Jim Anderson

1988 - 1995 HISTORY

The Creative Era
Middle Era Ends
       In fairness to the late Fred Trask, one has to remember, Fred was in the wings and doing the very difficult job of replacing Swim Directors after each of them had to leave the helm .     

A Crisis of Command
        In 1987 Fred Trask recruits and replacements have come and gone. Who will run the Show? Fred may have recruited the next long-term Director: James K. Anderson
       Jim, a long distance swimmer, founder of the Double Roughwater, key member of Waikiki Swim Club, steps forward and settles in for 8 years of creative management.

Maximum Swim Achieved
     During Jim's tenure, in one of his yearly swims, some 1350 swimmers hit the water in one big beautiful swim.

New Swim Tech Age Begins   
     Jim initiates multiple initiatives in timing, insurance, incorporation, permitting and on and on...truly pioneering the modern age of major open water swimming. Terri Frank produced the first swim website during this period...followed by Mike Coyle for maintenance and improvements.

     Jim is very humble about himself, a true hero. If anyone including your good self, Jim, has info on this period...did you work, did you help, etc, etc please contact the Editor of this History: Jim 707 539 1894, rsa2@sonic.net.         We want to give credit those good souls who worked so hard.

Staged Starts Perfected
     As swim entries approached 1000, various staged starts were tried. Finally
having "waves" of a few hundred similar swimmers per each start group,
separated by 5 minutes proved to be the best solution. This added to the
flavor of the event as a "Community Swim". No more restrictions and confusion related to age groups/masters and gender. Just the safety and competitive enhancement of similar-speed swimmers swimming together.

In the words of the Press:
The optimum word is "possibly"

The Swim Title
It captures the capricious spirit of the possibly annual Hawaiian Christmas Looong Distance Invitational Rough-H20 Swim, an adventure intended to be taken seriously for serious fun.

This Year's Swim
Sunday's 4.33-mile (7-kilometer) race is scheduled to be held for the 32nd time in 33 years. The probability is close to 100 percent that the 42 entered swimmers will get the go-ahead to go from San Souci Beach to the outer Ala Wai Harbor channel buoy and return. For sure? The unpredictability of that matches the unpredictability of the conditions. It's Mother's Nature's playtime, where the water can change in a matter of strokes.

The Allure.
"You just never know what's going to happen that day," said Hawaii's Linda Kaiser, acknowledged as one of the pioneers of ocean swimming and one of two people to swim all nine of Hawaii's major channels. "One time, it took four hours to go down and a half-hour to come back.

In Case You Missed It, This Is:
32nd Possibly Annual Hawaiian Christmas Looong Distance Invitational Rough-H20 Swim
>> 8 a.m. Sunday, San Souci Beach to Ala Wai Harbor buoy and back n 4.33 miles (7 kilometers)
>> Entries closed
>> longdistanceswim.com

Ocean Swimmer Minds:
"Sometimes you're halfway back to the finish and you're asking yourself, 'Why am I doing this?' Then after a couple of months, you start planning to do it again."

Only the Chosen
There is a mystique equated with a journey to Oz to see the wizard, according to Rick Heltzel, who has won the event a record 12 times. The entry process is a bit different with applicants needing to be approved by race founder and director Jim Anderson before receiving an invitation to compete. "The first time I came here was in 1983 and I wanted to do this swim," said Heltzel, a standout swimmer at Stanford. "Jim didn't know who I was. I had one day to turn in my entry and I hand-carried it to his house. It was like going to see the Wizard of Oz. I kept thinking, 'I hope I get accepted.' "I was pretty excited when I got my invitation."

Mr Roughwater:
Heltzel, another recognized pioneer in the sport, finished fourth overall in his first outing. He won his first in 1985 and his 12th in 2011, claiming his age group title every year when he wasn't the overall champion. His record in 1989 (1 hour, 26 minutes, 55 seconds) was reset a year later by world open water champion Greg Slippert of Canada (1:24:44). Heltzel's 1989 time remains second-best all-time. Anderson has only canceled the race once (in 2007 due to his health issues).

One Rejection:
He also has only denied one application: Mickey Campaniello. "If I had known who he was other than he was a runner, I would have let him swim," Anderson said of the well-known Hawaii marathon runner. "He was super fit and it wouldn't have been a problem for him. We all have a good time still talking about that."

Safety Rules Supreme:
However safety is primary for Anderson. Swimmers have to provide a resume of sorts, showing they are capable of the distance, known as the Double Waikiki Roughwater Swim. Swimmers also are required to provide an escort on a non-motorized water craft such as a kayak or surfboard. The escorts must themselves be in excellent condition with strong water knowledge; they are allowed to carry nourishment for the swimmers.

Unsung Heroes:
"The escorts are the unsung heroes," Heltzel said. "This swim is absolutely my favorite swim in all the world and it's doable for pretty much anyone who sets their mind to it. Getting escorted the whole way makes you feel more comfortable, especially if you're new to the ballgame." There's been a couple of occasions where it's gotten pretty nasty out there and the swimmers have had to leave some of their escorts behind who couldn't keep up."

World Recognition:
Earlier this year the event was one of the first to be sanctioned by the World Open Water Swimming Association. It recognizes that the race promotes the sport and does so in a safe manner in keeping with the international rules and regulations.

Unique Open Water
And it's done in the best waters on the planet, Anderson said" No question in my mind that, as (TV meteorologist) Guy Hagi says, we have the best weather on the planet AND the best waters," he said. "One of our Italian competitors described it as a living, breathing thing. Most of the Olympic events are done on lakes, in calm waters. Here, we get whatever Mother Nature wants. "It's a different swim going down and coming back. It's the only event we have where navigation plays a big role."

12 Month Season:
That the race is held in December is not to make it Hawaii's version of a polar bear swim. It was done so, according to Anderson, to fill that gap between the traditional end of swimming season -- the Labor Day Roughwater Swim -- and the beginning in April. "Putting it in December, there was another reason to swim and workout," he said. "It changed the whole swimming community."

Hall of Fame Make Room: Here Comes Jim Anderson
Anderson will be inducted into the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame some time next year. The IMSHOF has not decided when and where it will hold the induction ceremonies, with Scotland and being the probable selection.

At last, we learn of Jim's accomplishments
Thanks to the Honolulu StarAdvertizer
"Possibly Annual Hawaiian Christmas Looong Distance Invitational Rough-H20 Swim"
aka The Double Roughwater Swim
shown here flanked by two of the many Hawaiian swim stars who enter his demanding swim
Jim Anderson
Hall of Famer &
Founder of
Rick Heltzel
Linda Kaiser
The Waikiki Roughwater Swim History