Standardization vs Localization

In the Daily News of Open Water Swimming an excellent article on the subject:
The question "Why are English Channel Rules not the Standard" and the comments of the author are very well presented in my view. Swimming in the northern waters of Australia or Cuba to Florida where there are many very dangerous stinging sea creatures is very much different then in some other areas, and swims across large bodies of cold water as the English Channel or San Francisco Bay where temps of 62f and less are found is different then warm water swims. I think the views and rules of the "locals" should be the standard rather then "one size fits all" rules across the board. And when a swimmer
undertakes a swim that no one else has ever done " Chloe.. Cuba to Florida " this summer, they write the rules.


  • HaydnHaydn Member
    Localised rules are great, especially this non drafting rule. But only as long as they don't try to make the swim easier. While people play fast and loose with the rules trying to manipulate an easier swim, the swim organisers are compelled to address and amend the rules.
  • gregocgregoc Charter Member

    And when a swimmer
    undertakes a swim that no one else has ever done " Chloe.. Cuba to Florida " this summer, they write the rules.

    By this standard of "first sets the rules", Susie Maroney was the first person to swim the 180 km (110 mi) Florida Straits from Cuba to the United States back on12 May 1997.

    The rules include a shark cage and wetsuit.

    That said, I do not take a position on this. Do a marathon swim however you like as long as it meets the local rules (at a minimum). I personally will only do swims under EC rules and if the conditions are too extreme for EC rules I won't attempt the swim, but that is just me. I also think swims like Maroney's and attempts by Palfrey and Nyad are amazing.
  • SharkoSharko Sonoma County, CACharter Member
    I think a Farallons solo would be difficult without additional head protection as the upwelling at the Farallons from deep water can be in the low 50s most years....Ted Erickson wore a neoprene cap on his swim and still got cold with realtively warm water getting closer to the Golden Gate...the way they are doing the swims recently from the Golden Gate to the Farallons might be tricky as you go from say 59f to 53f which is hard at the end of a swim....thus far no one seems to want to swim in the fall when the GWs come back from vacation....

    "I never met a shark I didn't like"

  • jcmalickjcmalick Wilmington, DECharter Member
    edited March 2013
    I can't say either way if Ted wore a neoprene cap or not but according to an email correspondence, he stated he had a standard cap and had a neoprene flap protecting his neck. When I threw my hat (or cap if you will) into the ring last May, I chose to abide by standard "English Channel" rules and only wore one silicone cap (FISF Dictates that the swimmer can wear a neoprene cap by localization standards). When I swam last May waters went from 52 at GGB and dropped to 49 once I got 12nm out...with my mind still fresh from my ice swim in January, I did not want to get to that hypothermic state again so soon which would have inevitably happened if I pushed much further! I would love to go in August one day much like Ted and Col Stewart did!
  • SharkoSharko Sonoma County, CACharter Member
    Since the GWs are already back you would probably want to go in September (better surface conditions) and water is warmest....I believe my discussion and Vito's discussion shows Ted wore a neoprene cap...which is fine by me under the circumstances...I think a thicker person could make the swim in the fall without a neoprene cap under ideal conditions such as Ted had.

    "I never met a shark I didn't like"

  • HaydnHaydn Member
    But a marathon runner in shorts and trainers might want to run to the South Pole. Clearly he cannot wear the standard sports wear. So has to develop sufficient other plans on order to do the event. So when a swimmer does a 100 mile ocean swim in a wetsuit, that is ok by me. It lays down the gauntlet for another swimmer to try it without one. These special swims are unlikely to become the norm and each swimmer will develop their own equipment to aid their success. I see nothing wrong in doing unusual swims using fins eg Atlantic Ocean , or wetsuit for Arctic oceans, these swims cannot compare to swims that are over and done with inside 24 hours (which all are best served with EC rules).

    So, kudos to the first swimmer choosing all the gear, more Kudos to the second swimmer if the swim is bettered by being purer, faster, colder or further using EC rules.
  • JonMLJonML Member
    Serious inquiry: I know that there have been people who have swum part of the EC wearing no swimsuit at all (search carefully on YouTube and you'll find them). If a person were to pioneer a sizeable route (say 20 km) with no swimsuit, would that become the standard for that route? And is there an existing swim for which that is either the standard or a class that people keep track of?
  • The user and all related content has been deleted.
  • edited March 2013
    FYI Linda McGill was one who either did or wanted to swim the E.C topless , she also swam the Manhatten swim that way in the early 70,s.

    The stinger suit is one main item of discussion, In the warm climes I have no issue, in the EC that would be not allowed and should not be, Both have the jellies and can harm the swimmer but in the EC many have been able to continue although painfully stung, with the warm however climes a swimmer can face such pain no person could possibly continue with some of these stings as the warm clime creatures are so venomous. As such not allowing a stinger suit makes such a swim even though swimmers are talented, tremendous atheletes a swim of chance, get stung your out, get lucky you make it. Talent, strenght, experience and determination should be the factors not luck when facing such dangerous sea creatures in warm climes.

    In very cold and rough waters as the Farrallons with the distance of that swim two swimmers have made it. Col Evans who it appears to have worn a standard cap of that day maybe a bubble cap with no strap its hard to tell by the videos , with a cloth red
    " Dolphin Club" style outer cap tied on probably for visiblity. And Ted Erickson wore what looks like a neoprene "type" cap on his successfull swim all though the "tri" type used today did not exist only the "skin diver" type or home made. . All the swimmers who have attempted this swim lately have it seems used the silicon caps and all have suffered hypothermia so if they were to use neopeane or bubble caps over the silicon that would be fair for that swim. But the same would not be fair in others swims as the EC or Catalina/Santa Barbara Swim where true EC rules apply. Too many different conditions for one size fits all rules and the locals know what the size is for the swim in their area.

    By the way I am new here, I only dream of a EC Swim, my name OWSmile refers to
    Open Water Swim a Mile. Thats my experience, OW swims of a mile and Im happy with that, but there are critics in every sport, what would a football team be with only the players and no fans, so I am a fan of this sport, who enjoys reading of "Your Swims" as many of you here have written "The Book" on it and are still writing it for the history to be read of swimmers and fans of tomorrow.
  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    OWSmile said:

    Talent, strengh, experience and determination should be the factors not luck

    Luck is an inescapable factor in every channel swim in the world, including (and perhaps especially) the English Channel.
  • Very much true with swims that have a " window of opportunity" such as a EC swim where the swimmers have only so long they can stay and wait for the best conditions they can get , of course luck follows us all in many ways.
  • HaydnHaydn Member
    An ice mile is a great example. The rules are strict. But they don't work if you want to swim an English Channel distance across an Antarctic bay. We either forget the swim until climate change wins through or we do the swim as best we can and set a benchmark for others to swim purer.
  • edited March 2013
    The user and all related content has been deleted.
  • HaydnHaydn Member
    Nah, too scared of what lurks beneath on Titan.
  • IronMikeIronMike Moscow, RussiaCharter Member
    As a thought experiment I ask the following question:

    Would wearing a diving knife on your leg during a Molokai channel crossing break any rules?
  • loneswimmerloneswimmer IrelandAdmin
    edited May 2013
    @IronMike is a good question I've wondered myself for any the big swims. Though I imagine having a knife on my leg during a Molokai or Cook would give me a (probably false) sense of security. I got my hand snarled in an angler's fishing line last year (because they fish off the rocks from where I usually swim). It really hurt & was difficult to remove because he was fishing a heavy line, and I could have done with a knife. It made me briefly consider this question. The World's Most Popular Open Water Swimming Blog

  • I like to carry surgical shears when I spearfish...they are great for cutting through fishing line.
  • IronMikeIronMike Moscow, RussiaCharter Member
    The sense of security might make the swimmer less stressed, thus they might swim better.

    But would they be DQ'd by the observer?
  • timsroottimsroot Spring, TXCharter Member
    IronMike said:

    The sense of security might make the swimmer less stressed, thus they might swim better.

    But would they be DQ'd by the observer?

    If I got DQ'd because I had to fight a shark, that would be worth it to me, if only for the sake of the story. Especially if they let you finish the swim without it being official.
  • ISFO (International Shark Fighting Org) rules state that fighting with a knife will be considered an "assisted" tussle and recorded as such.
  • IronMikeIronMike Moscow, RussiaCharter Member
    The one rule of ISFO is to not mention ISFO.
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