What defines "the best" marathon swimmer?

evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
edited January 6 in General Discussion

Inspired by @GlobalSwimmer's comment in a separate thread:

I am yet to find an answer as to who the best marathon swimmer is: the fastest in a given distance, or the one capable of enduring the longest/coldest/hardest swim.

Thoughts? Opinions? (not to imply there is necessarily a good answer)

kejoyce

Comments

  • Copelj26Copelj26 ChicagoMember
    edited January 6

    Can best actually be defined?

    I have read on many occasions that we never swim in the same open water twice, so how can any swim be compared? The water is just one of the many variables that can make it difficult to compare each swim and is there really a need to compare swims? We all have our own stories on what made or destroyed swims for each of us and they can be for personal reasons.

    Should it not be enough to admire and applaud any swim our swim colleagues, friends etc. perform and marvel in the audacity to try the swim at all considering all the variables, rather than try to compare or negate swims in comparison to other swims?

    Looking forward to descriptions on how to define best swim

    evmoKatieBunkejoyceLakeBaggergregocSwimmersuzJustSwimj9swimAnthonyMcCarleyphodgeszoho
  • smithsmith Member

    Stoychev.

    Hot, cold, short, long, and always fast.

    GlobalSwimmer

    Keep moving forward.

  • andissandiss Senior Member

    On one hand you the amazing Olympians (like Ferry Weertman) swimming a 10km in 1h 52min and on the other hand you have the likes of Sarah Thomas - can the 2 even be compared?

    Maybe the one who has the most fun? 🤣🤣

    LakeBaggergregocflystormsSolophodgeszoho
  • KarenTKarenT Charter Member

    Being okay with not being the best?

    KatieBunkejoyceCopelj26rosemarymintflystormsj9swimAnthonyMcCarleyphodgeszoho
  • miklcctmiklcct Kowloon, Hong KongMember
    edited January 6

    Those who get good rankings in the world championship and the world cup.

  • AliSwimsAliSwims New ZealandMember

    The ability to carry on swimming while finishing your last mouthful of chocolate bar (or feed food of choice) while starting the next half hour of your swim? ;-)

    kejoyceslknightflystormsSolo
  • curlycurly Issaquah, WAMember

    To me, this is a bit like asking who is the best band.

    Golf is a game. Football is a sport. Swimming is an art.

    Copelj26flystormsrosemarymintSolophodgeszoho
  • abeabe australiaMember

    and marathon swimming everyone who has a go is the best

    Copelj26KatieBunnooravalkonenphodgeszoho
  • caburkecaburke Charter Member

    A swimmer won a marathon race in 4h26m. At the awards dinner, she was approached by woman that completed the same race in 7h15m. The 7h15m swimmer congratulated the winner on such an unbelievably fast race but was shocked when the winner said, "you're the one that impresses me. I would never be able to swim continuously for over seven hours?"

    IronMikeCopelj26miklcctKatieBunJustSwimcurlygregocrosemarymintj9swimflystormsand 6 others.
  • j9swimj9swim CharlestonSenior Member

    @caburke - someone once said something similar to me as I'm always teetering on the edge of my abilities and it helped to change my perspective. its daunting to swim against a tide or a clock closing in on you.
    Who's the best seems a personal question; fastest, longest, strongest, the person who improved the most, the parent with 2 jobs and 3 kids who still managed to train and finish, the person who went from being a sprinter to marathons, the person who came back after 3 DNF's to finally finish it, the person who got over their fear of the ocean , etc. In some way I think its all of us because we keep coming back despite knowing we'll never be the best.

    gregocnooravalkonenevmoKatieBunSoloCopelj26kejoycephodgeszoho
  • IronMikeIronMike BostonCharter Member

    Sarah Thomas.

    KatieBunSoloPasqualemiklcctflystormslakespray

    Just here troubling deaf heaven with my bootless cries...

  • GlobalSwimmerGlobalSwimmer New York NYMember

    @caburke said:
    A swimmer won a marathon race in 4h26m. At the awards dinner, she was approached by woman that completed the same race in 7h15m. The 7h15m swimmer congratulated the winner on such an unbelievably fast race but was shocked when the winner said, "you're the one that impresses me. I would never be able to swim continuously for over seven hours?"

    I experienced exactly the same feeling when we swam in Antarctica 14 months ago. I was third out of 14 (after Stoychev obviously @smith ) with 12'41'', but the last swimmer completed the Ice KM in 25'27'' - i.e. more than twice the time I spent in the 29F waters, and recovered twice as fast (yes, he is from Siberia). To me, he is a better ice swimmer than me - and Stoychev, but I wonder if the same applies to Marathon Swimming.

    Pasquale
  • SylleSylle SwedenMember

    Speaking of "best", I might have missed the announcements, but aren't there any MSF awards this year?

  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin

    There will be an announcement in the next few weeks.

    SylleIronMikeflystormsCopelj26
  • brunobruno Barcelona (Spain)Member

    I came up with a quite fair formula to find it out, using a so-called Marathon Swim Index (MSI):

    You just have to use a few data of every swim completed, and add them: j=1 to m swims in a given year, and i=1 to n for several years (I'd say a period of 5 years would be fine).

    D is Distance (in km; please use metric units, it won't work with imperial)

    d is water density

    Cspeed is a coefficient for the speed (not actual speed, but compared to other simmers on that same swim)

    CTemp is a coefficient for water temperature (ideally it shoud be quadratic, so that low temperatures or very high temperatures rank higher)

    Ctrust is a coefficient for the trustworthiness of the swim; of course it equal 1 for swims MSF compliant, or with well established organizations

    Clife is a coefficient for sea life encountered during the swim (jellys, sharks, kraken...)

    Cpioneer is a coefficient to give value to pioneering swims

    Crest would take into account days of rest between consecutive swims

    Cconditions is a coefficient taking into account sea and weather conditions

    Cfly is a coefficient to take into account if the swim was done in a style other than front crawl

    evmoIronMikeSolomiklcctCopelj26flystormscurlygregocrlmAnthonyMcCarleyand 1 other.
  • curlycurly Issaquah, WAMember

    @bruno said:
    I came up with a quite fair formula to find it out, using a so-called Marathon Swim Index (MSI):

    Good lord! If I swim two miles in one hour I have to use my fingers to figure out how fast I was swimming...

    miklcct
  • GlobalSwimmerGlobalSwimmer New York NYMember

    @bruno said:
    I came up with a quite fair formula to find it out, using a so-called Marathon Swim Index (MSI):

    Who'd win with this formula? Ferry Weertman's 10K in Rio or Sarah Thomas' 4-way EC?

    miklcct
  • SylleSylle SwedenMember

    I came up with a quite fair formula to find it out, using a so-called Marathon Swim Index (MSI):

    This looks cool :) Would be interesting to experiment with it, not in a super-serious way maybe though!

    @bruno said:
    You just have to use a few data of every swim completed, and add them: j=1 to m swims in a given year, and i=1 to n for several years (I'd say a period of 5 years would be fine).

    Might be that the result of this formula becomes a bit skewed towards people willing/able to travel a lot?

  • brunobruno Barcelona (Spain)Member

    @Sylle said:
    This looks cool :) Would be interesting to experiment with it, not in a super-serious way maybe though!

    I started a spreadsheet, but I haven't got time to finish and play with it... Someday I will.

    @Sylle said:
    Might be that the result of this formula becomes a bit skewed towards people willing/able to travel a lot?

    @GlobalSwimmer said:
    Who'd win with this formula? Ferry Weertman's 10K in Rio or Sarah Thomas' 4-way EC?

    That's the point: you can chose how to rate each coefficient, so that your candidate will get the highest rank! ;)

    gregocCopelj26
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