Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Australian Lifesavers Have It Under Control

Robert Kent of the Lake Ontario Swim Team in Canada brought us some open water swimming television news to us about Cronulla Beach in Australia: Sharks Close In On Swimming Race.

It certainly caused a bit of worry for those on shore, but the very capable and experienced Australian lifesavers had everything under control.

But, it is known that the nine different species of hammerhead sharks have disproportionately small mouths and reportedly do a lot of bottom-hunting (as opposed to man-hunting). The hammerheads are also known to form schools during the day, sometimes in groups in the hundreds. We have had the unique thrill to have personally swum around the island of Yonaguni Island, a small gorgeous tropical island between Taiwan and Okinawa, which is known as a hammerhead mecca.

While the hammerhead has an usual shape and is frequently purported by the media as a feared predator, according to the authoritative International Shark Attack File, the hammerhead shark has been attributed with a total of 41 recorded attacks since 1580 with no deaths (17 unprovoked attacks + 11 provoked attacks + 6 non-assigned + 7 boat attacks).

So as the female swimmer said to the television reporter in the news clip above, "I don't know, I think I still would have gone in," sounds like a reasonable, yet courageous, statement from a hardy Australian open water swimmer.

For those who wish to know more, the International Shark Attack File has an abundance of information on sharks and what swimmers can and should do in the open water.

Copyright © 2009 by World Open Water Swimming Association

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