Love the Open Water

The Open Water Swim Academy (OWSA) shares and promotes the camaraderie, fun, exhilaration and joy of open water swimming. Led by Dan Simonelli, an experienced and awarded marathon swimmer, OWSA provides comprehensive coaching and mentoring to swimmers, both competitive and non-competitive, of all ages and skill levels interested in the challenge of open water swimming.


The OWSA coaching and mentoring program focuses on TEMP, which prepares swimmers for the Technical, Environmental, Mental and Physical challenges of open water swimming.


Uniting the swimming community, OWSA organises and hosts Swim Across America benefit swims to raise money for life saving cancer research and clinical trials.


OWSA provides support, including kayaking, crewing and observation, for swimmers attempting Catalina Channel, Santa Barbara Channel or other major open water swims.

Latest News

Pan-American Colibrí Swim

Pan-American Colibrí Swim

Dan Simonelli is one of twelve swimmers who will participate in the Pan-American Colibrí Swim, a 10 km cross-border swim from California to Tijuana, Mexico, on 5 May 2017. While the other swimmers come from South Africa and Israel, Dan is the only ‘local’ swimmer. Talking to the Daily News of Open Water Swimming, Dan explains the course and history ...

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Swim Preparation

Swim Preparation

Swimming is an amazing sport. It challenges individuals to overcome obstacles, set short-term and long-term goals, be disciplined, develop time management skills, learn values of hard work and determination, and demonstrate the courage it takes to push your body to its limits. A topic consistently discussed in the sport of swimming is pool swimming. A step ...

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Open Water

Open Water

Just a few years ago, Dan Simonelli was about 40 pounds overweight and not happy about it. “I was not particularly unhealthy per se — I don’t smoke or drink — but I wasn’t that active,” Simonelli recalls. It was a big change from his teens and 20s, when he’d been a swimmer, served in ...

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Our Swimmers

  • – Erik King, English Channel Relay

    “Dan Simonelli was my coach and mentor as I trained for an English Channel Relay. Dan helped me realize that what I was really training for was the qualifying swim (2 hours in sub 60°/15°C water) instead of the actual English Channel Relay. His presence during our night training and qualification swims set me at ease, and gave me the confidence to attempt the swim. With Dan, you can achieve anything.”

    – Erik King, English Channel Relay
  • – Maev Kerri Fitzpatrick, Catalina Channel

    “Dan Simonelli is an incredible coach, mentor, support and guide to both non-competitive and competitive swimmers. Bringing his extensive experience and expertise in open water swimming, he will give you and your team the confidence to succeed, and motivate you to continue with the sport – beyond what you thought was possible.”

    – Maev Kerri Fitzpatrick, Catalina Channel
  • – Hank Wise, 6 x Catalina Channel

    “With Dan Simonelli, you have hired more than just a coach or crew support. You have gained a wise advocate and a good listener who has been there and done it himself. You have a knowledgeable and experienced friend, mentor and someone who will see to it that you have every possible advantage, tool and strategy in order for you to succeed.”

    – Hank Wise, 6 x Catalina Channel
  • – Michella Thomas, Catalina Channel

    “With the currents against me, swimming Catalina Channel took much longer than expected.  Dan Simonelli was my observer and his encouragement got me through.  He set a target that I could envision, grasp, and power through. Dan was relentless in making sure I was successful in achieving my goal.  He continues to inspire me.”

    – Michella Thomas, Catalina Channel
  • – Scott Tapley, Catalina Channel

    “Dan Simonelli’s extensive swimming, coaching, and marathon experience are without question. His knowledge and leadership during my Catalina Channel crossing was a huge benefit to both me and the support crew. The support crew trusted him, the boat captains trusted him, and swimmers are lucky to have him on board or in the water.”

    – Scott Tapley, Catalina Channel
  • – Tim Donovan, Catalina Channel

    “Dan Simonelli has a vast knowledge of open water swimming. His drive, enthusiasm, commitment and friendly demeanour make such a difference in helping calm pre-swim nerves. I knew I was in incredibly safe hands crossing Catalina Channel.”

    – Tim Donovan, Catalina Channel
  • – Carson Gossler, 2 x Catalina Channel Relays

    “Swimming with Dan Simonelli is both reassuring and fun. His knowledge and dedication to open water swimming is incredible and unmatched. Dan has taught me so much about the ocean and open water swimming.”

    – Carson Gossler, 2 x Catalina Channel Relays
  • – Chloë McCardel, 124.4km World Record Ocean Swim

    “Dan Simonelli gives so much to the sport of open water swimming. He coaches, support crews and mentors swimmers of all ages and abilities from all across the world. He also volunteers his time on federations, boards, committees and supports fundraising events for Swim Across America.”

    – Chloë McCardel, 124.4km World Record Ocean Swim
  • – Tim Kosiba, Catalina Channel

    “Dan Simonelli led my Catalina Channel swim, helping me get approval and financial aid from the Catalina Channel Swimming Federation, putting together my experienced support crew, and even joined me as a pace swimmer. He encouraged me through the toughest thing I have endured. Without his guidance and expertise, I doubt I would have been successful. He is dedicated to the sport, providing support to some of the best swimmers in the world.”

    – Tim Kosiba, Catalina Channel