Becca Mann Q&A – What makes open water swimming special

The excitement is building as we’re less than a month away from the 2014 USA Swimming Open Water nationals.  We’ve been checking in with several national team members to find out their thoughts on what makes open water swimming special.  This go a round we check in with Becca Mann who’s now a part of the amazing training crew at NBAC

1.  What differentiates an Open Water Nationals from pool nationals (aside from the fact that it’s open water)?

After an Open Water race, the story of what went on outweighs your place. Everyone wants to talk about their race and what they encountered.  I can go do an open water event with my competitors or with my family and it’s all the same. Everyone wants to talk about what happened during the race!

2.  Do you think there’s a different bond amongst open water swimmers?

Well, before an Open Water race, you can ask your competitors to make a drafting plan, etc (and they almost always agree), but when I asked Lotte if I could draft off of her in the 1500 at Charlotte, she said NO WAY.

3.  Do you think open water swimming is changing?  If so, in what ways?

I definitely think it’s getting more exposure, which the sport really needs.  With the exposure, it’s also getting more competitive. Overall I think Open Water is improving in some really cool ways.

4.  We all saw the prank Alex played on the group out at the Crippen Cup with the alligator head.  Do you have any other pranks you’ve seen or pulled in the open water?

I wish!  I’m thinking up some good pranks right now, so everyone better watch their backs….

5. What are some of the songs your pump up playlist?

Problem feat. Iggy Azalea, Do you Hear the People Sing?

5.  Racing 5K, 10K and 25K is intense.  How do you stay motivated between races?

It’s easy for me to stay motivated, just because I love doing it so much.  I look forward to each race and enjoy every moment, so I never have to worry about motivation.

6. Do you ever wish you were a sprinter?

No.  I don’t understand why anyone would want to do twenty second races when they could be swimming two hour races.

7. Who’s your favorite open water swimmer?

Karl Kawauchi.  He really helped support my passion for Open Water.  He was the oldest person to swim the Maui Channel when I was the youngest.  He found my boat driver when I swam the Maui Channel and he’s always been incredibly encouraging. He gave me the pin that he got from the Hawaii Swimming Hall of Fame when he was inducted.

8. What do you want people to know about open water swimming?

It’s not boring!  So many people wonder how I keep from getting bored, but the truth is that it’s a very focused and interesting race.  You have to constantly be aware of where you’re sitting while fending off blows and, of course, swimming.  And there’s also a change of scenery instead of staring at the black line.  There’s strategy and choices to be made while swimming, too.  It’s like swimming through a game of chess.

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About Mike Lewis

Mike Lewis

Mike Lewis is a freelance commercial, sport and lifestyle photographer based in San Diego.  Mike began making photos in the early 80’s and immersed himself in all aspects of the photographic arts.  Mike’s professional career in in photography began after 12 years working within the United States Olympic movement; he …

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