Welcome to episode twenty-two of the Low Tide Boyz, a Swimrun Podcast! On this week’s show we have Erika Rosenbaum. She’s a key historical figure in the sport of Swimrun with two claims to fame: she coined the word swimrun and produced the first swimrun event (Swimrun Hellas) that wasn’t Ötillö in 2012. She’s an amazing human being and we really enjoyed chatting with her.
Welcome to episode twenty-two of the Low Tide Boyz, a Swimrun Podcast!
On this week’s show we have Erika Rosenbaum. She’s a key historical figure in the sport of Swimrun with two claims to fame: she coined the word swimrun and produced the first swimrun event (Swimrun Hellas) that wasn’t Ötillö in 2012. She’s an amazing human being and we really enjoyed chatting with her.
We wanted to give a shout out this week to Iain from the UK. He’s given us great feedback on the show and explained the UK Swimrun scene to us. There are certainly some events that we’ll want to check out there in the future. Thanks for taking the time to write us Iain!
We also just dropped another bonus swimrun gear review episode. We reviewed the ARK Keel swimrun pull buoy.
Now for this week’s interview. After starting a family, Erika started running in 2007 to get back into shape. She started running and it turns out that she was good at it. She then turned to triathlon and raced her first Ironman distance event in 2010 after mastering the Olympic distance. (She has since raced 8 Ironman distance events) She’s a running coach
She raced her first swimrun race in 2011: Ötillö (The only swimrun event in the world.) And she just loved that race! She came home after a 3rd podium finish thinking of how this activity has to be available to all people, not only the long-distance athletes. So she said that this has to be a sport and it’s going be called “Swimrun.” (She has since raced the World Championship 5 times and finished third place three times!)
First, she thought the sound of the word Swimrun was really corny, but every word she came up with was corny so she said Swimrun 100 times to herself so it would sound more normal. She then sent out invitations to Swimrun Hellas, made the course and started to bake. The first race was in June 2012 and many of the competitors from then are still racing. That race was officially the first swimrun event that wasn’t the Ötillö World Championship. More on Swimrun Hellas later in the show.
She now races marathons and swimrun events with her daughter Maja and hopes to race the Ötillö World Championship with her one day.
When she first heard about Ötillö she thought that it sounded impossible, so it was definitely the race for her. She instantly fell in love with the sport, the Stockholm Archipelago and being in nature. She also loved not having to have as much gear as triathlon. At that race, she had the epiphany that this sport should be accessible to everyone and there should be shorter races for people to discover swimrun without having to commit to race 75km.
After coining the name swimrun, Erika had thoughts about trademarking the name. Instead she had a conversation with Michael Lemmel and Mats Skott of Ötillö and she agreed when they asked her to use the name for their event. Other events also reached out to her to use the name and she said yes. She, in effect, gave a name to the sport and then shared it with the world so that the sport could grow. Now there are 1,500 swimrun events in the world.
Erika is happy with how the sport has been growing and really appreciates the attention to every detail that Ötillö takes with each of their events. It’s been fun to see all the races popping up all over the world. Swimrun is such a great way to for people to exercise and be with nature. She now races swimrun events one or two times per year with her daughter.
In 2012, when she started Swimrun Hellas, her goal was create a course that people could try out the sport and do “social sport.” Hellas is a national park near Stockholm with a marked course that people can go visit and train for swimrun. Her event sees World Championship winners racing alongside beginners and sharing the love for the sport with everyone. By creating the first short-course swimrun event, Erika was the catalyst for the evolution and growth of the sport that we all enjoy and love today.
We encourage everyone to check out the Swimrun Hellas website, Erika’s Swimrun Family facebook page and follow Erika on Instagram.
That’s it for this week’s show. If you are enjoying the Löw Tide Böyz, please be sure to subscribe to the show on your favorite podcast player. You can find us on Apple Podcast, Spotify and Google Podcast. You can also follow our meme page on Instagram and on Twitter. Email us at email@example.com with any feedback, suggestions and/or meme suggestions. Finally, you can also support us on Patreon…if you feel so inclined.