers as well as the North Sea, the Baltic Sea, the Irish Sea, the Med and, of course, the Pacific, Indian and Southern Oceans. He swam the Dardanelles – known in Greek mythology as the Hellespont - in August 2014. He also swam Croatia's Dalmatian coast in 2015 and Montenegro's bays, fjords and ocean in 2016.
Once you have ‘graduated’ from the pool to the open water, you will only go back to the pool if there is a cyclone brewing or something similar. Open water swimming in general – or ocean swimming in particular – is a whole new and different world. You break free from the confines of a pool; you break ‘the tyranny of the wall and the black line’.
Otter Aquatics’ open water swimming coaching includes OWS techniques, training schedules, navigation, race tactics, health, safety, open water swimming psychology and other issues which make this type of swimming so much different from pool swimming. Yes it is different but, once most people have tried it, they become hooked and having to turn around every 25 or 50 metres becomes a thing of the past.
Many of us want to extend our swimming into the open water for competition, especially for triathlons as that sport demands skills and different types of cardio-respiratory fitness than any one of the three disciplines alone requires. A lot of cyclists and runners find that the swim leg of triathlons is their weakest and are keen to improve.
And many of us just want to experience the sheer delight of swimming in nature, 'wild swimming' if you like, away from the artificial surrounds of a pool.
From Saturday 5th August to Saturday 12th August 2017, we will be Cycling and Swimming around Lake Constance, starting and finishing in the Germany city of Konstanz and cycling along the northern coast of Lake Constance in Germany, the eastern coast in Austria and the southern coast in Switzerland with at least one swim every day in the clear, clean, warm waters of what the Germans call Bodensee. The lake is a favourite holiday place for Germans and others and has been described as 'an El Dorado for cyclists, gourmets, hikers and water sports enthusiasts’.
Our daily ride will be between 30k and 50k, perfectly 'do-able' for the average occasional cyclist. It will not be an athletic event, rather it will be a cultural, historical and sightseeing tour which we just happen to do by bike with frequent plunging of ourselves into the lake.
We will stay in good standard hotels around the lake and we will allow ourselves plenty of time to see the sights, sample the food and absorb the history of the place.
A special optional feature of this year's trip will be to take in a performance of Bizet’s opera Carmen in the western Austrian city of Bregenz.
For more information, go to: http://www.otteraquatics.com.au/uploads/2/7/5/9/27596165/lake_constance_otter_aquatics_2017.pdf
How to ...
Make friends. Join a group of swimmers – a competitive group if that is your thing but it does not have to be. Remember that the après-swim coffee is best drunk in company
Have fun. Do the occasional silly thing with your regular swimming ... like diving for lollies, making up a game
Tune in as well as out. Meditate (see the blog below). Let all your worries pass from your mind into the water. Allow the water to envelop and support you. Allow your mind to feel refreshed when you get out. The world will look better to you and you will look better to the world
And how not to ....
Always swim indoors. We need fresh air and sunshine to elevate our mood – and, preferably, waves, salt and (nice) fish
Rely on the internet for technique tips. Yes, the information you need to improve your swimming is on the internet. But so is a lot of confusing rubbish, so much so that it is hard to find the good stuff, so you are best to avoid it. Get a good coach (I can recommend one) or read a reliable swimming magazine instead
Try to fix all your technique faults at once. Even for the multi-taskers among us (and that term is a nonsense by the way), this just doesn’t work. Concentrate on one issue at a time and repeat it over and over again.
Over the next few months, I will address several aspects of meditation while swimming – or perhaps it should be the other way around: swimming as a meditation. If you are inclined to stop reading here perhaps because you think that meditation is some sort of new age gobbledygook, don’t. If you are already a regular swimmer, I hope to convince you that this is what makes you come back for more. But maybe you haven’t thought of the high you get from swimming in these terms before.
But what do I mean by meditation? From a swimmer’s perspective, I don’t mean sitting cross-legged in the lotus position with your mind switched off (you can try that but you won’t move through the water very well). You may have heard of what are reasonably new concepts of ‘brain training’ or perhaps ‘mindfulness’. Or perhaps your coach constantly shouts at you from the pool deck urging you to focus or concentrate. Swimmers in my squad or LTS sessions are probably sick of me telling them to relax and to use their breath, especially their exhalation, to achieve a relaxed state of mind while exerting themselves physically. All these concepts are related. By meditation or mindfulness, I mean achieving a relaxed mental state by concentrating or focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one's feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations.
For the boffins or perhaps the Doubting Thomases among you, I will start this discussion with some basic neuroscience. Then we will move onto other stuff in future editions:
Otter Aquatics is a Brisbane Australia-based aquatics company which, among other things watery, leads swimming based tours to a variety of exotic locations in Europe as well as at home in Australia. The 2017 season will be the fourth of my European swimming tours beginning with the Dardanelles/Hellespont in Turkey in 2014, then Italy's Lake Orta and Croatia in 2015 and, in 2016, Montenegro and Germany's Lake Constance. They have all been extraordinarily successful, immensely enjoyable and attracting lots of positive feedback from the participants. Lake Orta and Constance were so good, I am doing both all over again in 2017. And the fantastic Croatia and Montenegro trips, delivered in conjunction with Strel Swimming Adventures, were so good, we will be doing yet another of Strel’s trips in 2017, this time in Slovenia.
Contact Mark on +61438652696 or firstname.lastname@example.org or search under Swimming-based Holidays on this website.