The Certainty of Uncertainty Principle

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noun - The Certainty of Uncertainty Principle is a fundamental observation in the open water swimming community where swimmers, escort crews, and pilots often find that the longer the swimmer is in an open body of water, the greater possibility and increasing probability that (a) adverse conditions will occur to make a swim longer, more difficult, or impossible, and (b) marine life will appear. This is especially true in ocean swims and in swims in large lakes as it relates to currents, winds, tides, eddies, sharks, jellyfish, waves, and seasickness. The Uncertainty Principle can also result in more favorable conditions for the swimmer who finds that the conditions occasionally smooth out as time passes.

With the advent of GPS technology and a growing experience of escort pilots, navigational errors are now largely taken out of the equation, but there used to be a third parameter in this Certainty of Uncertainty principle: (c) navigational errors will lead to greater distances to be swum.


The following video show how the conditions smooth out as time passes for Héctor Ramírez Ballesteros in the Strait of Gibraltar; a case where The Certainty of Uncertainty Principle works in the favor of the swimmer.

Steven Munatones explains the Uncertainty Principle in the The Science of Diana Nyad's Swim from Cuba to Florida


First used by Steven Munatones in the open water swimming community circa 2010

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