Well there you have it… the first season of COWSS has come to a close. Pretty cool though… only a few months ago this was just an idea. Then in the middle of February, as far from open water swimming season in Canada as you can get, a few of us made it a reality. Me, Miguel, Katie, Steve and Richard. We started with just the LOST Race, The Toronto Island Lake Swim and Bring On The Bay in Ottawa. Then we picked up a few more people to help run it, Barrie, Dylan and Sean. And we picked up a few races, in Vancouver, Kelowna and Halifax. And soon we had the making of a true national series. Wow.
We weren’t sure how it would all shake out. We had lots of plans, but didn’t know how to put it all together. Still lots of room for improvement, but like so many things in life, just starting… is everything. Now we have the first summer done and a whole winter to find out ways to improve. We want to add more races… and our biggest goal is to add more swimmers too!
So yes, we organizers deserve a pat on the back for getting it going (way to go guys!)… but the real success is measured by participation… did anyone show up? Is there really a market for something like this? Can we make it work? And I’m going to have to say “yes”… it looks like there is really an appetite for something like this! I have to say we are pretty happy with over 2000 swimmers participating in the inaugural season! That’s a pretty good benchmark!
And people really embraced it as a “series”. We didn’t think that many people would actually travel from place to place just to improve their ranking and to do more races… but we hoped they would… and that’s exactly what happened! (check out the number of people who swam multiple races below).
And as much as anything, the the whole points system that I planned worked perfectly. Right from the word go, I wanted 50% of the points just for participating and 50% for placing. Thus leveling the playing field between “enthusiasts” and “speedsters”! And take a look at our winners below and it bears that out.
Bill Leonard won the very competitive “men’s Non-Wetsuit” division… he is very fast… and traveled from Ottawa to do 4 races! Speed and participation… very deserving! (he beat me, 3rd, and my son, Dylan, 4th!… but we’re coming for you next year Bill!)
And Maisey Kent won the “Women’s Non-Wetsuit” division. Yes, she’s my daughter, but that’s the beauty of the points, it take any subjectivity out of it!… although I am proud of her for winning and keeping the Kent name out there! She narrowly edged out the super-star marathon swimmer, Annaleise Carr (who did a 42k and a 30k Lake Erie Crossings this summer too!)… pretty cool rivalry though too!
And Michael Fana won the Men’s Wetsuit Division. This is kind of the coolest win of the four. So the most points you can earn in a race is 100. (actually never quite 100 because it is a “percentile”, but the larger the race the closer to 100 points for first place). And if you were like Bill you were averaging about 98 points per race. But the the number of races you swim is the great equalizer! Michael was one of only two people (Rhian Short, second in the Women’s Wetsuit division is the other) to do 5 races!!! But Michael was only averaging about 69 points per race… so he’s pretty fast, but not the fastest… but he won!!! Hey, if you show that kind of dedication to the sport of open water swimming… you deserve to win! Well done Michael!!! (and Rhian!).
And Sandra Jesson, won the Women’s Wetsuit Division. And the cool thing about this win?… she’s in the 50-59 age group! She did 4 races and earned about 75 points per race. So forget about the age thing too! Anyone can win!
So without further ado… here is the official results and comments from COWSS. (Thanks Dylan!) You can find more info at COWSS.ca
Remember if you did ANY of the races in COWSS, you automatically were entered into the National Rankings! So have look and see how you placed in the country! (press CTRL F to find your name in the results).
See you all next year… and bring a friend!
The inaugural season of the Canadian Open Water Swim Series (COWSS) came to a close on Saturday with the Caledon Quarry Swim II. After 12 events occurring over 3 months with over 2000 participants in races all across Canada the final rankings have been calculated and we are pleased to announce our National Champions for the 2014 season:
Men’s Non-Wetsuit, National Champion – William Leonard, Ottawa (390.37 points, 4 races)
Women’s Non-Wetsuit, National Champion – Maisey Kent, Oakville (276.84 points, 3 races)
Men’s Wetsuit, National Champion – Michael Fana, Mississauga (344.63 points, 5 races)
Women’s Wetsuit, National Champion – Sandra Jesson, Mississauga (299.15 points, 4 races)
Congratulations to our National Champions, your names will be engraved on the COWSS Trophy (we will post pictures for everyone to see once the engraving is completed).
The overall national rankings and the age group national rankings for participants in all races are now posted.
We would like to thank everyone for their participation this year and we look forward to you joining us next season when we plan on working to make the Canadian Open Water Swim Series bigger and better.
Some interesting stats from the Final Results:
Number of Events in COWSS: 12
Number of Races in COWSS: 26
Distances offered in COWWS: 750m, 1km, 1.5km, 2km, 2.1km, 3km, 3.1km, 3.8km, 4km, 5km, 6km, 7km, 10km
Total Participants: 2012
Male Non-Wetsuit Participants: 155
Female Non-Wetsuit Participants: 237
Male Wetsuit Participants: 765
Female Wetsuit Participants: 855
Largest Age Group: Female Wetsuit, 40-49 Age Group, (247 swimmers)
Highest Point Average for an Age Group*: Men’s non-wetsuit, 19 & under – 90.87
*calculated by dividing total points for the age group by total participants
Number of swimmers to complete multiple races: 182
Race with the most finishers: Across the Lake Swim (Kelowna, BC) – 636 swimmers
Highest Point Total Overall: William Leonard, 390.37 points
Average Point Total: 83.10
Median Point Total: 77.10
Swimmers to complete the most races: Michael Fana and Rhian Short both completed 5 races
Swimmer with the highest point average*: Rod Craig 99.19
*calculated by dividing total points by number of races, out of a possible 100 (swimmer must have done more than one race)
Events, locations and dates:
1) Epic Swim / Dartmouth, NS / Jun 28
2) Canada Day Challenge / Port Moody, BC / Jul 01
3) Caledon Quarry Swim Race / Caledon, ON / July 6th
4) Bring On The Bay / Ottawa, ON / Jul 12
5) Across The Lake Swim / Kelowna, BC / Jul 19
6) Bay Challenge / West Vancouver, BC / Jul 19
7) Briga Swim / Halifax, N.S / Aug 02
8) Kitsilano Challenge / Kitsilano Beach, BC / Aug 02
9) The L.O.S.T. Race / Oakville, ON / Aug 09
10) Rattlesnake Island Swim / Okanagan Lake, BC / Aug 09
11) Toronto Island Lake Swim / Toronto Island, ON / Aug 17
12) Caledon Quarry Swim Race / Caledon, ON / Sept 20th