By Steven Munatones, Swimming World Open Water Correspondent
HUNTINGTON BEACH, California, April 22. AS we look into our crystal ball and make 10 predictions for the rest of the open water swimming season in 2013, we see the following:
1. There will be tremendously competitive and exciting races at the 2013 World Swimming Championships in Barcelona, Spain. The American women will battle the Italian women for the top of the podium in the 5 km and 10 km races.
Thomas Lurz will earning another world championship title in either the 5 km and 10 km.
Ous Mellouli trying to win his first world championship title in an open water race, the USA defending its 5 km team pursuit title, and completely wide open battles in the 25 km marathon swim on the men's and women's side.
2. Four individuals achieving the Oceans Seven including Anna Carin Nordin (Sweden), Penny Palfrey (Australia), Michelle Macy (USA), and Darren Miller (USA).
3. Anna Carin Nordin becoming the first woman to complete the Oceans Seven and the first swimmer from Scandinavia to complete a North Channel crossing due to her heavy training in cold water throughout the European winter.
4. Penny Palfrey and Michelle Macy will announce their successful North Channel swims — and celebrate their Oceans Seven achievement — in the early part of the season … very, very early.
5. Ram Barkai and the International Ice Swimming Association gaining more momentum to add an ice swim to the Winter Olympic Games.
6. A record number of swimmer completing crossings in the California Channel Islands including Catalina and Anacapa Islands.
7. The total number of open water swimming events around the world to exceed 10,000 competitions worldwide.
8. Over 100 unprecedented swims (individual and relay) completed somewhere around the world, including a record-breaking ocean relay becoming successful down the coast of California.
9. Two 70-year-olds completing a crossing of the English Channel.
10. A wildly successful Global Open Water Swimming Conference and International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame induction ceremonies in Cork, Ireland.