Ironman news about swimming changes...

LeadhyenaLeadhyena Member
edited May 2013 in General Discussion
This is interesting: http://www.slowtwitch.com/News/Swim_changes_for_NA_Ironmans_3599.html... specifically: "Also, WTC announced today that no swim will be conducted in water colder than 52 degrees or warmer than 88 degrees."
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  • loneswimmerloneswimmer IrelandAdmin
    Ah, 52 degrees. 2 degrees above the temperature at which we consider the cold has finally passed! :D

    http://www.loneswimmer.com The World's Most Popular Open Water Swimming Blog

  • It's about time they took a stance about warm temperatures though. You know those triathletes will be swimming in 88F water WITH A WETSUIT, right??? Honestly I would have petitioned for a lower high temp than 88.
  • dc_in_sfdc_in_sf San FranciscoCharter Member
    Leadhyena said:

    It's about time they took a stance about warm temperatures though. You know those triathletes will be swimming in 88F water WITH A WETSUIT, right??? Honestly I would have petitioned for a lower high temp than 88.

    I think wetsuits are no longer legal in IM's at around 76F or so.

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

  • timsroottimsroot Spring, TXCharter Member
    edited May 2013
    dc_in_sf said:

    I think wetsuits are no longer legal in IM's at around 76F or so.

    I thought it was 78. THat said, I've heard plenty of people talk about how hard they try to make a triathlon wetsuit legal.

    I used to think I wanted to do an ironman just to say I finished one. THe more I hang out with triathletes, the less I want to do one.

    I found this tidbit a bit more interesting:

    Ironman swims will feature rafts at regular intervals so that contestants may rest if so desired. Resting on these rafts will not constitute a rules infraction, nor will resting on a paddleboard or other device or watercraft.

    What better way to encourage triathletes not to have to learn to swim.

  • WaterGirlWaterGirl Scottsdale, AZCharter Member
    The USAT wetsuit rules are actually a little complicated:

    4.4 Wet suits. Each age group participant shall be permitted to wear a wet suit without penalty in any event sanctioned by USA Triathlon up to and including a water temperature of 78 degrees Fahrenheit. When the water temperature is greater than 78 degrees, but less than 84 degrees Fahrenheit, age group participants may wear a wet suit at their own discretion, provided however that participants who wear a wet suit within this temperature range shall not be eligible for prizes or awards. Age group participants shall not wear wet suits in water temperatures equal to or greater than 84 degrees Fahrenheit. The wetsuit policy for elite athletes shall be determined by the USAT Athletes Advisory Council. The AAC has set the wetsuit maximum temperature for elite athletes at 68 degrees for swim distances less than 3000 meters and 71.6 degrees for distances of 3000 meters or greater.
    Any swimmer wearing a wetsuit with a thickness measured in any part greater than 5 millimeters shall be disqualified.

    Taken from http://www.usatriathlon.org/about-multisport/rulebook.aspx
  • lakespraylakespray Senior Member
    Ironman Corporate rules as of 2010. Wetsuits may be worn in water temperatures up to and including 24.5 degrees Celsius/76.1 degrees Fahrenheit. Athletes who choose to wear a wetsuit in water temperatures exceeding 24.5 degrees C /76.1 degrees F will not be eligible for awards, including World Championship slots. Wetsuits will be prohibited in water temperatures greater than 28.8 degrees C/84 degrees F.

    So I’m certainly not a fan of the wetsuit for personal use, however they are not going away in the triathlon world, no matter what. Arguably the modern swimming wetsuit is the major reason for the tremendous growth of triathlon over the last 20-years. Please note other triathlon federations have different rules, for example the United States Triathlon (UST) wetsuit prohibition is two degrees higher at 78F.

    I conduct several open water swim clinics a year in the Denver area, my audience is 90% triathlete, I teach it towards wetsuit use. Triathlon has become a big participation sport. Many of the participants greatest goal is to complete it not compete it. There doing it because of Cancer awareness or because all there friends signed up etc. Even though my clinics state minimum swim standards should be met many of them can barely swim. One could say I should advise them not to do it and although I will express concern and emphasis safety I know there is not much I could say that would deter them when all there “friends” have signed up. I have learned to ask my clinic attendees if they intend to wear a wetsuit most will say yes, however occasionally I get a slender women who not a good swimmer say no, in which case I strongly suggest they rent one primarily for safety reasons both to avoid possible hypothermia and the floatation assistance.

    On reading the linked article in it’s entirety I’m happy with direction the Ironman Corporation is going, they are clearly addressing some swimmer safety issues and that is a good thing.
  • IronMikeIronMike Arlington, VACharter Member
    edited May 2013
    timsroot said:

    THe more I hang out with triathletes, the less I want to do one.

    I found this tidbit a bit more interesting:

    "Ironman swims will feature rafts at regular intervals so that contestants may rest if so desired. Resting on these rafts will not constitute a rules infraction, nor will resting on a paddleboard or other device or watercraft."

    What better way to encourage triathletes not to have to learn to swim.

    Read any of my "triathlete organized" OW swim reviews on my blog. I am with you! From resting on kayaks to swimming with a pull buoy to walking the low-water-level section of a 4 x 1KM loop course, I am all done with triathlete-organized OW swims.

    Please join the Lake Issyk Kul Swimming Federation on FB!

  • IronMikeIronMike Arlington, VACharter Member
    Niek said:


    I believe the FINA won't publish those results because that would result in NO swims in the rich Arabic countries and that's something those FINA bigwigs won't like.

    And it would show that they should have not held the race that Fran died in.

    Please join the Lake Issyk Kul Swimming Federation on FB!

  • bobswimsbobswims OregonCharter Member
    I think you all miss a very important point.

    When I returned to competition after being away nearly 20 years, I began by doing triathlons. I did them in part because I had a lot of problems with a shoulder and could get away with minimal swim training. I loved the sport because I finished so high up in the swim and convinced myself I could still swim fast. I loved finishing in the top 5% of a 1,000 person field. I even took 3rd twice in a race with over 400 people. Unfortunately, this didn't carry over to pure OW races. However, I don't think there is anything wrong with living in an illusion.
  • timsroottimsroot Spring, TXCharter Member
    Niek said:

    Wimps.
    It's time they introduce ICE-triatlon without wetsuit. :))

    There's a guy who trains at my club who is there. I saw his post about the swim getting cancelled, and I chuckled a bit.
  • timsroottimsroot Spring, TXCharter Member
    Watching a world cup triathlon, because there's nothing else on TV. Is it common for triathlons to break up 1500m swims into two laps with the athletes having to get out of the water in between? Seems lame to me. And another reason I don't care to compete in that sport
  • AquaRobAquaRob Humboldt Bay, CACharter Member
    timsroot said:

    Is it common for triathlons to break up 1500m swims into two laps with the athletes having to get out of the water in between? Seems lame to me.

    I had to do that on a 2.4 mile swim put on by a triathlon promoter in Port Hueneme... generally that would be a mild inconvenience (on top of being lame), but the exciting part was that we had 7-8 waves and 52 degree water that day! Not everyone made it out onto the course for the first lap and a lot of people just skipped the second one to avoid going through the washing machine again!
  • Kevin_in_MDKevin_in_MD Senior Member
    timsroot said:

    Is it common for triathlons to break up 1500m swims into two laps with the athletes having to get out of the water in between?

    It is common in the world cup circuit, why I don't know. I suspect for fans to see the swimmers again.

    It is unusual though not unheard of in amateur competitions to have a two loop swim for 1500 meters. That would happen if the lake was small.

  • IronMikeIronMike Arlington, VACharter Member
    But to leave the water in the middle of the swim? That's weird.

    Please join the Lake Issyk Kul Swimming Federation on FB!

  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    edited June 2013

    timsroot said:

    Is it common for triathlons to break up 1500m swims into two laps with the athletes having to get out of the water in between?

    It is common in the world cup circuit, why I don't know. I suspect for fans to see the swimmers again.
    The FINA World Cup circuit? Definitely loops, but I'm pretty sure they don't get out of the water.
  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    Niek said:

    It is common in the world cup circuit, why I don't know. I suspect for fans to see the swimmers again.
    According to the new FINA rules all starts are from a platform. [running is for triathlon and for those Aussie races ;) ]

    I trust your knowledge, @Niek, so perhaps I'm wrong. Do you know which races specifically?
  • timsroottimsroot Spring, TXCharter Member
    evmo said:

    The FINA World Cup circuit? Definitely loops, but I'm pretty sure they don't get out of the water.

    ITU Triathlon world cup. I've never seen a FINA world cup televized
  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    What just happened? @Niek you edited your post.

    Please clarify: Do swimmers exit the water mid-race on the FINA (10km) World Cup circuit, or not?

    Thanks.
  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    Niek said:

    No the whole race takes place in the water.

    Cool, that's what I thought. Thanks. I guess I misunderstood that @Kevin_in_MD meant the triathlon world cup, not the OWS world cup.
  • MunatonesMunatones Charter Member
    edited June 2013
    FINA races do not need to have a platform dive start; there are plenty of FINA-sanctioned races that have in-the-water starts (the world championships and Olympics are among the exceptions). Also, if a swimmer does not touch the finish banner (which does happen in every race), the swimmer is not disqualified. The swimmer (in nearly every instance) immediately touches the banner on his/her next stroke. I believe, however, if the swimmer refuses to touch the banner, or physically cannot touch the banner, then the swimmer would be classified as DNF (Did Not Finish) as opposed to DQ (disqualified).

    Steven Munatones www.worldopenwaterswimmingassociation.com Huntington Beach, California, U.S.A.

  • bobswimsbobswims OregonCharter Member
    I think that if they are going to require triathletes to exit and reenter the water in the middle of the swim leg, then they should also make them take off and put back on their wetsuit when they do it. Talk about making it spectator friendly.
  • From my greenhorn point of view as a first time season OWS. I think I am hearing far too much fun poking in general about triathletes in general from OWS. I think this isolates us and we lose our credibility. In general it is just not cool to make fun of other athletes that train hard and have dreams. I do not mean this thread directly, but I hear it a lot in social media. They have less body fat, and they wear them also for protection. I am tri-ing for 10 years, and I hate being scratched, kicked and hit at the start. My neo' gives me a feeling of protection.
    Now, I also want to say here and I know it will not make me very popular, that until you have swum 3,8, biked 180, and run 42,2 (all together) finishing before the cut off time, then you have, in my eyes, earned the right to have a go at making fun of them.
    My tri team have been very supportive of my training, and this humbles me. Please keep this in mind, we are all just athletes and we have to stick together.

    Sisu: a Finnish term meaning strength of will, determination, perseverance, and acting rationally in the face of adversity.

  • timsroottimsroot Spring, TXCharter Member
    In addition to what @niek said, as a former cyclist, triathletes in groups make me nervous. I've seen some very poor bike handling among triathletes that I was amazed didn't result in more crashes.

    I respect the fitness triathletes have, and there are some who can ride comfortably and safely in a pack, but those seem to be the exception, not the rule.

    Adding to what niek said, many triathletes seem to view the swim as an almost unnecessary hurdle instead of a valid sport.

    I have triathlete friends, but I'm not overly interested in competing in one at this point.
  • I don't get the antipathy that Ows have towards triathletes.

    I love ows I'm not in the league of you guys on here distance wise (hopefully I will address that in the next 2 months) but I swim year round in the sea and I love partaking in triathlons. Nearly all my local ow swimmers snear a little when they see me put on my wetsuit for a "long" swim, even though they all know I can swim as well as most and better than lots of them with or without my wetsuit.

    I wear a wetsuit to allow me to swim longer earlier and later each season, I take it off when the water warms a little and also when it gets so cold that I can only splash and dash.

    I just don't get the problem, I never hear tri people slagging off ow swimmers or slagging cyclists or runners but you do hear it coming the other way?

    Can anyone explain why that is?

  • timsroottimsroot Spring, TXCharter Member
    @inthepocket - I've been told directly that my interests were "too one disciplined". I've also had people seem very surprised that I wouldn't wear a wetsuit in 75 degree water. Or that some swims won't count the swim, regardless of water temperature, if a wetsuit is worn
  • Ok I can see the issue regarding the wetsuits.

    Is this not a result of health and safety gone mad in modern society and the organizers being worried about being sued? As well as suit manufacturers money.
  • timsroottimsroot Spring, TXCharter Member

    Ok I can see the issue regarding the wetsuits.

    Is this not a result of health and safety gone mad in modern society and the organizers being worried about being sued? As well as suit manufacturers money.

    If they were that much safer, then you would expect a better fatality record from triathlons, wouldn't you? This goes back to @Niek's pint about learning to swim properly.
  • I think you misunderstand me Niek

    If someone organizing a swim or triathlon or any event for that matter is not seen to take all reasonable precautions they can be held liable for reasons of negligence. So they all go over the top trying to protect themselves by insisting on wetsuits or cancelling events at the first sign of a wave etc.

    Different countries different laws but it's hard to argue that most societies arnt getting more and more litigious in these areas.

    @timsroot there are rude people in lots of walks of life, who ever said your focus was too one dimensional was being at best inconsiderate and probably just up themselves.

    By the way I think what you guys do is amazing and inspiring.
  • @timsroot
    Safety is not the issue in my opinion, ass covering as a result of health and safety legislation and laws is the issue.

    being seen to have taken all possible step to ensure safety of those for whom you have a duty of care is pretty priceless if you wind up in a court accused of negligence.

    I have no idea about fatalities or injuries in either ows or triathlon.
  • Man, did I open a can of worms-good we talk about it. My point was more about respect, as athletes. Yes many are wimps about cold water, but some are fierce as hell, and angry when swims get cancelled.

    Sisu: a Finnish term meaning strength of will, determination, perseverance, and acting rationally in the face of adversity.

  • timsroottimsroot Spring, TXCharter Member

    Man, did I open a can of worms-good we talk about it. My point was more about respect, as athletes. Yes many are wimps about cold water, but some are fierce as hell, and angry when swims get cancelled.

    That goes both ways, I think. I've picked up a decent amount of disrespect from triathletes because I "only" compete in one sport.

    But it is what it is. I don't swim to make friends, although I've made dear friends in this sport. I don't race for prizes, although they can be nice. I don't expect people to understand why I want to swim such long swims in such cold water without a wetsuit. People seem to dismiss me as a crazy person, and most days, I'm okay with it.

  • Fair enough Timsroot. For any over opinionated triathletes you may encounter.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1KTEgLKhjIwI hope the link works.

    Sisu: a Finnish term meaning strength of will, determination, perseverance, and acting rationally in the face of adversity.

  • IronMikeIronMike Arlington, VACharter Member
    I'll give another perspective. I've been recruited by a local tri club to coach their masters swim team because of my OW and marathon experience. Only been doing it two weeks but I've had a great experience with these folks.
    We give each other crap, good natured joshing about their fear of water below 76* and my lack of running ability.
    I've made it clear in the past my problems with triathletes in triathlete-organized OW swims. But what do I expect? I entered those races knowing full well I'd be swimming with skinny endurance junkies who see no problem with resting on kayaks, swimming with pull buoys or walking shallow sections of a 4k race. ;)

    Please join the Lake Issyk Kul Swimming Federation on FB!

  • Niek, that was the swim start, everyone swims like that in the start. You keep your limbs close to your body and your head up until it thins out, or else you get hit in the face or your fingers hurt. What I do think though is that they do depend too much on their suits yes, and they don't kick enough. From all the running they have shorter ligaments (a swim coach told me this, don't know if it is true) and they have trouble with foot flexibility.
    This is an interesting point though Niek. I think that as a hobby triathlete it is difficult to get really good in all the disciplines, and so you focus on that which is easiest/faster to get faster in e.g. the bike. Swimming is so complex and it takes dedicated time to get good at, and if you learn it as an adult, even harder.

    Sisu: a Finnish term meaning strength of will, determination, perseverance, and acting rationally in the face of adversity.

  • timsroottimsroot Spring, TXCharter Member
    edited June 2013
    @dawntreader - or you start after the pack has Left if you don't want to get in a fight

    Not kicking enough is BS, I barely kick at all. For my 25k, the only times i kicked were trading water to feed, and the last 400 meters or so. But, folks who run a lot do tend to have very poor ankle flexibility, which means that their kick does next to nothing, and maybe even inhibits progress
  • Don't tell me that the first time you used goggles was at a race meet.
    If you did that than your time was worthless because all you did during the race was thinking of your tight fitting goggles or they were hanging around your neck for the whole race.

    What? Now we triathletes are so stupid that we don't even know how to put on goggles?
    gele kaart Niek!!!!!!!

    Sisu: a Finnish term meaning strength of will, determination, perseverance, and acting rationally in the face of adversity.

  • malinakamalinaka Seattle, WACharter Member
    edited June 2013
    I read through this thread earlier today and, as expected, took my usual view on the issue. Having nothing to contribute that hadn't already been said, I moved on and thought no more about it. Until, that is, I read Susan Schorn's most recent article on McSweeny's.

    In this piece of her column, she looks at the Boston bombings through a few different personal lenses and the whole things a really good read, but the line that got me thinking was this: "I would be ashamed to be invulnerable...Because whatever compassion we possess springs from our vulnerability."

    Now I say this as someone whose mantra is "nothing about the sea can ever hurt me," and regularly put that to the test (yes, it has been invalidated many times, but I still go with it), as someone who inwardly sneers at those wetsuit weenies wearers, because I Just. Can't. Understand why they'd wear them! Of course I can't...because I'm as close to invulnerable in the water as one could ever hope to be. And many of you are, too.

    Looking at my perceived invulnerability from this angle has finally helped me understand why I always take the same side in the wetsuit discussion. I want to proudly say I sympathize with both sides and it's all completely clear, but this is a big shift in perspective for me and that could take ages to come around to. I feel like I should have pondered this a bit more and shared with you the brainy breakthrough that will happen after reflecting on my vulnerabilities. However, I'd much rather share the spark with you than I would my own results. So, meditate on that while you're marathon swimming.

    That said: 88F in a wetsuit? You gotta be joking!

    I don't wear a wetsuit; it gives the ocean a sporting chance.

  • bobswimsbobswims OregonCharter Member
    Just a few comments

    1) Racing triathlons is fun and the people are great.
    2) The variety of training different disciplines is easier mentally to train for than marathon swimming is.
    3) I have never done an IM distance race, but I still think I can talk critically about the sport. I was raised a Catholic so I can criticize the Church. Same rule.
    4) If I went to see a triathlon and saw a marathon swimmer on the run leg, I'd probably criticize them.
    5) I think if you can't easily swim the race distance in OW without assistance you have no business entering the race. The same rule applies to the bike. If you can't race the distance without falling off your bike you have no business being in the race.
    6) I always wore a wetsuit for the speed gained. The only time I didn't was because race organizer said it was just under the cutoff temperature. Probably .01° below the no wetsuit cutoff. I missed a top 10 out of the water because everyone else wore one.
    7) I never trained in my wetsuit, probably in part because I rarely train in OW. Just too much travel time (except I just found a place close) and I find training with a clock is a better workout for me. If I lived near the ocean I'd be in all the time, but a lake? It's just a pool without lane lines. :-)
  • This is a long time coming apology to Niek. I'm beginning to notice some weird stuff that I never noticed before. It's not even worth mentioning, but I just want Niek to know that he is right. (generally speaking of course)

    Sisu: a Finnish term meaning strength of will, determination, perseverance, and acting rationally in the face of adversity.

  • IronMikeIronMike Arlington, VACharter Member
    I deal with this often while coaching a tri club. Some look at me funny when I tell them to bring their wetsuit to practice.

    They also balk when I give them the following workout:

    5 x 100:
    1: twice per 50 flip over and do 5 strokes on your back;
    2: twice per 50 flip over and do one-arm back for 3 strokes, (left down, right back);
    3: as above but with your non stroking arm, hold your goggle cup (one-arm stroke with left, then hold the right goggle cup with your right hand, etc);
    4: as above, but this time lift the goggle cup up, tilt your head to drain water;
    5: as per #1 above, or: as #4 above but fill the left cup with water on first 50, fill right cup on second 50.

    You cannot believe the outrage when I recommend they fill one side of their goggles with water to simulate a leaky pair!

    Please join the Lake Issyk Kul Swimming Federation on FB!

  • @Niek, as your apposing voice in regards to triathletes, you should know that last Wednesday I think I lost some tri colleagues during a swim training with a tri- team. (I swim with 2 groups because pool traffic is pretty bad here and I am still a triathlete.) Our coach was absent but he left us a program. Half of the team was wearing paddles or fins for the complete training even though there was no mention of equipment on the program. They were racing and swimming like devils for the warm up. After the warm up we had to do 800 x 50 m technique- 50 m IM and you could choose your drills. They all were just doing front crawl for the whole session. I was trying to focus on sculling drills and they were bashing right and left into me. It seemed to me that they were only swimming with the purpose of being competitive and faster than the next guy and that quality and improvement had nothing to do with their training. Finally when they all stopped for a break after their sprinting spree, I caught up with them and told them what I thought of their idiocy and they just looked stupefied when I moved over to the next lane. I will never ever swim with them again. Thought you should know.

    Sisu: a Finnish term meaning strength of will, determination, perseverance, and acting rationally in the face of adversity.

  • IronMikeIronMike Arlington, VACharter Member
    Wow, that's a hell of a set, 800x50. ;)

    Seriously, @Dawn_Treader, I feel for you. I've had weird experiences with triathletes in OW swims. So, now I coach them hoping to rub off good technique ("Do as I say, not as I do!") and lane etiquette and respect for open water on them.

    Please join the Lake Issyk Kul Swimming Federation on FB!

  • hahah @IronMike, yes it was just a typo. it was 800 m , every other 50 a technique and the other 50 anything but front crawl, and they did just the opposite. I joined the masters group now, but I am really not good enough to swim with them, but they are happy to have me and you have to start somewhere. Right?

    Sisu: a Finnish term meaning strength of will, determination, perseverance, and acting rationally in the face of adversity.

  • heartheart San Francisco, CACharter Member
    Many of the triathlon books I've read provide abundant advice on the run and the bike and admit cluelessness with regard to the swim. Their advice starts and ends with "it's a mysterious sport, so just join a masters team - they'll know what to do with you."
  • ttriventtriven Senior Member

    Is this not a result of health and safety gone mad in modern society and the organizers being worried about being sued? As well as suit manufacturers money.

    Inthepocket, since you asked, there is a very specific reason for the ruling, last year a triathlete died in SF after diving in the water and going into cardiac arrest. This sparked a movement to put limits on temps. According to the SF Chronicle

    "In all, rescuers pulled about 150 swimmers from the swim portion of the race, more than three times the normal number, Burke said. Water temperatures were about 51 degrees, air temperatures hovered in the mid-50s and 11-mph winds made the air feel closer to the mid-40s. Normally, when the race is held in June, the bay is anywhere from 54 to 60 degrees, and air temperatures can be in the 70s or higher."

    I think it's common knowledge that many triathletes come to the race unprepared for the swim. I don't think 1% of the participants were prepared for a swim that cold, with or without a wetsuit. Legal implications aside, supposed general wimpiness of triathletes aside, that race organizer has to live many more years thinking about that man. There are many different sides to the story, but what resonates with me is that an organizer can feel pressure to go forward - financial pressure, sponsor pressure, athlete pressure - when it might not be best for all involved. These rules take the pressure off, and can possibly save lives.

    I've done a few triathlons but pretty much quit after doing a half IM in about 100 degree weather. I don't normally run to the corner store in 100 degrees, but I showed up for a race, opened the car door, and almost cried at the blistering heat. I was told it would be hot. But not this hot. My age group went last, and I got off the bike at... 12:30pm. I started to run but could only jog/walk the rest of the 13 miles. I had to step over bodies that had passed out (help was on the way I was told). I was passed by women who should never be passing me. They were fast walking, much more efficient than jog/walk I guess. I'm just now realizing that was probably the day I stopped making fun of triathletes. (despite participating I never considered myself one of them, or else I would have been making fun of myself!)
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