Sure You Swim . . . But Where Will You Crew in 2017?

KNicholasKNicholas ArizonaCharter Member
edited October 2016 in Locations & Networking

"My biggest hope for the future of open water swimming involves a shift as WE SWIMMERS NEED TO START VOLUNTEERING IN LARGE NUMBERS." --- Ned Denison, 2012. member of the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame

I revisit this idea once a year and Ned's words still ring in my ear. Around this time, open water swimmers plan their swim calendars for the coming year. It's an exciting time . . . like planning on what you hope Santa Clause will bring for Christmas (and you're Santa). It should also be a time when swimmers plan on crewing for another swimmer. I plan on being back at Catalina and Anacapa with young swimmers next year . . . amazing places that are magical for me. So if you're a swimmer, and you read this, post where you will crew . . . it may inspire others to see WHO is crewing WHERE. There are many exciting places to go.



  • ssthomasssthomas DenverCharter Mem​ber

    Volunteering options are limited here in Colorado- I managed to crew an EC swim and helped during a 10k race this past summer. Would love to help more next summer- I'm willing to travel and am decent in a kayak. Holler if you're in need! :-)

  • phodgeszohophodgeszoho UKSenior Member

    Have really enjoyed taking a break from swimming this year and focusing more on support and crewing. Hopefully will have more opportunities in 2017. At the moment the only thing lined up is supporting a solo idiot swimmer for 2S4L.

  • j9swimj9swim CharlestonSenior Member

    I have found that i enjoying crewing almost as much as i enjoy swimming and this past summer I crossed the barrier that I crewed more miles than i swam....but that's what happens when some of your friends are nominated for awards here. I also think it's an awesome way to check out a swim you're considering. and if you're just one of those selfish bastards :) then consider this angle, i learn much more crewing than i do swimming at this point. I'm already committed to crew for one ultra marathon next summer that I'm super excited to support. Its like marathon swimming - i started by swimming 1 mile and working swimmer check in - now i swim marathons and crew for > 24 hours and its all fun! Now if i learned to kayak i'd really be useful .

  • aafairmanaafairman Los Angeles, CAMember

    I really took Ned's philosophy to heart this past year, primarily because so many people volunteered their time to help me accomplish some pretty big goals. I did some open water coaching (pro bono) before the NYC Tri, I helped with some training plans, and I even made a new friend when @Jay put out a request for crew for his 20 Bridges swim in August. Like @j9swim , I feel I got as much, if not more, from the volunteer hours.

    For 2017, I have plans to do another lap around Manhattan on a boat (20 Bridges), I'm going to try this whole kayaking thing for 10 miles (Kingdom) and because I'm really nice, I'll probably teach another newbie triathlete how to swim. I'm sure it won't come close to what I will actually swim, but at least I'll be chipping away at my volunteer debt rather than piling on.

  • KatieBunKatieBun CornwallSenior Member

    I have a couple of swims booked for 2017...... and no crew for either, as yet, but am also crewing for a big swim. It's in my diary already... and I will fit in some EC observing. (Even if folk can't crew, I'm always grateful for help and advice from folk who've already succeeded in doing the swims I've booked. People who are generous with knowledge and encouragement are awesome.)

  • KatieBunKatieBun CornwallSenior Member

    By the way, is there a section on here where we can shout out for any generous souls who might be willing to crew..... or, indeed, offer our services for anybody doing a swim on our home territory?

  • I barely swam this year but quite enjoyed crewing. My crewing options are limited due to my ability to be seasick but I'm good on lakes and rivers... "will crew for food"....( and Dr Pepper)

  • Hi, it's me, that annoying person who keeps asking if you need crew.
    I couldn't agree more with @J9swim - there's a lot to learn from crewing, plus who doesn't want another excuse to spend time on the water?
    I'm looking forward to crewing 20 Bridges a few more times next summer, as well as anywhere else my friends will have me :)

  • swimrn62swimrn62 Stowe, VTSenior Member

    I'll provide kayak support for pretty much any swim I'm not swimming in.....and did so for about 14 years before I accidentally became a swimmer during a kayak trip. I've never crewed but am definitely willing.

    A database of swimmers in need of help for specific swims, the 'terms of engagement' and a list of crew/kayakers who are willing and able to help, and their geographic tolerance, would be a nice service to the community.

  • CathyInCACathyInCA Martinez, CASenior Member

    I love crewing and watching people make their goals. I have a couple of swims that I have volunteered to crew for this coming year and will definitely join in where ever I am needed. I got to swim my very first Marathon Swim this year and will do another one this year (TBD). I so appreciate everyone that helped me reach my goal and will never be able to repay the kayakers that supported me during my training swims.

    I like the idea of a database of crew/kayakers that are willing to support other swimmers. I am absolutely IN LOVE with Lake Tahoe and was able to kayak/crew for 4 awesome swims there in 2016.

  • DanSimonelliDanSimonelli San Diego CASenior Member

    The "SoCal Open Water Swimming Support" database.

    Though originally created for CCSF by Neil and Gracie Van Der Byl for use in Catalina Channel swims, it's expanded to broader Southern California and beyond.

    MSF also maintains a database of Observers, many of which I think could/would serve as support crew.

  • j9swimj9swim CharlestonSenior Member

    here's the link to the observers, please register if you are willing to share in the fun. @evmo can we extend this to also include those willing to crew, just a thought :).

  • swimrn62swimrn62 Stowe, VTSenior Member

    And kayak?

  • DanSimonelliDanSimonelli San Diego CASenior Member

    Hopefully SCAR 2017!
    :D \m/

  • evmoevmo SydneyAdmin
    edited November 2016

    @KatieBun said: is there a section on here where we can shout out for any generous souls who might be willing to crew..... or, indeed, offer our services for anybody doing a swim on our home territory?

    In the inevitability that the thread falls off the top of the list, you can always find it by entering "crew" in the search box.

    If you use this resource, please be sure to tell @tortuga about it - he wanted to know if the thread "found its demographic."

    I like @j9swim's idea of expanding the existing Observer database to include crew...

  • ttriventtriven Senior Member

    Great discussion! This year I enjoyed focusing on volunteering more than swimming and it was very rewarding. I met a lot of people who inspired me. I learned to see things through the kayaker's eyes. I became more understanding of swimmer's moods, more forgiving of myself (remembering when I had been grouchy as a swimmer), while simultaneously vowing to smile more at my kayaker the next time I swim.

  • kejoycekejoyce New EnglandSenior Member

    I've had two crew experiences and two observer experiences over the last couple years, and I really loved it! It was great to experience "the other side" and get a feel for what happens on the boat during all those hours you're swimming. I already appreciated those who've helped me out, but after those experiences I appreciate them doubly :) I'm definitely keeping my eye out for more opportunities to help out where I can.

  • rosemarymintrosemarymint Charleston, SCCharter Member

    Crewing/observing has kept me sane while I haven't been able to train for anything longer than a few miles. I swear it has deepened my love for this sport. I can't make plans for the coming year yet, but rest assured I will be out there supporting swimmers since it will be another year or so before I can join back into the fray!

    And if anyone needs a crew member or observer, just drop me a line!

  • swimmer25kswimmer25k Charter Member

    I'll crew for you. Drop me a line.

  • DanSimonelliDanSimonelli San Diego CASenior Member

    rosemarymint said:
    Crewing/observing has... deepened my love for this sport.

    Absolutely agree!

  • DanSimonelliDanSimonelli San Diego CASenior Member

    After hanging out with Dave and Alex last weekend...maybe 8 or 20 Bridges, or some number in bewteen!

  • j9swimj9swim CharlestonSenior Member

    @DanSimonelli - come swim the Hudson, she won't be easy but she will be memorable! I hope to see you this summer.

  • FilFil Derby, VTCharter Member

    Over the years, we have seen a lot of swimmers showing up as kayakers and boat crew in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont. Many are on our organizing committees as well. No question, they have as much fun as the swimmers. And, without their support, I can say that some/most of these swims just could not happen. Thanks, Kent, for starting this discussion.

  • KNicholasKNicholas ArizonaCharter Member

    One of the most interesting swims I've crewed on, and I highly encourage people to consider it, is Anacapa through the Santa Barbara Channel Swimming Association. It is short enough that a single crew person can make it the whole way. Maybe I caught it on a great day, but the sea life in the water was really amazing. Completely entertained the entire time.

  • FlowSwimmersFlowSwimmers Polson, MontanaMember

    Based upon my work as a guide on the SwimTrek River Canyons tour, I was recruited as a kayaker for SCAR in April! So, for now, the plan is to make it a major road trip in my '77 VW Bus! (#bringontheapachetrail #doyouthinkicanmakeit)

    Bus 5

  • KNicholasKNicholas ArizonaCharter Member
    edited November 2016

    @FlowSwimmers that is an awesome VW Bus. Love that you're bringing your version of the Merry Prankster vibe to Arizona for SCAR. Your volunteering is very much appreciated.

  • KatieBunKatieBun CornwallSenior Member
    edited November 2016

    Love the vans. It's a 650 mile round trip for me to observe in the English Channel, so I try to get a few observations in on each trip. Can't match the amazing jazzy colours and designs but this is how I do it. Meet Ron.

  • wendyv34wendyv34 Vashon, WASenior Member

    Yay seals!


    It's always a bad hair day when you work at a pool.

  • ChickenOSeaChickenOSea Charter Member

    Hoping to provide pontoon crewing and dumpster diving services to next year's Kingdom Swim and Search, whether they're needed or not.IMG_1235

  • DanSimonelliDanSimonelli San Diego CASenior Member

    I'm with Fionnuala...always make some time for sightseeing!
    Stop and smell the kelp!

    @evmo, maybe official circumnav of Anacapa should include swimming through the Arch!?!

  • LynnkubLynnkub Charter Mem​ber

    Sorry Dan, swimming through the Arch on Anacapa, maybe after.
    That wold be an illegal cutting of corners. :-\
    ~~~observer on every Anacapa circumnavigation, since my DNF :'(

  • KNicholasKNicholas ArizonaCharter Member

    SCAR SWIM 2017 volunteer crew registration is open:

  • I just signed up to kayak ( or preferably help on a boat) for SC... not SCAR, just SC....

  • DanSimonelliDanSimonelli San Diego CASenior Member

    Cathy H and I are paddling for Tiffany's around Coronado tmrw!
    Fun winter swim! :)

  • anyone doing 20B in June or July I'd love to crew for you before I swim it in August. I can't make the sept dates.

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