When to retire from competing?

Leonard_JansenLeonard_Jansen Charter Member
edited November 2012 in General Discussion
I'm pushing 58 years old, and although I still feel I have a number of good years left in me for doing long races, there will come a time when it would perhaps be wisest to hang up the goggles. The question that goes through my mind is: How do I (or anyone) know when that time has arrived? (I know most of you have years or decades before this is a concern.)

To clarify, I am NOT talking about really short races, swimming on one's own for recreation, or declines in race placing. What I am talking about is when does a person's participation constitute either an undue burden on the race organizer(s) and/or an excessive safety concern. Although most races have time limits, but I think there is a deeper issue there. Namely, if you are so far behind the pace needed to finish in the time limit (or come reasonably close), you may be pulling resources - specifically safety personnel - away from the rest of the field.

I understand that this is kind of like asking when should someone give up their driver's license and is a loaded topic, but I'd rather watch the race from a boat as a volunteer/sex symbol than have someone drown because of me.

Opinions?

-LBJ

“Moderation is a fatal thing. Nothing succeeds like excess.” - Oscar Wilde

Comments

  • dc_in_sfdc_in_sf San FranciscoCharter Member
    I think the record for the oldest solo crossing of the Rottnest Channel is a 79 year old, and I am pretty sure that gentleman beat the relay team I was on in 2010...

    I think a lot of this depends on the field. I recall reading that the average marathon time in the US used to be a lot faster because only hard core runners actually did them. Now every man/woman and their dog does them so the average time has significantly decreased. As OWS gains in popularity it is likely that events will have wider and wider ranges of abilities participating.

    An experienced (but slow) open water swimmer is less likely to be a burden on race officials than the folk who dive in with little preparation and find themselves hypothermic or panicking due to lack of familiarity with currents and chop.

    http://notdrowningswimming.com - open water adventures of a very ordinary swimmer

  • david_barradavid_barra NYCharter Member

    What I am talking about is when does a person's participation constitute either an undue burden on the race organizer(s) and/or an excessive safety concern. Although most races have time limits, but I think there is a deeper issue there. Namely, if you are so far behind the pace needed to finish in the time limit (or come reasonably close), you may be pulling resources - specifically safety personnel - away from the rest of the field.

    I understand that this is kind of like asking when should someone give up their driver's license and is a loaded topic, but I'd rather watch the race from a boat as a volunteer/sex symbol than have someone drown because of me.

    Opinions?

    -LBJ

    I would say that it is up to the event director to make clear what their expectations are so that entrants need not worry about such things while they are swimming.

    I enjoy seeing fast young athletes break records, but I find successful swims by those past their prime more inspiring... indeed, I consider it a great honor to able to offer opportunity to swimmers to challenge themselves against the clock and the changing tides.

    ...anything worth doing is worth overdoing.

  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin

    I enjoy seeing fast young athletes break records, but I find successful swims by those past their prime more inspiring

    Even more fun when swimmers "past their prime" break the records of the "fast young" ones, e.g., Jim McConica this year in the Santa Barbara Channel.
  • I haven't raced for years. But my swimming is far more exciting than ever before. Right now I am training for an ice swim, next is a swim trek along the Caledonian Canal., then the English Channel, just to try an experiment, then a 55 meter breaststroke, straight down and back on one breath. Who needs to race ?
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