World Open Water

Learning the Ropes
Mega Event Management at WAIKIKI
     After I learned the ropes of event promotion, organization and safety management at the Waikiki Roughwater Swim Committee Inc. in the mid-1980s, I moved to Japan in the middle of the Japanese economic boom of the 1980s. While working with itachi, I also helped start the Atami Open Water Swim which has become one of the largest open water swimming events in Japan.  He also organized and conducted televised solo swims from Okinawa to Hokkaido while in Japan.

Advanced Study Area: The Pacific Basin !
     During this time, I also started to compile an international list of open water swims, focusing mostly on the Pacific Rim nations, but also extending to South America and Europe.  I  utilized my experience in the Waikiki Roughwater Swim to help race directors with safety personnel placement, communications, equipment and resource deployment, turn buoy and course layouts, and promotion. 
     As I began to travel throughout the Pacific Rim, I was able to observe and participate in dozens of different races in drastically different venues, always picking up local knowledge to add to my open water tool chest.

Data Collection Goes eModern
     With the Internet boom, Munatones headed back to his native Californiawhere he continued to add to his list of open water events and contacts around the world.  During this period, he conceptualized an online source for all the data and information that he had stored in notebooks, photographs, newspaper clippings and crammed in his head. 
     I also wanted to consolidate online the knowledge base that he had developed by
traveling to hundreds of races from Asia to the Americas.  This is where Openwaterpedia, the Open Water Swimming Certification Program and the Pyramid of Open Water Success were born.

Open Water Goes Global
     By 2005, the community's long-held dreams of an Olympic open water swimming event became reality.  In 2008 at the Beijing Olympic Games, Munatones was asked to become NBC's commentator for the inaugural Olympic 10K Marathon Swim where athletes like leukemia survivor and Olympic 10K gold medalist Maarten van der Weijden and amputee and Olympic 10K finalist Natalie du Toit became globally known personalities.  As he tweeted on an open water swim for the first time at the Beijing Olympics from the NBC
studios, it became an enlightenment that proved that open water swimming could eventually be reported in near real time.  By 2012, swimmers from the English Channel to the Waikiki Roughwater Swim were reporting and posting their information on social networks, further fueling the global interest in open water swimming.

182 Countries !
     With tens of thousands of open water swims held in at least 182 countries, there is no stopping global growth.  Booms in ice swimming, wild swimming and ultra-marathonswimming has paralleled the growth of triathlon that also continues to feed the sport of open water swimming.  With an overflow of global information and more races than he could possibly imagine in every possible type of water, Munatones finds himself pleased that the joy of the open water is shared by millions around the world

Steve Munatones
In His Own Words:
The Waikiki Roughwater Swim History