8ddc43239aa58210VgnVCM100000e56411acRCRDapproved/thenational/Articles/Migration/2009-Q4Competitors revel in Dubai's seas7ddc43239aa58210VgnVCM100000e56411ac____Competitors revel in Dubai's seasDubai offers perfect conditions for international open water swimming competitions, according to the winner of today's inaugural 6.5km Palm Open Water Challenge Cup.<p>Dubai offers perfect conditions for international open water swimming competitions, according to Haydn Holmes, winner of today's inaugural 6.5km Palm Open Water Challenge Cup.
The Dubai Open Water Swimming Sports Association (DOWSSA) was set up in association with Dubai International Marine Club (DIMC) to promote and sanction open water swimming events.
October's FINA Open Water Long Distance World Championship in Abu Dhabi set the tone for such competitions in the UAE and Holmes, 35, believes Dubai can also attract high-profile competitions.
"The conditions were perfect out there," said Holmes, who swam from waters just off Atlantis Hotel to the Barasti Beach at Le Meridien Mina Seyahi in 1hr 22mins.
"That is the key thing about Dubai; you do have currents and tidal pull, but it is very safe and at this time of year the water is glassy and the temperature is perfect.
"I'm 100 per cent sure that more open water swimming events will be headed for Dubai after the success of this one."
Holmes has lived in the city since 1999 and works as the water pipe manager at Wild Wadi water park on Jumeirah Beach Road.
He trains on a Surf Ski (a thin kayak-like vessel) every day, paddling up to 16km most mornings, and has competed for his native South Africa at Surf Life Saving.
"I'm happy with my time," said Holmes. "With open water swimming it's always difficult to gauge how you are doing and each race is different as you factor in currents and the fact that tides change during the race, but any time you complete 5km in an hour is good going.
"I am very lucky that I get to work in the environment I love and training is part of my life."
Adam Winter, one of the founding members of DOWSSA and a member of Dubai Camels Water Polo Club, said the event was just a starting point.
"We pitched the idea to DIMC and the CEO, Saeed Hareb, and the managing director, Sid Bensalah, were immediately supportive," he said.
"They were kind enough to offer us a spot during Sea Dubai and we have 25 swimmers today, although we had to turn many away as we wanted to keep it small."
Winter says Dubai's landmarks, such as Atlantis and The Palm, will provide an added draw to international competitors in the future.
"Dubai has some of the most globally recognisable settings around which to host such events and, crucially, support from all levels within the community," he said.
Bensalah was on hand to watch the race, which was held before the annual Super Sports Mina Mile swim, now in its fifth year.
"We wanted to branch out from our traditional water sports like sailing, dhow sailing and powerboats," said Bensalah.
"We have promoted the Mina Mile since it started and we think it's very important to keep expanding our remit and show people that Dubai's greatest resource, the sea, is free for everyone to enjoy."</p>
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