Scotland to host Global Open Water Swimming Conference

Mount Stuart on the Isle of Bute to host 500 of the world’s leading open water swimming athletes and practitioners for a two day conference in September 2014.

Mount Stuart House, Bute
Mount Stuart House, Bute

500 of the world’s leading figures in the sport of open water swimming will descend on the Isle of Bute, on Scotland’s west coast, this summer for the 2014 WOWSA Global Open Water Swimming Conference being staged at the stunning neo-gothic mansion of Mount Stuart.

The two day conference, from 20 to 21 September 2014, includes a series of talks from internationally recognised speakers, a 2k open water swim in St Ninian’s Bay, a hall of fame induction ceremony and an awards lunch.

The sport of open water swimming encompasses many disciplines. These include extreme ice swimming, winter swimming, cold water swimming, open water swimming and wild swimming. Open water swimmers are arguably some of the bravest and the most mentally strong endurance athletes in the sporting arena, having to conquer extreme distances, often solo, in low to freezing temperatures and in fast tidal waters; for which Scotland is the perfect stage.

Colleen Blair, from Aberfeldy, who was the first woman to swim The Pentland Firth, the stretch of water between Orkney and the Scottish mainland, well known for its extreme tidal currents of up to 11mph, will be speaking about her exploits. She will be joined by ‘Mad’ Adam Walker, from Nottinghamshire, who is about to become the first British man to complete the Oceans Seven challenge, the 7 hardest ocean swims in the world; and the marathon swimmer Kevin Murphy who holds the male record for English Channel swims – 34 including three double crossings. Extreme endurance adventurer Sean Conway, the first and only man in history to swim the length of Britain from Land’s End to John O’Groats across 900 miles, will also be in attendance.

These incredible athletes are just a few of the many extraordinary people involved in the sport who will travel to Bute from the Americas, Asia, Africa, Oceania, Europe and throughout the UK to not only share their passion for open water swimming, but also to become better informed of the latest in best practice and celebrate the sport’s finest practitioners.

Robert Hamilton of Vigour Events, organisers of the 2014 conference, announced today, (17 April 2014), that the prestigious World Open Water Swimming Association event, devoted to the vast and growing world of open water swimming, comes to Scotland for the first time; having been hosted previously in the USA and Ireland (2010 – 2013).

Robert Hamilton said: ”It is a great honour to represent the world of open water swimming in Scotland for The Global Open Water Conference in September. I’m looking forward to meeting the extreme open water swimmers from around the World in the exotic location of the Isle of Bute. We welcome everyone to Scotland for this fantastic event in 2014.”

The attendees will include open water swimmers, leading coaches, race directors and officials. They will use the conference to share and learn the latest trends, race tactics, training techniques, equipment, psychological preparation, race organisation, logistics, operations and safety practices used in the sports of open water swimming (, marathon swimming (, riathlons ( and other endurance events.

Vigour Events have put together an action packed conference programme that starts in earnest on the 18 September with a two day whistle stop tour of Scotland with some of the world’s best open water swimming thrown in.

From the 20 to 21 September when the conference moves to the Isle of Bute there will be a series of informative and engaging speeches from high profile speakers who will cover every aspect of the sport. These will include English Channel swimmers, ice swimmers, record holders, leading coaches, world champions, professional marathon swimmers, renowned race directors, officials and administrators.

On 20 September The WOWSA Awards lunch will reward the world’s best open water swimmers. There will be special awards for

  • the World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year,
  • the World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year,
  • the World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year, and
  • the World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year.

Special Lifetime Achievement Awards may also be presented.

This will be followed by the International Marathon Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony and dinner where coaches and a diverse range of people involved in the field will be honoured.

One of the highlights of the 2014 conference will be the closing event, the 2K Open Water Swim in the crystal clear blue waters of St Ninians Bay, something Bute and Scotland is renowned for.

For more information on the 2014 WOWSA Global Open Water Swimming Conference at Mount Stuart on the Isle of Bute from 20 to 21 September and to book your place go to: