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December 14, 2020 - A threat to swimmers' health

A threat to swimmers' health…

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Emailed to more than 41,000 ocean swimmers
weekly in season.

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Forster Turtles return to base: Quite a nice image by Steve White from his drone. It's not a bad joint.

Look below... 

Swimmers' health

SIPE – Yet another threat

Sarah Spencer and Dr Lindsay Forbes explain 'swimming-induced pulmonary oedema' (SIPE) - a potentially deadly condition that can affect swimmers…

(This story appeared first in Outdoor Swimmer [Nov 25, 2020])

Swimming induced pulmonary oedema (SIPE) is a condition that causes severe, sudden breathlessness during open water swimming. It appears to be fairly rare, but is seen more often as the popularity of open water swimming increases. SIPE can be described as an attack of shortness of breath that is out of proportion to the effort being put in, during or immediately after swimming. It can occur on its own or may include symptoms such as a whistling or crackling sound in the chest, an unexplained cough, coughing up phlegm or fluid and a feeling of tightness in the chest. SIPE is not normally linked to water inhalation and does not occur immediately on entering the water. Symptoms usually improve once on dry land. However, if someone is unaccompanied or cannot get out of the water quickly, it could be life-threatening.

Get out of the water

SIPE is an under-researched condition that is poorly understood. It is thought that the combination of water immersion, exposure to cold and exercise can increase the pressure in pulmonary capillaries (tiny blood vessels in the lungs) causing fluid to leak into the air spaces of the lung.

While SIPE can be experienced in all water temperatures, it seems to be more common in cooler water as the body reacts to cold by forcing blood away from the extremities into the chest.

If you develop this type of shortness of breath while swimming, it is important to get out of the water as soon as possible. It is likely the symptoms will become more severe the longer you continue swimming. In most cases, the symptoms will resolve on their own once you are out of the water, usually within 24 hours. However, some swimmers may require medical attention on site or may need transferring to a hospital A&E department. Hospitalisation overnight is not usually necessary. Little is known about whether or not there are any long-term effects associated with SIPE, however one small study reported that lung function in some of the participants was worse in the week following SIPE.

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Risk factors

Research shows that around 30 per cent of people who had an episode of SIPE experienced it again. So far, not much research has been carried out into the risk factors for SIPE but researchers are currently studying which factors might be the most important so that we can give good advice to people. Some of the latest research suggests that risk factors may include high blood pressure, taking fish oil supplements, long distance swims and female sex (os.c: gender). Other hypothesised risk factors include cold water temperature, being aged over 40, wearing a tight wetsuit, over-hydration, a high level of exertion, swimming position and lack of warm up. SIPE is thought to result from a number of these factors being present at the same time to create a 'perfect storm'.

While SIPE can be experienced in all water temperatures, it seems to be more common in cooler water as the body reacts to cold by forcing blood away from the extremities into the chest. As a result, SIPE appears to occur more commonly during outdoor swimming in temperate climates rather than during pool swimming.

Reducing the risk

It may be possible to reduce the risk of a SIPE occurrence or recurrence by addressing some of the risk factors, however we cannot be sure that any of these things will definitely make a difference. The best advice at this stage is not to swim alone in open water. We don’t yet have a clear idea about treatment or prevention of SIPE, but there are interesting possibilities from surprising quarters. For example, Viagra may help prevent it. But the jury is still out on that - no robust studies yet have shown that it definitely works. But in the future we hope that we can offer a preventive treatment to people who have had a previous attack.

spencer sarah 150forbes lindsay 150Lindsay Forbes (r) is a public health doctor based at the Centre for Health Services Studies at the University of Kent. She is researching long term health conditions and how they are best managed by health services.

Sarah Spencer (l) is a Research Associate at the Centre for Health Services Studies at the University of Kent. She works mainly in public health research and is carrying out a PhD project on the epidemiology of swimming induced pulmonary oedema.

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Your most personal item…

Goggle respect

 We had a strong response to our story in our last issue about goggle management. To recap, here's our routine each time we use our gogs… 

Our routine

V630ASA AMBK 300This should apply to any brand of gog, not just Views…

  • Maintain routine maintenance (rinsing after each use, air dry, storing in case, etc… See Goggle Respect below)
  • Wash lightly in dishwashing detergent every few uses; air dry
  • Before each use, wet the inside of the lens lightly with sea water.
  • Don gogs.

That’s it. When following this routine, we do not—WE DO NOT—experience gog-fog (with our View Swipes, either Selenes or Wide-Eyes). We have clear vision throughout, limited only by the clarity of the water.

We can't say the same regarding other brands of goggle, because we haven't used any in quite some time. But in our expxerience over the last 30 years, nothing—nothing—comes close to matching View Swipes. Whatever, you should look after your gogs using the same routine as we outline above.

Since we began to offer the Swipes, we’ve sold over 650 pairs of Swipe gogs to ocean swimmers. If major issues were going to emerge over that time, we figure they would have. They have not.

Swipes available

There are Swipe Selenes available in five colours. Wide-Eyes non-mirrored come in four colours, and mirrored come in three colours.

Out of left field: One of the least popular, but we reckon the best colour is the Swipe Selenes BR. The BR means bronze or brown, not sure which. It’s not a popular colour, just like brown suits, but it’s actually a very soft, forgiving colour for swimming in harsh sunlight, and a warm colour for cooler water swimming, over winter, say. We use the BR about half the time these days (alternating with BLEM – Blue/Emerald) Wide-Eyes mirrored. They’re terrific for early morning swims when you spend half your time staring into the rising sun. Every swimmer needs a quiver of gogs.

But every swimmer also needs to look after their gogs; to respect them. If you don’t respect your gogs, they will not respect you. And don’t go blaming the gogs all the time (although plenty really are shite), it will all come down to how you manage them.

Find out more and order your View Swipes, and other View swim gogs and swim gear… Click here
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Glistening Dave's oceanswims calendar

2021 edition taking orders now

os calendar 2021 banner 150 x 211We're taking orders for Glistening Dave's oceanswims calendar for 2021. Dave has assembled some of his fave pics from the year just gone, and some from earlier years, in his memorable calendar, the 11th annual, we think. It's assembled quite a following over the last few years. It's a perfect Xmas gift for ocean swimmers, and a great way to fill that space on your wall.

Due to Covid-19 uncertainty, however, it's not been possible to cram all the swim dates into this year's calendar. But it's image-rich.

Available now on the online boutique… Click here

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Photo essay

The crash that nearly was

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Every day at Manly is crowded, especially on the run over to Shelly Beach and back. Particularly Saturdays. Head-on crashes are almost inevitable. Smart Willoughby swimmer Rose Leamon almost found this out directly: Neither saw the other on approach, but…

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… they glanced by, sliding alongside in opposite directions.

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Pittwater swim series

A message from the Newport Pool to Peak organisers…

Newport Overcomes Covid Barriers

Pool to Peak Ocean Swims in January

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The annual Newport Pool to Peak ocean swims will be held on Sunday 3 January 2021 at Newport Beach thanks to the hard work of the Newport Surf Club’s organising committee.

The club will have a 400m, 800m and a 2Kms swim on the day with an approved Covid Safe Plan in place.

According to John Guthrie, chairman of the Pool to Peak organising committee, a lot of detailed planning was required, before the club could receive Council approval, but the effort has been well worthwhile.

“A lot of ocean swims have been cancelled this season but we wanted to be able to offer ocean swimmers the opportunity to bring in a fresh New Year with a well organised ocean swim at a beautiful location.

“We will have a cordoned-off area for swimmers only and as each swim is completed, we will be asking swimmers to leave the area. In addition, we will have 10 Covid marshals on duty ensuring social distancing throughout the morning. Sanitisers will be placed in the cordoned-off area.

“We have moved the starting time for the 400m course back to the earlier time of 8.45 am so entrants will have to make sure they give themselves plenty of time to pick up their caps and timing anklets before the start,” said John.

“Only online entries are being accepted at and numbers so far are good, indicating that ocean swimmers want to plunge into the ocean once again.

“Quite a few swimmers are entering for two of the three swims. There will be no presentations but medals will be posted to the winners following the event,” John Guthrie continued.

newport start 600Harris Farm Markets are again the major sponsors of the Pool to Peak which means mandarins and bananas will be handed out to swimmers on their return to the beach. Those fruits have been chosen because of their protective skins eliminating the need for handling and cutting fruit.

“We are expecting a big day with the normal barbecue observing Covid safe rules. Social distancing and hand sanitising will be the key to staying safe.

“There will be plenty of water safety personnel in the water and in the break to protect swimmers but as usual it is up to each individual swimmer to make sure they are fit enough to take on their chosen swim course."

All swimmers will be asked to return to the finish line whether they have completed the course or not. “This is to ensure all swimmers have returned safely and so that we can retrieve the timing anklets,” John concluded.

Numbers may be limited so make sure you get your entry in at

Find out more and enter the Pool to Peak Swim at Newport on Jan 3… Click here

Ocean swims will follow at Bilgola 17 Jan, Mona Vale 24 Jan and the Big Swim 31 Jan.

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What on earth is this? A jelly of a type that we've never seen before, lurking behind the break at Manly. One swimmer tells us she's seen quite a few of them there recently. Don't know whether it stings;we didn't touch it.

Covid: Changes to swims coming up

We don't have every swim listed here because we have yet to hear from some of them. If you can send us an update on your event, so that we can inform swimmers... Click here

  • Pt Leo (Dec 26) – Running virtually.
  • Pt Lonsdale (Dec 27) – Cancelled.
  • Anglesea (Dec 28) – Running virtually.
  • Glenelg (Dec 28) – Awaiting final approvals.
  • Gerringong (Jan 3) – Postponed to a date to be fixed, later in the season. Entries online open now.
  • Newport (Jan 3) – Running pretty much normally. Entries online only; new new entries on race day.
  • Yamba (Jan 3) – Running pretty much normally. Online entries open now. Entries accepted on race day.
  • Lorne (Jan 10) – Running virtually.
  • North Bondi (Jan 10) – Running normally but caps on numbers, one swim only per swimmer.
  • Bilgola (Jan 17) – Awaiting advice. 
  • Tathra (Jan 18) – Cancelled.
  • Portsea (Jan 23) – Caps on entrants, priority registration system.
  • Nobbys-Newcastle (Jan 23) – Awaiting advice. Date TBC.
  • Mona Vale (Jan 24) – Just one swim this season, the longer event, but it will start from a spot to be fixed along Mona Vale Beach (ie not at Warriewood), depending on conditions on swim day. So everyone must report to Mona Vale surf club for check-in, briefing and start. Entries will open within a few days. All entries online only.
  • Newcastle Harbour (Jan 26) – Cancelled. 
  • Palm-Whale – The Big Swim and The Little Big Swim (Jan 31) – Staggered start times and caps on entrants. All entries online only.
  • Cronulla (Feb 7) – Running almost normally, staggered starts between events. Swimmers can do both events; entries online only; no new entries on race day.
  • Manly (Feb 7) – Running almost normally.
  • North Bondi (Feb 14) – Running normally but caps on numbers, one swim only per swimmer.
  • Sorrento-Portsea (Feb 21) – Running almost normally, with new priority registration system. Entries opening gradually from Dec 16.
  • Malabar (Feb 21 – Caps on numbers, staggered starts, entries onlline only; entries open now.

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2021 oceanswimsafaris

Travel bubble imminent

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Can't wait to get in with those whales in Tonga... Click here

Good news today (Dec 14) that the NZ Government is anticipating a travel bubble with Australia in the New Year. This would allow our Coromandel and French Polynesia oceanswimsafaris to proceed as planned. (French Polynesia also depends on the government there, of course, and that may depend partly on progress in Europe, which is where many of French Polynesia's tourists come from.)

We are planning oceanswimsafaris to New Zealand's Coromandel Peninsula in March 2021, to French Polynesia in May, to Tonga in July, and to Fiji in either August or October. (We're also hoping for The Philippines, and Sulawesi, in Indonesia, in June, and Europe in late August–September, but it's way too early to be optimistic with those locations.)

What we offer for now is the chance to secure your spot with an Advance Deposit (A$500 per head), which will be fully refunded to you if the oceanswimsafari does not go ahead.

See for more info about our ocean swimming holidays

We don't take you just anywhere… Click here

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Tonga - We don't take you just anywhere

Swim with the whales

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We don't take you just anywhere. Tonga is "not just anywhere". And swimming with humpback whales is something that you can in very few other places around the world. Others now offer tours to Tonga, but be careful: Ours is the only oceanswimsafari that takes groups of ocean swimmers to Tonga in humpback whale season, so offering you the chance both to pursue your passion, and to swim with the gentlest of giants, the humpback whales. In the ocean alongside them, not watching from a boat at a distance. Our week-long oceanswimsafaris include three days out swimming with whales, and two days ocean swimming in some of the most beautiful swim courses you will ever do. 

We have been running our oceanswimsafaris to Tonga since 2015. That means we have built up experience with the location—Vava'U, Tonga's northern island group—and its operators that no other ocean swimming tour company can match. 

We can take only eight swimmers/towel carriers at a time with us to Tonga. This makes this oceanswimsafari especially suitable for small groups, as well as singles and couples.

At this point, of course, we don't know whether travel to Tonga will be possible on our appointed dates in late July, 2021, but we're hopeful that a Pacific travel bubble will be possible by then. What we offer for now is the chance to secure your spot with an Advance Deposit (A$500 per head), which will be fully refunded to you if the oceanswimsafari does not go ahead.

If you'd like to share in this extraordinary experience, contact us quick and smart… Click here

Controversy Corner...

What do you reckon about any of this stuff? We received a lot of feedback after our last newsletter. Check it out... Click here

Let us know and we'll facilitate the debate... Click here

(Also see posts at the end of this newsletter.)

Swims open to online entry…

Coming soon - Glenelg (Dec 28), Bilgola (Jan 17), Mona Vale (Jan 24), Umina (NEW SWIM! Mar 14)

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Don't be an emergency eejit. It's 'strordnry how many punters enter swims online and list themselves as their own emergency contact. Just say something happens to you out in the sea, who are awgies going to contact? You? Get real. Think about it, and enter someone else as your emergency contact, event if it's your boss at work.

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For a quick idea of what's going on around your area -- formal events, informal swim groups -- check our swim maps. You'll find them for each area under Swims/Calendar on

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