SANTA BARBARA, California, March 1. 2008 BEIJING Olympian Mark Warkentin grew up in Santa Barbara, Calif. Frequently gazing over the California Channel islands, he was never far away from the beach and beautiful shoreline of Santa Barbara that has attracted the celebrity crowd and multitudes of crowds from nearby Los Angeles for decades.
After a long career in the pool that culminated in six years of open water swimming and participation in the World Championships and Olympics, he did short ocean swims and long 25 km stroke-for-stroke battles with people like Petar Stoychev, Yuri Kudinov and Maarten van der Weijden.
He learned about pacing, positioning and physicality from racing the world's best open water swimmers from New York to Melbourne in lakes, rivers and oceans. He learned about hydration, feeding and skin lubrication by doing it in solo swims and international competitions.
He learned about training, workouts and psychological preparation from a personal and practical perspective in the course of many years in the pool and open water. And now he is offering all that knowledge, experience and know-how at the Santa Barbara Open Water Camp from July 3-7.
“There will be three one-mile races and one three-mile race during the camp at East Beach and Leadbetter Beach in Santa Barbara,” explained Coach Warkentin. “There will be four pool workouts, all held at the UCSB [University of California Santa Barbara] campus pool and four beach training sessions. The camp will focus on the significant enhancement of skills related to open water racing. Specifically, we will teach race strategy, gamesmanship, starts, turns, finishes, race analysis and training.”
The camp will be limited to 100 athletes. All athletes must be at least 13 years of age at the time of the camp, USA Swimming registered and have proof of 500-yard freestyle time that is faster than 6:00 or a 400-meter freestyle time faster than 5:00. Twenty-five spots will be reserved for applicants sub-5:00 in the 500 free and 25 spots will be reserved for applicants 5:00 to 5:30 in the 500 free until May 1 when all camp spots will be open to all eligible participants.