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.
Debates and hand-wringing occasionally arise due to a few “local variations” on marathon swimming rules:
- Neoprene caps are allowed by the Farallon Islands Swimming Federation, out of respect for Stewart Evans and Ted Erikson, who both wore neo caps on their pioneering Farallon swims.
- In NYC Swim events, swimmers are allowed to exit the water in the event of lightning, and return to the water afterward without disqualification.
- In Cook Strait swims, swimmers are allowed to exit the water for ten minutes in the event of a shark encounter.
- Increased-coverage swimsuits (e.g., rash guards and stinger suits) are allowed in Rottnest Channel swims.