Why does a triathlete thinks it's normal?

NiekNiek Heiloo, NetherlandsMember
edited May 2013 in General Discussion
I read Not Your Normal Open Water Swim Tips
while the other swimmers (min 1 max 4) aims to simulate race conditions. The group swimmers deliberately knock or disrupt the chosen swimmer, the contact between swimmers should be progressive and should only increase when the chosen swimmer agrees what type of contact is prescribed. Be sensible and keep it safe.
Are there no rules against this kind of behaviour in a tri-swim? And if there are why aren't they enforced?

To answer my own questions, yes there are rules.
Rule Book - British Triathlon Federation
25.2 Competitors shall at all times swim so they do not deliberately obstruct or interfere with other competitors. Making contact other than by accident shall be declared unsporting impedance.
Penalty disqualification: rule 29.5 i

So why aren't they enforced?
I think because the numbers of competitors are to great for the amount of officials to oversee and control. This results in the above and other articles learning to behave wrong in order to win. And it results in the also discussed Alcatraz triathlon where safety in the water was lousy if any.

It's time the triathlon world changes attitude and teaches their own to obey the rules, not how to bend them.
The officials must penalize more. Eventually the athletes will start to behave and less penalties will be necessary.
Organizations must lower the entry numbers to the level that their officials can manage.
http://openwaterswimming.eu - Cold, wind, waves, sunburn, currents, jellyfish and flotsam! Hop in and join the fun!

Comments

  • IronMikeIronMike Bishkek, KyrgyzstanCharter Member
    Interestingly I read somewhere, I think in @Munatones book, about putting petroleum jelly around your ankles so when your OW competitors grab your ankles to get ahead of you they can't get a grip.
    I'll try to find the reference.
  • IronMikeIronMike Bishkek, KyrgyzstanCharter Member
    Page 194 in Open Water Swimming under the heading Equipment, bullet 2
  • IronMikeIronMike Bishkek, KyrgyzstanCharter Member
    But more to your point @Niek, I agree with you.
    I may have opportunity to find out soon. More later.
  • dc_in_sfdc_in_sf San FranciscoMember
    edited May 2013
    I've swum in a few mass start open water swims and I can ensure you that this sort of contact is not isolated to the triathlon world...

    It is almost certainly a cause of anxiety for poor or inexperienced swimmers, but for a beach start I'm not sure it is a major safety concern. Swimmers can easily avoid it as well by starting at the back of the pack or at the edges.
    http://notdrowningswimming.com - open water adventures of a very ordinary swimmer
  • NiekNiek Heiloo, NetherlandsMember
    edited May 2013
    There should be enough officials and those officials should penalize bad behaviour. (enforce the rules)Than ultimately this behaviour will be the exception and not the norm.
    I can't speak for Dutch triathlon events but you won't find this kind of behaviour at Dutch openwater events
    http://openwaterswimming.eu - Cold, wind, waves, sunburn, currents, jellyfish and flotsam! Hop in and join the fun!
  • I’m not sure how you officiate a mass start like this one at the Kona Ironman Championship.

    In years past I’ve slimed my legs up with Vaseline for the large mass starts at the La Jolla and Waikiki Rough Water swims. It does work, if they start to grab they let go in a hurry.
  • heartheart Member
    edited May 2013
    This thread reminded me of this terrific commentary:
  • IronMikeIronMike Bishkek, KyrgyzstanCharter Member
  • NiekNiek Heiloo, NetherlandsMember

    I’m not sure how you officiate a mass start like this one at the Kona Ironman Championship.

    Disqualify the organization.

    Those mass starts are wrong for 2 main reasons
    a/ safety reasons
    b/ facilitating unsportsmanlike behaviour

    Why not less competitors and (more) wave starts? =>money + prestige
    http://openwaterswimming.eu - Cold, wind, waves, sunburn, currents, jellyfish and flotsam! Hop in and join the fun!
  • Disqualify the organization.

    The Kona Ironman Championship is main event for the Ironman Corporation, the only ones who can disqualify them is them. Not going to happen for this for profit corporation. However as noted in link on a previous thread they are experimenting with changes in some of there events this year in hopes of making the starts a bit more tolerable.

    http://www.marathonswimmers.org/forum/discussion/472/ironman-news-about-swimming-changes-
  • I'd be interested to hear what the real open water swimming world has to say about contact. There was a case in NZ late last year in which a leading swimmer was DQed after swimming across the path of a following swimmer. He argues that, as the leading swimmer, FINA rules gave him right of way. But the organisers accused him of unsportsmanlike conduct. Some, random contact is unavoidable in pack swimming. Comes with the activity. Doesn't mean it's malign. Can't be completely scrubbed out.

    That said, it's incumbent on those with influence at least to encourage a culture of sportspersonlike behaviour, which should be about allowing swimmers to swim unimpeded by intentional obstruction, while recognising the right of a leading swimmer to choose their line.
  • I have a good friend in SISC who is known for trying to drown his mates during races, he's very fair in that he reserves it for his friends...

    I've never initiated contact during a race, but if someone does try to swim on top of me to intimidate me or push me off my line in my middle-of-the-pack position, I would't back off from it. And if someone tries to take an inside line, I don't give mine up easily. Skin has been lost.
  • WaterGirlWaterGirl Charter Member
    The passage that @Niek is quoting at the start of this thread is a tip for simulating
    race conditions. It's suggesting that people should deliberately initiate contact in practice so that they'll be prepared for contact in a race. That's good advice. In a race, 90% of contact is accidental, but it's still scary if you're not prepared for it.

    I've swam in 25 open water events in the past 3 years (not including kayak-escorted events like Swim the Suck or SCAR). I even did the swim for Ironman Arizona (>2,500 swimmers in a mass start). I've never seen a problem with unsportmanlike conduct. I've seen contact that might be unnerving, but nothing that would give a person an unfair advantage or be seriously dangerous.

    Yes, I have had people grab my ankles. I have no idea why they would want to do that, but I can shake them off with a flutter kick pretty easily. It ends up being an advantage for me because my adrenaline goes thru the roof, and I speed up.

    If someone muscles his/her way past me, I use that to my advantage too. I stay on their feet and catch a draft for a little while. If they really are faster than I am, I get a free speed boost. If not, I take a few moments of rest and sprint to overtake them. Again, the adrenaline makes me a lot faster.

    Contact, even if it is deliberate, hardly ever hurts. The only way you're going to hurt someone is with a closed fist or a breast stroke kick.

    Open Water Swimming is a contact sport. It's exciting, and it can be scary. Everyone has a choice of hanging back or swimming wide to avoid contact. If you're experienced/brave enough to get into the eye of the storm, you have a huge advantage.

    I'm appalled at the idea of trying to tame this Most Fun of All Sports.
  • IronMikeIronMike Bishkek, KyrgyzstanCharter Member

    There was a case in NZ late last year in which a leading swimmer was DQed after swimming across the path of a following swimmer. He argues that, as the leading swimmer, FINA rules gave him right of way. ...while recognizing the right of a leading swimmer to choose their line.

    I'm okay with this rational, as long as the leading swimmer is taking a direct line to the finish or next buoy. If I were a judge, I'd take that into account. (I don't know the NZ case, so I'm not saying that guy did or did not take a direct line.)

    Oh, and @oceanswims, I corrected your misspelling of "recognizing." ;)
  • IronMikeIronMike Bishkek, KyrgyzstanCharter Member
    WaterGirl said:


    I'm appalled at the idea of trying to tame this Most Fun of All Sports.

    I'm with you @WaterGirl. The potential for contact and the benefit of drafting are things I like about OW swimming.
  • I've done a number of swim legs on triathlon relays and I've never been beaten up as badly as during those brief swims.
    I'm pretty mild-mannered by any standard and in the first and second races I was shocked at how I was getting clobbered and I didn't retaliate. In the third race, I let my inner "Jersey boy" come out and anyone who made more than casual contact got better than they gave.
    Interestingly, they often start the relay teams with the women here and the woman are just as bad as the men. However, I won't retaliate against a woman (call me "sexist", I suppose) and have ended up with some pretty nasty nail scratches and bruises as a result.
    I agree, triathletes are bad news in terms of roughness.

    -LBJ
    "Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go." - T.S. Eliot
  • NiekNiek Heiloo, NetherlandsMember

    @WaterGirl I'm appalled at the idea of trying to tame this Most Fun of All Sports. and @IronMike The potential for contact and the benefit of drafting are things I like about OW swimming.

    Contact and drafting ain't the same as deep scratches and blue eyes.
    http://openwaterswimming.eu - Cold, wind, waves, sunburn, currents, jellyfish and flotsam! Hop in and join the fun!
  • Niek said:

    Contact and drafting ain't the same as deep scratches and blue eyes.

    I agree, but it still happens. I've accidentally kicked friends in the face before during race starts. I didn't even realize I had done it until they said something after the race. To an extent, if you are going to stick that many swimmers in that confined of an area, you're going to get contact, and some if it is going to be nasty. I agree that if it is intentional, the person should be red carded and removed from the water. But, as has been mentioned previously in the thread, how do you expect to patrol the start of a 5,000 person race?
  • WaterGirlWaterGirl Charter Member
    It's not your fault if you kick someone (unless you're swimming breaststroke). Feet don't have eyes. It's a swimmer's job to keep his/her head out of people's feet. If you can't find a foot-free spot to stick your head at the start, you have to doggie paddle for a moment. I put my head down a second or two before the gun goes off to make sure I have room for my face.

    During the start and around the first turn, I kick a little more gently. During those times, I stop kicking for a moment if my foot connects with someone. But you can't count on other people being experienced/nice enough to do that. It's best to watch for feet.

    I've been kicked in the face plenty before I learned all this. It doesn't really hurt or leave a mark, unless you have the bad luck to shove your goggles into someone's foot.

    The only type of retaliation that makes sense is winning. For one thing, it's impossible to know if the person was actually trying to be agressive. "Never explain by malice that which can be explained by incompetence." It's common for the person beating you up to actually think that you're the one doing the beating. That happens when they don't swim straight or are sighting on you instead of feeling for the bubbles.

    Retaliation also wastes mental and physical energy. There's no way to *get* someone without slowing yourself down. Better to just beat the person to the finish line.
  • NiekNiek Heiloo, NetherlandsMember
    @WaterGirl except for (unless you're swimming breaststroke) I agree with you.
    If someone before you is swimming breaststroke you have to take a wider berth around that person.
    http://openwaterswimming.eu - Cold, wind, waves, sunburn, currents, jellyfish and flotsam! Hop in and join the fun!
  • Niek said:

    @WaterGirl except for (unless you're swimming breaststroke) I agree with you.
    If someone before you is swimming breaststroke you have to take a wider berth around that person.

    True. But if you stop and swim breaststroke in traffic, you're a Dick
  • ChickenOSeaChickenOSea Charter Member
    Happens a lot around turn buoys. People suddenly change to breaststroke. I got a pretty big kick to my boob in Big Shoulders.
  • NiekNiek Heiloo, NetherlandsMember
    edited June 2013

    Ironman Coeur d'Alene: Scot Bates, of Southlake, Texas, said he appreciates the new Ironman SwimSmart Initiative, which also debuts at the Ironman in Lake Placid, N.Y., on July 28.

    “Loved it. It was about 20 times safer than last year,” Bates said Sunday after emerging from the lake in one hour, 20 minutes.

    His first Ironman was last year in Coeur d’Alene, and he remembers the cold, choppy water and mass start. “It was nuts,” he said.

    But Jacob Gilden, of Arlington, Va., said he prefers the challenge of a mass start.

    “I was really disappointed when they changed the swim,” Gilden said. “I won’t do another race where they don’t do a mass start, honestly. I think it’s a critical part of the race, and to get rid of it is really unfortunate.”

    Jacob should take up kickboxing.
    http://openwaterswimming.eu - Cold, wind, waves, sunburn, currents, jellyfish and flotsam! Hop in and join the fun!
  • JonMLJonML Member
    Niek said:


    But Jacob Gilden, of Arlington, Va., said he prefers the challenge of a mass start.

    “I was really disappointed when they changed the swim,” Gilden said. “I won’t do another race where they don’t do a mass start, honestly. I think it’s a critical part of the race, and to get rid of it is really unfortunate.”

    Jacob should take up kickboxing.
    He already has. He's just disappointed that he won't be able to put it into practice.

    Jon

  • in my 3rd open water swim i got caught in the middle of a small pack. The guys in front of me where too slow but I couldn't get around them immediately as I was boxed in. The guys behind were a little faster. I had to do a little breast stroke just to stop swimming into the guys but the poor guys behind me did get a few smacks in the head. I felt really bad but i didn't know what else to do. Eventually a gap opened and i got out to the side of the pack. Next time I'll just position myself better at the start if possible
  • NiekNiek Heiloo, NetherlandsMember
    It's like with trafic. The one coming from behind has to watch out and keep distance.
    http://openwaterswimming.eu - Cold, wind, waves, sunburn, currents, jellyfish and flotsam! Hop in and join the fun!
  • mongoose said:

    I had to do a little breast stroke just to stop swimming into the guys but the poor guys behind me did get a few smacks in the head. I felt really bad but i didn't know what else to do.

    Niek said:

    It's like with trafic. The one coming from behind has to watch out and keep distance.

    I don't think that very many people actively seek out contact/combat, but it does happen. There are a lot of people in not a lot of space. BUt @Niek is exactly right, you need to keep an eye on what's going on around you.

    I've heard race car drivers put it this way: The front of my car is my responsibility to keep out of trouble. The back of my car is the responsibility of the guy behind me. I don't think it's exactly that simple, but I think it's a pretty good point.
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