Ocean swimming... and The Memory Pool

Therese Spruhan must be one of Australia's experts on the cultural impact of the swimming pool. Her recent book, The Memory Pool, is a fabulous nostalgic anthology bringing together reflections on the childhood swimming pools of 28 Australians including Trent Dalton, Leah Purcell, Shane Gould, Bryan Brown and Merrick Watts. You can taste the hot chips, smell the chlorine and feel the burning concrete. For many kids, the local pool is a place of imagination, freedom, friendship and...


Ocean swimming... the oceans seven

Dean Summers has conquered the triple Crown of open water swimming and as I type this, is waiting for his chance to swim the Cook Strait between the North and South Islands of New Zealand, part of his attack on the Oceans seven. Only 18 people have completed this astonishing series of seven incredible channel and strait swims around the world, and Dean is five in. He has swum The English Channel, Catalina Strait, The North Channel, Moloka’i Channel The Strait of Gibraltar. He plans to...


Ocean swimming... and extreme endurance

Tim Garrett is an extraordinary athlete. Not content with swimming some of the world's most famous and gruelling waterways, Tim tags on runs and rides of hundreds of kilometers to his swims. For instance, Tim has completed the Arc2Arch: He is one of only two people to have completed the Arc2Arch and Uberman, an event in which you swim from 21 miles from Catalina Island to Los Angeles (a major event in itself!), cycle 400 miles to Badwater basin, the lowest point in North America, and then...


Ocean swimming... with the wild swimming brothers

Wild swimming is something of a cousin to ocean swimming. Or is ocean swimming a subset of wild swimming? Either way, wild swimming is huge across the world, and particularly in the UK and Europe. It's also often stunningly beautiful - search #wildswimming on instagram and you'll see what I mean. Calum Hudson is the middle brother of The Wild Swimming Brothers, triathlete,Ice swimmer, author, nature love, swimming advocate and wild swimmer. He has swum the world's most powerful...


Ocean swimming... and wave power

Dr. Mark Hemer is a Principal Research Scientist leading the Sea-Level, Waves and Coastal Extremes team within CSIRO's Ocean and Atmosphere Climate Science Centre. Mark has researched offshore renewable energy for the past 10 years, exploring the potential of Australia's renewable offshore resources. We chatted about offshore energy, and among many things, whether you can swim around wave farms. Songs in this episode - all licensed under a Creative Commons License: ShyinkaChuckeeChris...


Ocean swimming... and tsunamis

What is the likelihood of a tsunami hitting your favourite beach? Dr. Hannah Power, from University of Newcastle's School of Environmental and Life Sciences, conducts research on ocean waves, and recently published on the likelihood and consequences of a tsunami hitting Sydney Harbour. She has also developed the risk forecast for the Figure Eight Pool in Sydney's Royal National Park. This forecast examines the likelihood of being struck by large waves on your journey across the rock...


Ocean swimming... in poo

Have you ever had the visibility in a swim drop to a few centimeters? Has it ever gone a bit brown? Perhaps you've ended up swimming through sewage! This happened to Dr. Ian Wright in the 90s, and is likely to have happened to any ocean swimmer who was swimming off the coast of Sydney in that period. Ian is a keen ocean swimmer and a senior lecturer in the School of Science and Health at Western Sydney University, whose research interests include freshwater ecology, water chemistry and...


Ocean swimming... with whales (part 2)

Scott Portelli is an acclaimed wildlife and underwater photographer, and has swum with whales and other magnificent creatures of the deep in some of the world's most exotic locations, like Antarctica, Tonga, the Falkland Islands and Norway. Among many other awards, Scott was awarded Wildlife Photographer of the Year in 2016, and he runs tours that you can join up with around the world to swim with whales. Songs in this episode - all licensed under a Creative Commons License: Ulrik...


Ocean swimming... with whales (part 1)

During winter, you're probably familiar with human snot, but are you familiar with whale snot? Dr. Vanessa Pirotta is! Vanessa is a marine biologist, naturalist and science communicator, and has been collecting snot from whale spouts using bespoke drones in order to understand whale health. She's collected viruses, bacteria and DNA from the snot, in a much less invasive way than other methods. She's also run whale watching tours, swum with whales in Tonga and observed them in...


Ocean swimming... and the box jellyfish antidote

Last time we talked about stingers, we learnt some valuable insights - don't wee on them! Turns out, there may be some better solutions on the horizon. Associate Professor Greg Neely, from the School of Life and Environmental Sciences at the University of Sydney, has discovered an antidote to the sting of the most venomous creature on Earth - the Australian box jellyfish. Greg's antidote, discovered using CRISPR genome editing technology, blocks the symptoms within 15 minutes, and...


Ocean swimming... and oceanswims.com

Whether you are an experienced or aspiring ocean swimmer, if you are in Australia or New Zealand, you will visit oceanswims.com. Oceanswims.com handles the entries for the majority of organised swims in this part of the world, as well as being home to commentary, photos, witty banter, results and competitions. Paul Ellercamp and Suanne Hunt are the ocean swimming doyens who run oceanswims.com and Ocean Swim Safaris, and we talked rather pleasantly over tea and macaroons about all things...


Ocean swimming... and sand

Dr Gary Greenberg is a scientist, author, teacher and photographer who combines his passion for art and science by exploring the hidden small-scale dimensions of nature. Gary has invented multiple high-definition, three-dimensional light microscopes (for which he has multiple US patents) and nowadays focuses his microscopes on common objects, such as grains of sand, flowers, and food. He's looked at sand from all round the Earth, but the funkiest sand he has examined is from the Moon. He's...


Ocean swimming... and ocean pools

Ocean pools are a delight. I love swimming in them, and they are also quite often simply beautiful places to be. Dr. Marie-Louise McDermott has written a PhD on ocean pools (Wet, wild and convivial: past, present and future contributions of Australia’s ocean pools to surf, beach, pool and body cultures and recreational coasts) and runs a fantastic website dedicated to ocean pools, All into ocean pools inc. I had a wonderful chat with Marie-Louise about her love of ocean pools, why...


Ocean swimming... and swimming caps

Swimming caps are a large source of ocean swimming waste. Often only once used, destined for land-fill or the ocean itself, events have not got a handle on to how to appropriately use them. And despite popular belief, they do not break down in the environment in any useful timeframe. They are important facets of ocean swimming safety so that swimmers can be seen in the water and in their racing waves, but at the end of each season, even mediocre swimmers like myself end up with a bag full...


Ocean swimming... with jellyfish

Things that can sting you are part of every ocean swimming experience, not matter where you are in the world. Associate Professor Jamie Seymour, Director of the Tropical Australian Stinger Research Unit at James Cook University, studies venomous animals and has a particular interest in decreasing the envenomings of humans by jellyfish. He has some personal experience in this area too - he has been stung by Irukandji 11 times! He is a world leader in the studies of the ecology and biology...


Ocean swimming... in rips

Rips claim an order of magnitude more lives than shark attacks in Australia, and are arguably the most dangerous facet of going to the beach. Associate Professor Rob Brander, also known as Dr Rip, is a coastal geomorphologist who studies morphodynamics (hydrodynamics, sediment transport, morphology) of coastal systems, with a particular interest in rips and the safety of beachgoers. He runs a beach education program called Science of the Surf, and one of the cool things he does is publish...


Ocean swimming... with shark nets

Shark nets are fairly common across popular Australian tourist beaches, but beyond giving swimmers a perception that they are being protected from sharks, do they actually work? Jordan Sosnowski is the Advocacy Director for Action for Dolphins, a group that aims to stop cruelty to, and gain legal protection for, small cetaceans (dolphins and other small whales). We chatted about how shark nets probably don't work to keep sharks and swimmers apart, that shark nets have an incredible toll...


Ocean swimming... in ice

Ram Barkai is the founder of the International Ice Swimming Association - they are all about swimming in water less than 5 degrees Celcius. Ram has swum many of the world's toughest swims, including in Antarctica, and holds multiple world records. The IISA introduced the Ice Mile as its signature achievement; the Ice Mile is one mile in water of 5C or less. The swim must be unassisted and only a pair of goggles, a cap and a standard swimming costume can be worn. In 2014, the IISA...


Ocean swimming... the English Channel

Sally Catt is an ocean swimmer who this year is tackling the English Channel. She is raising money for Save The Box, a campaign to raise awareness and fundraising for gynaecological cancer research, as part of the Australia New Zealand Gynaecological Oncology Group (ANZGOG). I chatted to Sally about her journey to this point and what it takes to swim that far (>30 km) including long distance training, cold water acclimatization, going to the toilet while you're swimming, diet, travel...


Ocean swimming... training

Andre Slade runs OceanFit, which is an open water swim school run at Bondi Beach. Andre has been involved in ocean swimming for a long time, and knows a thing or two about ocean swimming training, tactics and skills. He's also started a surf life saving magazine and written surf life saving policy. Songs in this episode - all licensed under a Creative Commons License SIRPRICEBensoundS StrongTobu