What replaces MIMS?

GvanderbylGvanderbyl Member
edited May 2014 in General Discussion
So I would like to pose a question/discussion for you.
Kinda complicated but gonna try to get it out as clear as I can.
So...there is as we (ows community) have established an "US" those who choose to swim under "Channel Rules" and "Them" those that don't. The "Them's" include (in my opinion) the DN's of the world, FINA open water swimmers, and even Olympic open water swimmers since all include elements/levels of support that are not part of "Channel Rules" type marathon swimming. Let me be clear that I have a HUGE respect for those that race FINA and Olympic swimmers, just stating obvious difference.
That being said in the "US" category, there is no Olympics or point swimming for World Champ. MIMS has sort of been the way we have established that. The winner last year was bestowed that title as those who have won before him. It is so unique cause it is the one time in the "US" category that all things are equal and there is no way to claim better conditions, currents, line, etc because everyone is in the same situation. Also, with the world wide participation and difficultly to qualify, you know you will get a high quality field. Obviously the winner may not actually be the fastest Channel Rules Marathoner in the World but for that day, and for those that made the cut to get in, we as a community seem to have officially-unofficially given them that title. It is funny cause everyone will ask what your Catalina time is or what your EC time is but they ask what PLACE did you get at MIMS?
With MIMS going the way of Catalina and the English Channel, what will take it's place for this distinction and is it important for our community to have a race to bestow such a distinction. Ederle? Stage 7 of 8 Bridges? Rottnest? Memphre?
Just posing the thought/question.....


  • evmoevmo SydneyAdmin
    Welcome, Grace! :)

    MIMS was such a unique beast. Nothing else like it for our community -- a global field of amateur (non-professional) marathon swimmers coming together on the same day in the same place for a good ole' fashioned race.

    Last year's event was a trying experience for both organizers & swimmers, due to a variety of factors that have been well hashed-out already. Partly in response to that experience, this year's event will be split into three days, sorted approximately according to swimmer speed. So the fast swimmers will still get their race, and the others will have a more low-key experience (as many of them prefer).

    But it does make me a bit sad for the sport that my experience in 2011 may have been one of the last of its kind. Sure, I was only "racing" against 5 or 6 people, but it was the 35 others whom I met over the course of the weekend-long event who made it the unforgettable experience it was.

    I think I understand why Morty is going down this road, and I'd probably do the same in his position (he's one of the most savvy organizers in our sport). Perhaps they're just giving "the people" what they want?

    Still, I agree with Grace there is now a void to be filled. Will be interesting to see who antes up...
  • jcmalickjcmalick Wilmington, DEMember
    I truly believe there is a dormant swim out there worthy of being resurrected that may be able to come to bat! Part of the reason the sport is so big in other countries is because they have FINA Grand Prix events to aim for and higher than that, the Olympics...even Canada hosts Grand Prix! My response to that would be to bring a "pro" swim to the Circuit and also open up that course to our community and add it to the Triple Crown of Open Water Swimming. If you have a Triple Crown Jewel as part of the GPC, then more swimmers from that community may say, "hey, even though English Channel and Catalina Channel aren't part of our circuit and won't garner us money, it will still give us more attention and why not finish a triple with just two more swims?!?" (Think Trent G). When organizing C3, part of the long-term vision was to create a new offering for our community and the other part was to open up this dormant swim a few islands to the north, that being the Absecon "Around the Island" Swim which was and still is dubbed "The World's Toughest Open Water Race" because of the varying conditions (READ: http://www.nytimes.com/1997/07/27/nyregion/around-absecon.html). Of the swims that Gracie mentioned, to be on a level playing field, Rottnest would be the only channel type, open ocean swim to maybe consider as part of the triple and Circumnavigations, as many of you know, are a totally different entity in themselves...ones that present unique challenges and obstacles namely counter currents (which obviously you can still encounter on cross channel swims too i.e. off the coast of CA or France). Like MIMS, Absecon would implement cutoffs because lets face it, if you are going against the outflow of a river or a bay, not even the fastest swimmers from the Olympics could counter those! Bringing a FINA swim requires a large undertaking including at least a year of planning, have a strong board/committee, and most importantly raising the capital for athlete payoff, FINA monies, etc. (something to the tune of at least $20,000 but that figure may be low). This would be a win win for Atlantic City too because they need events to bring back the notoriety and the motto "America's Favorite Playground" as more casinos are popping up everyday all over the country...only recently is Miss America Pageant being brought back from Vegas (Another great swim is the Pageant Swim and America's Oldest Continuous Race...America's oldest race still belongs to @gregoc and the Boston Light). This is just my thought process and I would love to talk with anyone about organizing or helping to bring back this swim or another FINA Grand Prix caliper swim to the "states" that would bring more attention overall (the US is getting away from the historically popular sports of Boxing and Swimming because they are not "spectator sports").
  • If I understand this question; What event should be used as a "World Champion" designator now that the de facto MIMS is no more? I (having no swimming cred to back this opinion up) offer this.

    If we look at many sports, the "Championship game(s)" travel. The America's Cup sailing location is chosen by the last winner (IIRC). The Superbowl (American football) is preselected (based on the package offered by the host city. The Olympics. The World Cup of everybody else's Football. The World Series of Baseball is determined by the home stadiums of the two competing teams. Pretty much the only sports that are static are Auto Racing, Golf, Tennis, Horse racing and le Tour d France. (Now, I'm not a guy who understands watching sports in the first place, but those are pretty much the LAST things I'm going to spend my Sunday watching on the teevee. At least with the Horse racing, it's over in minutes!)

    Point here being that, while I do agree that there ought to be a "Championship Race" if only for the little boy and or girl to dream of while floating up and down, above that dreary pool lane line! Just like we did when we played catch (of whatever they call it in soccer) against the side of the house for hours on end, dreaming of the 9th inning of the 7th game of the World Series!

    The question is prize money. How much prize money will it take to make the event? Is it $100,000? $1,000,000? Is it $10,000 with an endorsement contract? What will it take for ESPN to show up? (Did they cover MIMS? If not, would they underwrite MIMS for an exclusive?)

    If I understand it correctly, MIMS was (I won't call it "ours" because I have no claim to being one of "us") your unofficial "World Championship Race." If you want there to be a replacement, don't make the same mistake twice. The next time it HAS to be The Official World Championship OWS Race.

    I like the idea of 8 Bridges being TOWCOWSR (Tow Cow for "short") for a couple of reasons.
    1. Multiday means that there can be strategy involved.
    2. Multiday builds excitement.
    3. Each stage begins and ends at (or near) a River City (except Bear Mountain) that could help finance the (not that I'm trying to critique the current protocol)
    4. I'm advocating for the "home team"
    1. It's all "Down hill" (assuming the tides are timed)
    2. It's not "Across" (far as I know).

    As to the very valid point that with MIMS there is an equality based upon its consistency and that everyone racing there knows what they are facing. If the future site of the Tow Cow were announced say 4 years in advance then swimmers would all have the opportunity to race in that locale (did I mention that there would be at least annual races in those locales?) so they'd be familiar.
  • gregocgregoc Charter Member
    We're getting a little off topic here.

    The question was what amateur (non-FINA) marathon open-water swim race will replace MIMS?

    Let us not forget that Tampa Bay is still around and hopefully not going away.

    Please leave the word "world" out of it because that causes @Niek to go ballistic (mostly when Americans use it).

  • @JC, You know my feelings on Absecon and I agree that there is an opportunity there. About making it a FINA Pro Grand Prix style race but still including armatures....it is cool but still doesn't satisfy the void. What makes MIMS unique is that it is an ALL Things being equal, Channel Rules marathon race that attracts a a diverse field from around the world. Making it FINA Grand Prix style would be introducing things like tech suits etc that start to change the dynamic of the swim. We all pay to do MIMS (some of us twice), the money isn't the biggest draw but that will attract a healthy group of Pro's. There are several Pro's that have done MIMS, but that isn't what makes it special.

    @Niek, I am choosing to ignore your rude comment on Americans. You are entitled to your opinion but I am just putting it out there that the winner is touted not only as the fastest that day but in a Channel Rules observing community...even if they are not actually the "fastest"...it doesn't matter because that is the only "race" of it's kind that gets a field from around the world, that is tested equally. Just posing the question what it's replacement will be; not trying to debate your opinion on Championship swimming.

    Stage racing is an amazing experience. I love it! 8 Bridges is also to this day has made a greater impact on my life than anything I have ever done. Racing Rondi 120miles down the Hudson was a privilege but the relationships gained with her and everyone involved were even better. Like @evmo says about his experience at MIMS, the opportunity to not only race but to cement those types of relationships is awesome. From a logistical stand point I don't know but Stage 7 through the city is EPIC and is part of the MIMS course and is long enough, that is why I suggested it.
  • Thanks @gregoc
  • loneswimmerloneswimmer IrelandCharter Member
    From over here, (and aware of my criticisms of NYCSwim and MIMS in 2013), I have to say I'd hate to see the end of it also. @SuzieDods and I have remained firm friends based on a single 5 minute chat. I met @foreverswim, @David_Barra, @malinaka, Tina Neill, Forrest Nelson and more and got most of them into my little autograph book.

    I loved my one attendance in 2012, it was one of thebest swim related trips my partner & I have taken.

    Just wondering, but would there be any possibility of a group of previous participants, forum members, CIBBOWS and other personnel getting together to continue hosting MIMS in its current format on a voluntary basis? Why would be needed, and could we get it done?


  • SpacemanspiffSpacemanspiff Dallas, TexasSenior Member
    Maybe I missed something. Everyone seems to be speaking of MIMS in the past tense. MIMS isn't going away, is it? I thought the announcement from NYC Swim was to cut back on everything else, except MIMS, right? Sort of making MIMS more of a priority.

    "Lights go out and I can't be saved
    Tides that I tried to swim against
    Have brought be down upon my knees
    Oh I beg, I beg and plead..."

  • gregocgregoc Charter Member
    @Spacemanspiff, as I understand it, the race format is being dropped in favor of individual solo swims.
  • evmoevmo SydneyAdmin
    Niek wrote:
    I'm rude?
    Yes. And also off-topic. Further off-topic comments will be deleted. Thanks.
  • suziedodssuziedods Mem​ber
    edited May 2014
    My mom asked the question last night at dinner...something along the lines of what Grace ( HI GRACE!!!) asked. It went something like' is there an event where swimmers from all over the world can come together to swim together? My initial response was "The Olympics" but she said, no.. not racing. What came to mind was SCAR,and my little 24 hr relay. I think SCAR has an actual winner, but the relay purposefully did not. It was an attempt to help bring swimmers together( albeit in rather trying conditions). Dover also comes to mind. Perhaps Neds (infamous) Camp?
    Will these replace MIMS? I doubt it but certainly it speaks to an opportunity to PROVIDE a venue to cement and create stronger bonds amongst us.( 8 Bridges as well, as it's over week long, opportunity to kayak and eat together) Perhaps an island to island event in oh.. Greece? Sweden? @Sylle?
  • loneswimmerloneswimmer IrelandCharter Member
    @Niek, I deleted that comment three times. As @evmo said, off-topic to say the least.


  • edited May 2014
    Just wondering, but would there be any possibility of a group of previous participants, forum members, CIBBOWS and other personnel getting together to continue hosting MIMS in its current format on a voluntary basis? Why would be needed, and could we get it done?
    I wondered the same thing. My guess is the logistics of this race, including permits and handling all sorts of different authorities and NYC governmental agencies is a Herculean task but as a local I think it would be a real shame to lose the race. It is the first OWS event I ever heard of and became a goal ever since I saw a local news report in the early '80s. I would be happy to volunteer to help if there is a group of experienced swimmers and swim organizers interested in keeping MIMS afloat.
  • SalishSeaSalishSea Nanaimo, BC CanadaMember
    Having never done a channel swim I maybe a bit out to lunch on this..but could one not organize a race across one of the channels. A busy shipping channel would not be the best idea but there have to be others that are just as challenging. Yes logistics would be more difficult then a solo crossing but if you had 10-20 swimmers starting at the same time and having the same end point would it be do-able? It might even be a bit cheaper for the swimmers (group rates etc.).

    Now the Race Director inside me is getting interested.....
  • KNicholasKNicholas ArizonaCharter Member
    edited May 2014
    If MIMS goes to a solo format, it would be a difficult decision and I would find it very sad as well. MIMS, in it's current race format, simply can't be replaced. It has a rich and storied history, a very unique environment, limited availability to qualify and international respect. For those that raced it with 35+ competitors in years past, it was a remarkable and memorable experience. The swim was fantastic and meeting other swimmers (for me) was even better. I agree that cementing the bonds between swimmers at an event has tremendous value - they may end up crewing for your next channel swim. Getting to know people digitally, as we do here, is fine but the experience is enhanced in person. MIMS was more than getting to know people, it was a race with an interesting and diverse field of accomplished swimmers - that's the catch that I believe Grace refers to.

    There will be other swims that attempt to mimic what MIMS, in it's race format, accomplished: a long race (excess of 7 - 8 hours), firm rules that mimic respected channel swims, a select but small group of international amateur channel swimmers shoulder to shoulder with less experienced but dedicated open water swimmers and an incredible environment.

    Can it be duplicated? Not in my mind. Can it be replaced? Most likely not. Will there be suitable options in the future? No question. Just ask David, Phil, Ron, Ned, Steve, Suzie, Greg . . . the list goes on.
  • I have to say I'm not sure I'm understanding. The NYC Swim website lists 3 different 2014 MIMS with slots for 25 swimmers per.

    2015 -2018 are slated for June starts only.

    Is this a one/off year as NYC finishes recovering from Sandy?
  • IronMikeIronMike Northern VirginiaCharter Member
    Not on topic, but I think we need to return to the golden age of marathon swimming. More EC races. La Tuque 24-hour races.

    I will now go find a thread on this already started or start my own. Back to what the OP asked! I think the answer is Tampa. But I might not have understood the question.

    We're all just carbon, water, starlight, oxygen and dreams

  • david_barradavid_barra NYCharter Member
    Hi Gracie,
    Good questions. I'm not sure what format MIMS will take in the future. I assume it will have a lot to do with how the MIMSes go this year. Ultimately, dividing the field up by speed is a benefit for a) those who want to race; and b) those at the lower end of the speed limit for making it through Hellgate.
    It is indeed a blow to the social lure of the event as Donal mentioned, and for many of the local supporters of the event, having to choose which date to volunteer for is bittersweet.

    I think, for the incredible social opportunity alone, multiple stage swims like SCAR and 8 Bridges can't be beat.

    ...anything worth doing is worth overdoing.

  • ZoeSadlerZoeSadler Charter Member
    There are also some great events over here in the UK which are open to all and follow strict marathon swimming rules. These events also have a great social atmosphere but don't seem to have many from overseas attending. Just thought I would mention these ones because they would seem to fit the requirement for a long distance competition of non-professional marathon swimmers.

    BLDSA Windermere 10.5 miles (around 30-40 swimmers)
    BLDSA 2 way Windermere 21 miles
    BLDSA Loch Lomond 22 miles

    These are all races held in still water, so there is no tidal assistance but the swims can have strong headwinds and chop. A race of Loch Lomond would surely sort the sheep from the goats! Water temp will be around 14C, the race starts at 8pm in the evening so swimmers have to swim through the night. Swimwear rules are traditional, i.e. budgie smugglers for men and standard swimsuits for ladies. They are the "purest" events that I have ever taken part in, pretty much man/woman versus the water. Plus the swims are really cheap!

    I love the idea of the EC races, but I don't think it would be possible to obtain permission from the relevant maritime authorities nowadays.
  • SwimSydneySwimSydney SydneyMember
    I'd add Lake Zurich to that list. It's really well run, has a fantastic atmosphere and is a great opportunity to meet swimmers from around the world. I swam there in 2008 and then met some of the same people again in Dover in 2010 and we still keep in touch online today.
    I'm heading to Windermere for this year's (one-way) race, so I look forward to the social atmosphere @ZoeSadler!
  • IronMikeIronMike Northern VirginiaCharter Member
    @SwimSydney, is that the Sri Chinmoy swim?

    We're all just carbon, water, starlight, oxygen and dreams

  • molly1205molly1205 Lincoln, NebraskaSenior Member
    We obviously need a global marathon swim hosted in my hometown, Lincoln, NE. While it's not the center of the universe, it is the center of the US and has abominable conditions any time of year. We have a big, empty house with guest rooms and 3 acres of land for camping. I'll see if @suziedods will help me with logistics. There's a large lake just a 40 min drive that is either frozen solid, freezing cold or a big hot mess. And a bunch of people in kayaks for support, as long as you don't mind them fishing for crappe and bluegill while you swim.

    Molly Nance, Lincoln, Nebraska

  • SwimSydneySwimSydney SydneyMember
    @ironmike. That's the one. It's held in the first weekend of August I think. Great scenery, great organisers and some wonderful volunteers who crew the support boats. By far the most well-organised swim I've done.
  • The short answer is...nothing replaces MIMS! But SCAR comes close as a multi-day tribal gathering (with a little swimming thrown in! - and matches MIMS in a whole different way for scenery), Tampa - sorry, not even close, folks - and other than DN, nothing creates the controversy of a good MIMS event (and frankly, boys and girls, this is a group and a sport that thrives on its controversies!). Lake Zurich is a great swim, but it does not have the excitement and variation of going through 3-4 different rivers that MIMS has. * Bridges - amazing, but as a stage swim it has a completely different rhythym.

    MIMS as it's been recently is not going to happen again for a while because there is simply no way to put together enough competent boaters on a single day to handle 30-40 swimmers in New York's complex waterways. Frankly, that's been a struggle for all of the MIMS events, as well as the all of the Ederles, and any other mass NYC swim. Hats off to Morty for putting ALL of these events together and generating a thriving OWS scene in NY all these years!

    So it will have to devolve to a new format for a while, until the local boating community recovers from Sandy.But I imagine that sometime in the future, someone will revive it because it's been an amazing experience, and because the demand is through the roof...in the meantime there are so many great events springing up locally, nationally and worldwide that I don't think we'll klack for interesting and exciting swims, solo and community, in the next few years.
  • Kevin_in_MDKevin_in_MD Senior Member

    Marathon Distance, single start race.
  • CliffCliff Member
    edited June 2014
    What would it take to have an annual race across the Catalina Channel that honors the spirit of the "Wrigley Ocean Marathon" of 1927? Bet you could get a small army of volunteers for that one every year! How 'bout it, CCSF and SBCSA? :)

  • IronMikeIronMike Northern VirginiaCharter Member
    edited June 2014
    @Cliff, exactly what I was asking in my thread:
    Based on the lack of responses, seems only you and I are interested in these types of races. :(

    We're all just carbon, water, starlight, oxygen and dreams

  • CliffCliff Member
    edited June 2014
    What would it cost to plan and run such an event... 100k? More? If every MSF member kicked in a minimum of $25 or more annually, and that money was set aside for only that purpose, and then you charge an entry fee similar to NYCSWIM (maybe less, hopefully not more), you might be able to pull off a Wrigley-style event within a couple of years, perhaps beginning on a bi-annual basis. You could go from Catalina to Terranea or Cabrillo. You could even do something like Port Hueneme to Anacapa. Wouldn't that be something?
  • evmoevmo SydneyAdmin
    edited June 2014
    A modern-day Wrigley Ocean Marathon...

    Yes it could be done - and indeed a few of us on the SBCSA Board have occasionally batted around the idea.

    But basically, you'd need someone to be a full time (paid) race-director for probably at least a full year. And that would probably require obtaining corporate sponsorship
  • suziedodssuziedods Mem​ber
    edited June 2014
    every MSF member pay $25? WT?
    At SERC we say "IN" when we are doing an event.
    Count me OUT for paying to be an MSF member putting on an event.
    Happy to help put on an event ( I cut my baby teeth on the 24 Hr Relay) but no way am I paying to run an event.
  • CliffCliff Member
    corporate sponsorship

    Starting with Wrigley, a subsidiary of Mars, Inc. since 2008.
  • evmoevmo SydneyAdmin
    edited June 2014
    suziedods wrote:
    At SERC we say "IN" when we are doing an event.
    Count me OUT for paying to be an MSF member putting on an event.
    Annual SERC membership $400 or so. Additional fee for each club swim, eg, Bay to Breakers this weekend is $130.

    I love the idea of a modern day Wrigley Ocean Marathon, but clearly there would be a boatload of $$$ involved in any such undertaking. Not sure how high it ranks among the various priorities (personally I'd like to see a scholarship fund), but if it ever came to pass, corporate sponsorship seems the more likely route.
  • loneswimmerloneswimmer IrelandCharter Member
    edited June 2014
    Dear Swimmers,

    Based on the volume of rainfall between 9AM-11AM this morning and 6PM-8PM this evening, the water quality should now be considered compromised. The rain volume is much lower than last year, but it is now compromised.

    We will still hold the swim tomorrow; however, if you are uneasy about swimming and wish to withdraw please let us know now so we can cancel your motorboat and give you back a refund for that portion of your entry form.

    If you do decide to go forward with your swim tomorrow, please consult with your physician regarding any antibiotic regime they may suggest.

    If you decide not to swim, please let us know by 10 PM tonight so we can make arrangements with your boaters and other support personnel.

    Thank you,

    NYC Swim

    Emphasis mine. Best of luck to those people who are swimming today, (who won't be reading this). Have a great time!


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