Webinars Archive

During the months of February and March 2021, we held a series on Natural Water Swimming. You can use the links below to see the recorded webinars.

Barbara Hoiland began the series by discussing how to get started swimming in open water, making the transition from pool fitness swimming to open water, and swimming just for the fun of it. She loves the water, but comes from a “hydrophobic” family, and didn’t learn to swim until she was an adult. She founded The Merfolk in 2017 to gather a group of open water enthusiasts who love to swim together in lakes and rivers. They now swim regularly in the Willamette River in downtown Portland, with her husband and two adult children often providing paddle support. Learn about what it takes to prepare for cold water swimming, how to stay safe, and make the best of your swimming experience.

OMS Natural Water Swimming Webinar #1 Presentation                Passcode: 7ZVtQik!


Willie Levenson is the Ringleader of the not-for-profit organization Human Access Project (HAP). HAP’s mission is Transforming Portland’s Relationship with the Willamette River. The American Association of Landscape Architects–Oregon awarded Willie with the Tom McCall Award in 2018 siting “Levenson has reshaped and redefined Portland’s relationship with the Willamette River.” Willie will talk about HAP’s work opening public beaches and docks and their programs The Big Float and River Hugger Swim.

OMS Natural Water Swimming Webinar #2 Presentation                Passcode: eZX57y^t


Cindy Werhane leads a small but dedicated group of cold water “winter swimmers” who swim on a regular basis in the Willamette River near Sellwood, the start of the Portland Bridge Swim. She will talk about swimmers and their supporters who dare to venture into the cooler months. She will also talk about the power of the small pods (how safety is not always found in large numbers), which she compares to your relationships with your regular lane mates. If you are a newbie to cold water swimming, Cindy has many years of cold-water swim training & and has traveled widely pursuing open water racing & participation opportunities.

OMS Natural Water Swimming Webinar #3 Presentation                Passcode: R&63nm+E


Marisa Frieder, Director of the Portland Bridge Swim, discussed training in the open water for racing. A devoted breaststroker who loves to sprint, she completed a pioneering 11-mile swim in the Willamette River in 2010. Relying on her research-scientist organizing skills and her innate talent for worrying, she founded the Portland Bridge Swim in 2011. She and her brilliant event team developed a robust safety plan that has been tested through lightning, algal blooms, large freighters, and the pandemic. The Portland Bridge Swim has introduced over 800 swimmers to the Willamette and served as the USMS Ultramarathon-Distance National Championship in 2018 and 2019. She loves watching people challenge themselves and still tears up as they emerge from the water at the finish.

OMS Natural Water Swimming Webinar #4 Presentation                Passcode: q5sB.ii+