Marathon swimmers talk a lot about rules – what should and shouldn’t be allowed during a swim – but as far as I know, there has never been any systematic study of what marathon swimmers actually think, as a matter of public opinion.
Perhaps most would agree that goggles are OK, and fins are verboten… but what about swim streamers and stinger suits? Or drafting off the escort boat? If you only read blogs and forums, you might assume the most vocal opinions represent the majority. But do they really?
Earlier this month the SBCSA launched a survey to find out. Over 25 days, we received 175 responses from around the world.
First, a Summary of Findings (TL/DR). Click any of the following links to skip directly to the relevant section.…
Last September I joined some San Francisco friends in Maui for a memorable few days of swimming and leisure (but mostly leisure). You may have seen the short video I posted a while back of my solo Maui Channel swim. Two days before the solo, I did the same swim with my friends in the annual Maui Channel Swim Relays.
So, this video has been a long time in the making. Maybe that’s not such a bad thing? Nothing beats the February doldrums like Hawaii (or at least, thinking about Hawaii).
The relay was loads of fun and mostly uneventful, with the unfortunate exception of our third swimmer getting tangled in a jellyfish (probably a box) only a few minutes into her 30-minute leg.…
I truly believe that a Channel Swim – performed under traditional rules – is among the greatest athletic feats that a human can achieve.
We are terrestrial animals, adapted to surviving on land with the assistance of clothing and shelter. We are capable of great efficiency of movement - on solid ground.
A Channel Swim turns all this on its head. Without shelter… naked but for a porous, skimpy textile garment… we step offshore into an environment we are terribly adapted to, and terribly inefficient at moving through. As the ocean floor drops beneath our ability to stand, and the cold begins its creeping march from the extremities to the core – there are really only two options: Swim to the other shore… or get on the boat.…
If these discussion threads at the Marathon Swimmers Forum are any indication, marathon swimmers love to argue about rules. This is not surprising; rules define the boundary conditions of our sport, what is and is not a “marathon swim.” The beauty of marathon swimming derives, at least in part, from its purity and asceticism — its prohibitions against things that would make it easier.
Take the survey HERE
Debates and hand-wringing occasionally arise due to a few “local variations” on marathon swimming rules: