Monday, June 26, 2017

About the Global Swim Series

Goals

Here at the Global Swim Series we’re all lifelong swimmers and crazy about open water swimming. Our aim is to grow the sport of open water swimming by building a worldwide series that connects swimmers from around the globe by creating a competitive and fun environment. We want to encourage participation as much as ability. Life, after all, is a participation sport! We allow swimmers to gain exposure to open water races, each with their own unique venue and environment, while still competing against other swimmers across the globe.

History

The Global Swim Series started as an idea put together by a few local race directors in Ontario, Canada that we could create something bigger than just our own local race. We wanted a way to connect swimmers from other races and give them a fun way to compete against one another. Founded in 2014, the Global Swim Series had its inaugural season known as the Canadian Open Water Swim Series and had 12 races spread across Canada from Halifax to Vancouver. The first season had over 2,000 participants with a breadth of experience from former Olympians, nationally ranked club swimmers, NCAA and CIS athletes, marathon swimmers, Ironman triathletes, but also welcomed the majority of participants without any auspicious credentials and encouraged those new to the sport of Open Water Swimming to join the fun. Our unique balance of competition and participation encouraged all those enthusiastic about the sport to come out and get into the competition.

After an impressive first year in Canada, the decision was made to go global and thus the Global Swim Series was born. We had our first full year starting in May 2015 and the series was a resounding success in a variety of areas around the globe. We experience tremendous growth and enthusiasm and saw the series grow to 37 races in 20 countries!

Now looking ahead to the future we aim to expand to brand new areas as well as enhance the GSS experience for our growing number of dedicated swimmers in existing ones!

The GSS Executive Team

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Rob Kent - President

During his own swimming career Rob was a 100m breast-stroke specialist, including a silver medal at the 1986 Canadian National Championship and racing at the 1988 Olympic Trials.  He then took a 17 year hiatus from the sport, but got into marathon and ultra marathon running and eventually Ironman triathlons.  Triathlon is what brought Rob back into swimming and in 2006 he jumped in and decided to swim the English Channel.  Although his attempt was not successful, he did enjoy training in Lake Ontario in Oakville, Canada.  At the time no one swam in Lake Ontario but Rob continued to train and gained a small following.  A drip turned into a torrent and soon the “Lake Ontario Swim Team” or L.O.S.T. Swimming was founded, along with one of the founding races in the GSS: The LOST Race.  Today, LOST Swimming is one of the largest open water swim teams in the world, with over 200 members each year and 90+ swimmers out for the team swim on Saturdays.  LOST has a wide array of novice, recreational, Masters, Olympic and veteran marathon swimmers in the group.  Rob has gone on to swim the Manhattan Island Marathon Swim, Swim Around Key West, Tampa Bay Marathon Swim, Swim Across the Sound and his toughest marathon swim in 2012, a 42.2 km swim across Lake Ontario in 20:52 minutes.  Rob is a father of 3 accomplished swimmers (who are all faster than he is now!) and a husband to Joanne, a great swimmer, runner and triathlete (who he tries desperately to stay ahead of).  He is also a banking executive, entrepreneur and professor of international finance. Rob’s main goal is to encourage others to get involved in the great sport of open water swimming through LOST Swimming and the Global Swim Series and to have some fun and adventure along the way!
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Dylan Kent - Chief Operating Officer

The youngest member of the Global Swim Series executive team, Dylan brings a wealth of swimming experience and enthusiasm for the sport to the table.  Dylan has been a competitive swimmer for over 16 years and has swum at the Canadian national level in the pool & open water and competed at high level competitions across North America.   He has also held several club & race records as an open water swimmer.  Dylan swam for the top ranked club in Canada, the Oakville Aquatic Club, then attended the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) on an athletic and academic scholarship.  At UMBC he completed his BSc in Financial Economics.  Meanwhile Dylan was also a NCAA, Division I swimmer and was part of 3 America East Conference Championship winning teams and inducted into the National College Athlete Honor Society.  Dylan is an avid fan of swimming and brings a wide area of expertise to the table.  Through GSS Dylan is keen to help further grow participation and excitement around the sport of Open Water Swimming.
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Miguel Vadillo - Vice-President, Graphic Design & Media

Miguel swam competitively in Mexico up to and including the 1988 Olympic trials.  After the Trials he took up Modern Pentathlon, learning to ride horses, fence and pistol shoot.  In 1989 he made the Mexican Modern Pentathlon national team.  As a swimmer and pentathlete, he had the opportunity to compete in many international events including: the Central American Games, Pan American Championships, World Cup and World Championships.  While training as a pentathlete Miguel’s focus on running and swimming was paramount so triathlon races became his next sport and soon open water swimming as well.  Miguel became certified with the World Swimming Coaches Association in 1995 and arrived in Canada in 2004 as the Ontario Modern Pentathlon coach.  Within 2 years he had placed 3 girls on the Canadian Pentathlon National team.  In 2010 he finished a 52 km swim across Lake Ontario raising over $13,000 for Canadian Tire’s “Jumpstart” Program to help kids in financial need learn how to swim.  In 2014 he started a professional open water swimming and triathlon coaching company called “Embrace Open Water Swimming Inc.”, (EOWS) that offers open water swimming & triathlon opportunities, guidance, training and lessons to any level of athlete.  He now looks forward to helping the team to grow and develop the Global Swim Series around the world.

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