The Possibly Annual Hawaiian Looong Distance Invitational Rough-H2O Swim
The Waikiki Roughwater Swim Committee is formally cancelling the 2020 edition of the Looong Distance Invitational Rough-H2O Swim aka the Double Roughwater. This decision is based on the current restrictions on social gatherings and group events in the City & County of Honolulu, the likelihood of a continuing travel restrictions both to and within the State of Hawaii, and the desire of the committee to encourage safety within the athletic community. New Race Director and President of the Ala Moana Beach Swim Club, Ryan Leong, promises that the 2021 race will be “bigger and better”. He notes that even though there is no racing this year, “all swimmers should keep training for next season”. The Committee encourages Hawaii residents to continue to take advantage of the open water swimming opportunities available around and between the islands. For our friends on the mainland, we can only say, we hope to see you soon and we wish you were here!!
The 2021 Looong Distance Invitational Rough-H2O is tentatively set for Saturday October 16, 2021.
The 2021 Waikiki Roughwater will be held on Monday September 6, 2021.
Stay fit, healthy and safe so that we can see you at the start line in 2021.
The Possibly Annual Looong Distance Swim was first held in 1980 and has been held every year thereafter but two, thus living up to its name Possibly Annual. At the time the 7 km distance was considered a long distance event and it fit nicely within the boundaries of the Waikiki Bay. Had the Olympic 10K open water movement been active at that time the distance most likely would have been longer. While this is listed as a 7K course that is only for the exceptional swimmer who swims in a straight line. Real world distance can be substantially greater than 7K depending upon conditions and navigational ability. Navigation is a skill that plays an important role in this race.
The Looong Distance Swim is an open ocean event in the Pacific Ocean with an out and back course, starting and ending on the same beach. We have been accused of having a course that doesn’t go anywhere since the start and finish are the same. It may be the only real equal opportunity event in that half the course is with the current and the other half against.
We stress that when one swims in this event you are not close to shore and you are truly communing with Mother Nature who can be very unforgiving. It is not for the casual swimmer. Safety is a major concern, such that each swimmer is required to have an escort on a surfboard, kayak or other similar water craft. NO boats or propellers are allowed. We do extend a courtesy to swimmers who come from out of state and will supply an escort, if needed. There are jet skis with skilled rescue personnel that patrol the course.
Speaking of Escorts -- It is important the swimmer choose an escort that is knowledgeable and physically fit. A swimmer may be disqualified if they get separated from their escort. History has shown there have been far more problems with escorts than swimmers. Your girlfriend / boyfriend / relative / buddy who says “no sweat” may find themselves in unfamiliar waters and conditions which can be a disaster waiting to happen. Mother Nature has had great fun making it harder on windy days for the escort than the swimmer.
This event has been sponsored by USMS and USA Swimming in the past. In 1991 and 1992 we added a second course for and the USS National 10K Championships which were conducted under the direction of race director Jim Anderson. In 2006 the Looong Distance Swim was a qualifying event for entry to the US Olympic 10K Open Water Trials. We are a low key operation but we do mirror FINA open water standards and have reasonable swimsuit standards. We have used the USMS suit guidelines in the past. Floatation is not an attribute that we encourage. Your are limited to suit, cap and goggles. Fashion is for after the event. The water temperature in Hawaii is somewhat warmer than the Gulf of Alaska and the need for a wet / fully body suit is not necessary.
There are Male / Female age divisions -- 24 and under, 25 – 29, and five year increments thereafter forever. If you are 105 and can qualify and finish there will be a category for you.
The “Invitational” aspect of the event is not to limit it to superstars but to gain an understanding of the swimmers ability. This event is not for the weekend swimmer. Our objective is to have a good time, meet some new people and get in a fun workout. Having to account for, or rescue overextended swimmers (or escorts), is not what we consider a good time. Those who are not in good shape will wish they were. There is a cutoff of four hours for the swimmer to be an official finisher.
At approximately 12:00 pm/noon once everyone is in, or accounted for, we gather for a sumptuous meal, some social time and the awards ceremony. After which many have been known to take a nap.
Jim Anderson, the founder, event organizer and director of the Looong Distance Swim from 1980 thru 2015, was inducted into the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame in 2014. In 2015, after some 35 plus years of being solely responsible for the management of this event, he decided to retire from the organization business and entrusted the operation of the event to the Waikiki Roughwater Swim Committee, Inc., the same organization that hosts the Waikiki Roughwater Swim held annually on Labor Day.
Aloha and Good Swimming