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View Full Version : Triathletes should be certified by USMS (SCAQ)



Muppet
August 19th, 2009, 11:44 AM
Story (http://scaq.blogspot.com/2009/08/triathletes-should-be-certified-by-usms.html)

Ken Classen
August 19th, 2009, 03:27 PM
We already have too many nannies, no certification just greater transparency and warnings. Such as; don't be a Darwin award winner or do you want your obituary to read “his overconfidence lead to his death” Plus, as a swim coach do I want to sign off on a certification and then the guy croaks anyway? I’m thinking I open myself up for liability.

djacks
August 19th, 2009, 03:56 PM
I’m torn on this issue. I’ve seen some horrendous swimmers in the pool training for a triathlon and just shook my head in wonderment at the potential consequences. However, I also agree with Ken about not wanting a nanny to look out for everyone. Life is a gamble.

I’ve got quite a bit of open water experience and I’ve dealt with the initial anxiety pangs and soaring heart rate. Cold water seems to exacerbate this. I know to anticipate this and have learned to handle it; a beginner may not.

The significant difference with the swim leg in a triathlon is that if I’m unprepared for the bike or run, it’s not a big deal. If I’m unprepared for the swim, it’s potentially life threatening.

lefty
August 19th, 2009, 04:52 PM
We already have too many nannies, no certification just greater transparency and warnings. Such as; don't be a Darwin award winner or do you want your obituary to read “his overconfidence lead to his death” Plus, as a swim coach do I want to sign off on a certification and then the guy croaks anyway? I’m thinking I open myself up for liability.


of course the inverse is true. "Why did you let my husband compete in this event? He was not informed properly of the danger." I don't think "too many nannies," or liability really matter. I just care that people are dieing at a high rate. More than 1 every 200 races. Yuck.

SolarEnergy
August 19th, 2009, 05:15 PM
as both a triathlon and a swimming coach, I find this idea ridiculous.

If triathlon needs more regulations, then the body that should implement these rules should be a Triathlon body, not a master swimmer's body.

aquageek
August 19th, 2009, 07:23 PM
90% of the reason I took up the triathloning was to amuse myself at the terrifying swimming I see in races. The other 10% was to annoy Paul Smith.

flyincip
August 19th, 2009, 07:51 PM
I understand the wanting to have some sort of governing body have swimmers tested for swimming and heart issues but there is no way to how a person will act when 1) racing in a pack 2) getting off the start in pack. Those are usually the most times when the heart rates will spike because of fear, excitement and adrenaline, especially with new triathletes.

People with heart issues might still be cleared because of poor detection or never having a issue prior. Some people that have been training for years sometimes die because their hearts are too large from training all of those years.

When people sign-up for races most people sign a waiver and see that injury and death are a possibility. In any athletic event there is a chance of injury and there are many ways of overcoming it, proper training is a good way to handle it.

Muppet
August 19th, 2009, 08:18 PM
Interesting responses so far; I didn't have time to weigh in on my opinion earlier. Due to the danger of this leg of triathlon, I think it makes sense to somehow encourage weaker swimmers to take swim lessons. Since USMS brags about its affiliation with USAT in the recently published promotional materials, this could be a great opportunity for USMS and USAT to work together.

There are events whose swims take place in pools that provide a more controlled environment - but for those events with longer swims in open water, there is considerably higher risk. I think it would be wise for USAT to provide event directors with a mechanism by which they can better ensure that their participants will finish the swim - with a certification done by USMS.

One way to provide this certification is to hold distance meets at opportune times of the year (winter, prior to spring tri season; summer, in the middle of tri season). These meets are a great way for distance swimmers to swim their babies - and for triathletes to gain confidence and test their training prior to and/or during their spring/summer season. At the Colonies Zone SCY Championship meet, 60% the entrants in the 1000 and 1650 were from the triathlete teams.

elise526
August 20th, 2009, 12:15 AM
Having worked with a number of beginner triathletes that did not have a swim background, I'm not sure certification based on pool swims would be helpful. Many folks are fine in the pool, but panic in open water because they cannot see the bottom, the darkness freaks them out, the open water intimidates them, and they cannot rest on the wall.

Perhaps a solution is a qualifying process for triathlons with swims of more than 400 yards. Before a triathlete can compete in a triathlon with an open water swim of 500 or 600 yards, he/she must have completed a triathlon with an open water swim of 300 or 400 yards. For a triathlon with a 1/2 mile swim, said triathlete must have completed a triathlon with an open water swim of at least 600 yards. For an Olympic distance triathlon, said triathlete must have completed a triathlon with a 1/2 mile open water swim.

Swimmers who have competed in OW swims should be allowed to use their prior OW races as qualifying races for the triathlons. There might also be a requirement that before a triathlete can compete in a triathlon with an open water swim of 400 yards or less, said triathlete must have completed a triathlon with a pool swim of equal distance.

sarge
August 20th, 2009, 01:10 AM
But what about all the open water swims that require no certification? All they do is say "Do not attempt this if you cannot swim a mile comfortably in a pool in under 40 minutes."

The first time I swam the Tiburon Mile in the 63 degree SF Bay, nobody asked me for any certification or even proof that I could swim.

Are designated OW events different from triathlons?

ViveBene
August 20th, 2009, 06:58 AM
Having worked with a number of beginner triathletes that did not have a swim background, I'm not sure certification based on pool swims would be helpful. Many folks are fine in the pool, but panic in open water because they cannot see the bottom, the darkness freaks them out, the open water intimidates them, and they cannot rest on the wall.

Perhaps a solution is a qualifying process for triathlons with swims of more than 400 yards. Before a triathlete can compete in a triathlon with an open water swim of 500 or 600 yards, he/she must have completed a triathlon with an open water swim of 300 or 400 yards. For a triathlon with a 1/2 mile swim, said triathlete must have completed a triathlon with an open water swim of at least 600 yards. For an Olympic distance triathlon, said triathlete must have completed a triathlon with a 1/2 mile open water swim.
<snip>


This makes sense. As the Harbor Springs organizers said, it isn't the distance, it's the cold and the dark and the fishes. Plus, for novice tri swimmers, the mass of hulking bodies ready to mow them down. I do see more OW training of tris this year, as well as something called Team in Training. Training for the entire tri experience seems a sound approach.

chaos
August 20th, 2009, 07:25 AM
if safety is the main concern, there are two easy solutions:

make the swim leg of triathlons reflect 1/3 third of the time of the race. this will discourage many non-swimmers from attempting them. in ow, people do a good job of self policing their abilities. where just about anyone will give a mile swim a try, the numbers drop considerably as the distance increases.

put the swim at the end of the race. how about: run/ bike/ swim? are people dying in mass run start events? by the time people get to the swim, the field will be spread out and it will be easier to watch the swimmers.

Leonard Jansen
August 20th, 2009, 07:37 AM
put the swim at the end of the race. how about: run/ bike/ swim? are people dying in mass run start events? by the time people get to the swim, the field will be spread out and it will be easier to watch the swimmers.

Hmmmmm... I'm not sure about having a person who is a lousy swimmer, probably dehydrated and tired, attempt the most dangerous portion of the race in that condition. However, it would be fun to watch them try to get their wetsuits on.

-LBJ

chaos
August 20th, 2009, 07:55 AM
Hmmmmm... I'm not sure about having a person who is a lousy swimmer, probably dehydrated and tired, attempt the most dangerous portion of the race in that condition. However, it would be fun to watch them try to get their wetsuits on.

-LBJ

a lousy swimmer could probably swim a mile more easily without 1000 people swimming over them. also... it would be easier for those charged with watching said swimmers to spot one having trouble.

sarge
August 20th, 2009, 09:07 AM
I think that perhaps a lot of the published triathlon training plans, programs, schedules, need to be revised for a greater emphasis on swimming.

I remember looking at a few when I was doing triathlons, and thinking "wow, that's not very much swimming."

Chlorine
August 20th, 2009, 09:46 AM
I don't know much about the whole triathlon thing as I am just getting back into swimming, so I may be talking out of my rear here. But the few guys I see at my pool every day training for their triathlons seem to rely entirely on pool toys for their swims, which from what I can gather, is not the greatest approach? There is one guy who uses paddles, buoys and fins for about 90% of his workout....what happens once he hits the open water without all that gear?

And although there are many amazing athletes who do compete in these events, triathlons seem to attract alot of folks who do it simply because they think its "cool" which is not a problem in and of itself if you train properly, but I can see it becoming an issue if you are not willing to do the hard work to make sure you are fit for the competition. For example, one other guy at my pool spends about half his time bragging to whomever will listen that he is a triathlete...these are people I can see getting into some major trouble in the water.

djacks
August 20th, 2009, 10:42 AM
For example, one other guy at my pool spends about half his time bragging to whomever will listen that he is a triathlete...these are people I can see getting into some major trouble in the water.

How do you tell who the triathlete is? You don't...they tell you.:)

Muppet
August 20th, 2009, 11:19 AM
But what about all the open water swims that require no certification? All they do is say "Do not attempt this if you cannot swim a mile comfortably in a pool in under 40 minutes."

The first time I swam the Tiburon Mile in the 63 degree SF Bay, nobody asked me for any certification or even proof that I could swim.

Are designated OW events different from triathlons?

Good point. But I'd argue that a larger portion of OW swimmers already swim regularly, most with a USMS team, and that is what differentiates OW swimmers from triathletes - they actually train swimming!

This goes back to my point about hosting distance meets - they're a great barometer for anyone looking to do a longer-distance race.

chaos
August 20th, 2009, 11:25 AM
Good point. But I'd argue that a larger portion of OW swimmers already swim regularly, most with a USMS team, and that is what differentiates OW swimmers from triathletes - they actually train swimming!

This goes back to my point about hosting distance meets - they're a great barometer for anyone looking to do a longer-distance race.

no amount of pool swimming can really prepare someone for being in the middle of 2000 thrashing bodies in the ocean

swimshark
August 20th, 2009, 11:30 AM
Perhaps a solution is a qualifying process for triathlons with swims of more than 400 yards. Before a triathlete can compete in a triathlon with an open water swim of 500 or 600 yards, he/she must have completed a triathlon with an open water swim of 300 or 400 yards. For a triathlon with a 1/2 mile swim, said triathlete must have completed a triathlon with an open water swim of at least 600 yards. For an Olympic distance triathlon, said triathlete must have completed a triathlon with a 1/2 mile open water swim.

Who is going to be the one verifying all of this? The race director who might have 800 or 1000 entrants? The USAT official who is usually a volunteer? Or will it be on the honor system? Everyone signs a waiver that they are fit and can handle the race. They take on their own liability and in most cases they are adults. If they find themselves in trouble during the swim, they need to flag down a boat. Maybe more boats are needed at each race. Perhaps so many boats per race participants.

I agree with Ken. We don't need more nannies. This is a USAT issue, not a USMS issue.

chaos
August 20th, 2009, 11:46 AM
[QUOTE=swimshark; We don't need more nannies. This is a USAT issue, not a USMS issue.[/QUOTE]

agreed.
there was however quite a movement to create a mandatory wetsuit division for USMS sanctioned openwater events. one of the primary reasons (as it was argued) was to generate greater participation among the tri crowd.

Ken Classen
August 20th, 2009, 11:58 AM
First, I think it is unlikely that USAT would implement certification programs. Triathlon is a business and becoming a big business. They are put on by Production companies for profit. Not all of them are for charity and even the ones that are, hire production companies for a fee to put the race on. More participants equals more dollars.

Second, who is most responsible for a participants well being, the race organiziers or the individual? I know this is not current trend in this country but I vote for the individual. Individual freedom includes the freedom to fail and or die in there persuit of happiness.

Third, what happens when someone goes belly up even though they were "certified" is there an investigation, were standards not high enough were the trainers incompetent?

Finally, as an organization (USMS) we should warn potential participants of the dangers, educate, provide clinics and training but not place restrictions on people.

Plus, I for one enjoy reading the Darwin awards....:) There carbon friendly.

One may avoid reality, but one cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality.
(Ayn Rand)

sarge
August 20th, 2009, 11:59 AM
put the swim at the end of the race. how about: run/ bike/ swim? are people dying in mass run start events? by the time people get to the swim, the field will be spread out and it will be easier to watch the swimmers.

That would be very dangerous. I often swim at a pool after my 16 mile bike commute. Sometimes, if my bike is not set up properly or if I'm dehydrated, my legs will cramp suddenly, without warning.

chaos
August 20th, 2009, 01:11 PM
That would be very dangerous. I often swim at a pool after my 16 mile bike commute. Sometimes, if my bike is not set up properly or if I'm dehydrated, my legs will cramp suddenly, without warning.

yes, but those charged with your supervision would be able to see you, as opposed to being in the middle of a scrum where, lets face it, you're on your own.

check out the SOS triathlon.
bike, run, swim, run, swim, run, swim, run.... easy to see all the swimmers

Ahelee Sue Osborn
August 20th, 2009, 01:17 PM
We don't need more nannies. This is a USAT issue, not a USMS issue.

Lots of issues here...

An important one being, introduce safe and efficient swimming to triathletes.

As much as they would like to lay claim that triathlon is a life long sport, it rarely is due to injuries, time constraints, and related cost.

Masters swimming is an answer to any of these deterrents.

So, why not find a way to encourage a relationship with a masters swim coach and a club to improve the athlete's open water swim experience in a triathlon?

It might just help grow our sport.
And save or extend a few lives in the process.

aquageek
August 20th, 2009, 01:34 PM
That would be very dangerous. I often swim at a pool after my 16 mile bike commute. Sometimes, if my bike is not set up properly or if I'm dehydrated, my legs will cramp suddenly, without warning.

That's a training and conditioning issue. I would prefer the swim at the end when I'm good and warmed up.

Many triathletes just try to survive the swim and hence put in survival practice time. I'd be a rich man if I had a $1 for every tri that said, "if I could only swim faster, I'd do so much better overall." But, then when you press them on how much they swim they say, "twice a week, 1000 yards."

A late Winter tri I did had a pool swim and you had to put your 100 yard time for seeding. The guy in front of me put a :47 thinking you had to put your 25 time. He was like a speed bump.

nkfrench
August 20th, 2009, 01:45 PM
Putting the swim portion last on a triathlon contested in a pool would be really bad on the water quality.

pwolf66
August 20th, 2009, 02:28 PM
90% of the reason I took up the triathloning was to amuse myself at the terrifying swimming I see in races. The other 100% was to annoy Paul Smith.

That's 190% but since it's Paul Smith, that math works.

elise526
August 20th, 2009, 03:18 PM
Who is going to be the one verifying all of this? The race director who might have 800 or 1000 entrants? The USAT official who is usually a volunteer? Or will it be on the honor system? Everyone signs a waiver that they are fit and can handle the race. They take on their own liability and in most cases they are adults. If they find themselves in trouble during the swim, they need to flag down a boat. Maybe more boats are needed at each race. Perhaps so many boats per race participants.

I agree with Ken. We don't need more nannies. This is a USAT issue, not a USMS issue.

In my suggestion, I never intended for USMS to be involved in the qualification process. USAT could handle it just fine. They keep meticulous computerized records of triathlons (for the purposes of ranking) throughout the season and are strict about qualifying for USAT Nationals, Kona, etc. Taking more time to check may save lives and avoid a few lawsuits.

In my opinion, this is a USAT problem to handle and it is obviously a problem. If all adults knew how to take care of themselves and act logically, we wouldn't have a need for laws and regulations in society. This is a problem that needs to be regulated and it can be done by USAT. We are talking about a matter of life and death, not the color of somebody's bike helmet.

aquageek
August 20th, 2009, 03:22 PM
That's 190% but since it's Paul Smith, that math works.

I'm increasingly annoyed by you and your lovechild, the Furdumper.

pwolf66
August 20th, 2009, 03:38 PM
I'm increasingly annoyed by you and your lovechild, the Furdumper.


My advice?

Build a bridge and get over it.

elise526
August 20th, 2009, 03:57 PM
First, I think it is unlikely that USAT would implement certification programs. Triathlon is a business and becoming a big business. They are put on by Production companies for profit. Not all of them are for charity and even the ones that are, hire production companies for a fee to put the race on. More participants equals more dollars.

Second, who is most responsible for a participants well being, the race organiziers or the individual? I know this is not current trend in this country but I vote for the individual. Individual freedom includes the freedom to fail and or die in there persuit of happiness.

Third, what happens when someone goes belly up even though they were "certified" is there an investigation, were standards not high enough were the trainers incompetent?

Finally, as an organization (USMS) we should warn potential participants of the dangers, educate, provide clinics and training but not place restrictions on people.

Plus, I for one enjoy reading the Darwin awards....:) There carbon friendly.

One may avoid reality, but one cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality.
(Ayn Rand)

I think USMS can help by encouraging coaches to create an atmosphere that is welcoming to triathletes. Many triathletes have the impression that masters swimming is professional swimming where only elites and former competitive swimmers are welcome. Most masters programs have quite a few triathletes in them, but I am hopeful that even the newbie can feel that it is a place where they belong.

I don't think a certification program is a good idea either because of the reasons you suggest. A qualification process would eliminate the problems associated with certification. So it may take a few more volunteers or USAT may have to charge a little more to cover the "cost" of checking a beginner's qualifications. Seems worth it to me.

People should appreciate and understand the dangers, but unfortunately, they don't. Since triathlon is becoming a big business and for profit, like it or not, society will expect there to be regulations in place with this big business so that the participants are "protected." With the publicity surrounding the high number of deaths in triathlons, this expectation will sooner or later be revealed in an enormous jury verdict unless USAT takes some kind of action now.

So, USAT can do something about it now or wait for the jury verdict which will then result in higher costs for insurance coverage. Guess who will end up paying for the increased insurance coverage? The triathlete. I'd rather USAT do something about it now so I won't end up having to pay $100 to enter a local sprint triathlon down the road.

lefty
August 20th, 2009, 09:08 PM
For what it is worth there are alot of triathlon and endurance events that have entrance requirements. YOu cannot just sign up for Kona. Same goes for the Boston Marathon, and English channel swim.

Geek I did a pool swim tri two months ago, entered at 1:10 per 100M and was seeded 9th. But me and another swimmer who was seeded 5th beat everyone else by more than 10 seconds per 100. Whatever...

Muppet
August 21st, 2009, 10:58 AM
I would prefer the swim at the end when I'm good and warmed up.
...
A late Winter tri I did had a pool swim and you had to put your 100 yard time for seeding. The guy in front of me put a :47 thinking you had to put your 25 time. He was like a speed bump.

I'd like the swim at the end too. There's a sprint tri series in our area that reverses the order for one of their events that takes place in March/April, mostly so people don't freeze coming out of the pool if they did it "normally." Unfortunately, they send runners off by age, so unless you're in one of the first groups, there's really no way to avoid a massive charlie foxtrot during the swim. Since the swim is a snake swim, to pass the really slow swimmers, I SDK'd underneath them.

aquageek
August 21st, 2009, 11:08 AM
There was a tri here in NC at one time that was a swim/bike/run/bike/swim but it was in a disgusting lake. I think that would be a good formula. They also have equalizer tris where each distance is theoretically similar in time. All that probably does is reduce the bike and run distances.

Whenever I do a pool tri, I always put a time that is way faster than what I can go because I know that at least half the people in front of me will screw up and put the wrong time and the other half are a lot slower than they think.

Chlorine
August 21st, 2009, 02:50 PM
Unfortunately there was another death in Wisconsin:
http://www.jsonline.com/news/wisconsin/53884077.html


There are a couple of questions that come to mind.

What is the death rate per swimmer/mile in USMS sanctioned open water events vs the swim portion of USAT events?

Of the deaths, what percentage are health (e.g., heart attack) vs. "in over your head" issues?

Right now, triathlon related deaths are in the press in Wisconsin, so it may be more an issue of visibility than anything else.

Other than certifying the capability of each swimmer before the race, what can be done to ensure the safety of participants? I'm not an open water swimmer at all - give me a 50 in an 80 degree pool - so I'm probably the worst person to give an opinion on this. USMS has a pretty good track record, so we must either be attracting the right group to our swims, or we have safety measures in place that prevent the drownings.

That's really sad...aren't there emergency floatation devices on the market for swimmers? I suppose they are too bulky to use in competition?

elise526
August 21st, 2009, 03:02 PM
Unfortunately there was another death in Wisconsin:
http://www.jsonline.com/news/wisconsin/53884077.html


There are a couple of questions that come to mind.

What is the death rate per swimmer/mile in USMS sanctioned open water events vs the swim portion of USAT events?

Of the deaths, what percentage are health (e.g., heart attack) vs. "in over your head" issues?

Right now, triathlon related deaths are in the press in Wisconsin, so it may be more an issue of visibility than anything else.

Other than certifying the capability of each swimmer before the race, what can be done to ensure the safety of participants? I'm not an open water swimmer at all - give me a 50 in an 80 degree pool - so I'm probably the worst person to give an opinion on this. USMS has a pretty good track record, so we must either be attracting the right group to our swims, or we have safety measures in place that prevent the drownings.

The folks that are doing USMS open water swims are attracted to it because it is a swim event. Many folks are attracted to the triathlons because they view it as a bike/run event with a swim that have to get through to get to their main event. I'm forever hearing, "I just need to get through the swim." It is kind of like the guy that excels in fly, back, and free and wants to swim a fast I.M., yet never trains breaststroke. He thinks, "I'll just have to get through the breaststroke."

So, think of folks showing up to swim USMS open water swims like breaststrokers showing up to swim breaststroke, and think of triathlons like a swimmer showing up to swim an I.M. who hasn't done any training for breaststroke. Of course, a non-breaststroker won't drown on the breaststroke (although I come fairly close :)) while a non-swimmer who hasn't done any training for the swim runs the risk of drowning on the swim portion to the triathlon.

Still think a qualification process instead of a certification process would be the way to go.

djacks
August 21st, 2009, 03:18 PM
...aren't there emergency floatation devices on the market for swimmers? I suppose they are too bulky to use in competition?

http://www.triaids.com/How%20to%20Use.htm

Chris Stevenson
August 21st, 2009, 03:45 PM
It is kind of like the guy that excels in fly, back, and free and wants to swim a fast I.M., yet never trains breaststroke.

Hey now! No need to get personal.:)

Ahelee Sue Osborn
August 22nd, 2009, 07:54 PM
I'm forever hearing, "I just need to get through the swim." It is kind of like the guy that excels in fly, back, and free and wants to swim a fast I.M., yet never trains breaststroke. He thinks, "I'll just have to get through the breaststroke."

So, think of folks showing up to swim USMS open water swims like breaststrokers showing up to swim breaststroke, and think of triathlons like a swimmer showing up to swim an I.M. who hasn't done any training for breaststroke.
Still think a qualification process instead of a certification process would be the way to go.


"Don't hit me with the rollin-pin Elise" nailed it!

It used to be kinda ok for triathletes to be lousy swimmers when the race numbers were small. And most people who tackled triathlon still held a decent level of fitness and "athleticism".

In the old days of swimming IM races, a swimmer could kinda get by with a sub-par breaststroke and still win.

Neither applies now.

Lochte and Phelps had to work on their breaststrokes.
IMers have to be stroke specialists and be able to race at world level in all strokes to be the best in the IM.

The top professional triathletes rarely finish way back in the pack on the swim leg any longer.
If they swim off the back, they often pay dearly on the bike and have to lay down an amazing run to pass the earlier leaders.

What spectators generally don't see is the level of burnout, single race careers, and injuries that occur when a triathlete neglects training for the swim.

BRAVE and BOLD are two completely different qualities.

I like my athletes brave - and I'm sorry to admit I have been described as bold!

notsofast
August 22nd, 2009, 09:06 PM
In New York City, open water swimmers have to be certified. I don't know why this couldn't be extended in some form to triathlon swimmers, either through master's swimming organizations or some triathlon group.
For example, to swim the Brooklyn Bridge (1K) next week, you basically have to be an experienced open water swimmer or complete a two-mile swim in a pool:

"Safety concerns require us to ensure that every participant in a NYC Swim swim event has adequate swim experience; thus we have set certain qualifying standards for participation in each of our events. You may register for a NYC Swim event even if you have not completed a qualifying swim, and your enrollment will be approved upon verification of your qualifying swim details. The experience requirement for participating in the Brooklyn Bridge Swim is as follows:

"The completion of any NYC Swim open water swim or Aquathlon since January 1, 2007
--- or ---
"Any DOCUMENTED timed open water swim race of 1.5 miles or more since January 1, 2007 [How to upload your results] (http://www.nycswim.org/About/FAQ.aspx#37)
--- or ---
"Any DOCUMENTED Triathlon with a timed 1.5 mile or longer open water swim since January 1, 2007 [How to upload your results] (http://www.nycswim.org/About/FAQ.aspx#37)
--- or ---
"Pool certification in a manner consistent with the sample template (http://www.nycswim.org/Template/poolcertificatetemplate.pdf), which can be accessed on your user profile swimmer page, documenting the completion of a continuous 2-mile pool swim (3300 yards/3000 meters) in 1 hour and 30 minutes or better since January 1, 2009. Swim must take place in a traditional swimming pool; "Endless Pool" swims are not acceptable for qualification purposes. [How to upload pool certificate] (http://www.nycswim.org/About/FAQ.aspx#2)

"All pool certifications and qualifying swim information must be received by NYC Swim at least 14 days prior to the date of the race (no later than August 29, 2009). Swimmers who enroll after August 29th must submit their qualification information to NYC Swim within 24 hours of enrollment. Participants' qualifications will not be accepted, reviewed or approved on race day. "

SCAQ Member
August 23rd, 2009, 11:05 PM
My name is Tony Austin and I was the original author of the blog post "Triathletes should be certified by USMS" over at the SCAQ blog.

After reading all these thoughtful posts, I want to change the concept of certification to qualification. When you want to do the Kona Ironman you have to meet specific qualifications or you can't do it unless you win a lottery and even then, I am sure thy look at your athletic résumé

25-triathletes died this year, that's like two a month. That is an unacceptable casualty for a sport. How many masters swimmers died in a pool meet or an open water swim this year? Not many.

It's my belief that a triathlete must compete is a pool race and demonstrate they can meet a time standard, barring any disabilities or particular age group struggles, in such events as the 500-free, 1000-free, 1650-free or their meters counterpart.

When the time standard is met, the athlete can do their triathlon and both the promoter and the USAT will have some semblance of a safe swim.

I stand by the post, I think it is reasonable that if a triathlete is going to swim a mile-point-five from Alcatraz to Aquatic Park, or a 1000-meter lake swim in Wisconsin, a triathlete should meet a time standard in a pool.

The USMS has the infrastructure, a meet result database to make this fast, easy, and efficient.

It will grow both our sports, lower insurance premiums and make triathlons safer.

ViveBene
August 24th, 2009, 05:11 AM
A recent post underscoring why OW, not just pool, experience should be part of the qualification process: U.S. Masters Swimming Discussion Forums - View Single Post - Anyone had this experience?

aquageek
August 24th, 2009, 07:23 AM
It will grow both our sports, lower insurance premiums and make triathlons safer.

This is a tough one for me to evaluate. I'm not sure I want USMS meets, especially those between Jan and March to basically become overrun with USAT members try to make a probably ridiculously slow time cut. Maybe make the events on Friday or Monday so the rest of us won't have to suffer with 300 tris trying to get a 10 minute standard in the 500.

I'm also not sure the goal of USMS is to make USAT triathlons safer.

There is probably some tie-in to be had between the two organizations but not at the expense of turning USMS into some USAT qualifying program. 95% of tris just try to survive the swim, which is vastly different from the point of a swim meet.

notsofast
August 24th, 2009, 07:55 AM
This is a tough one for me to evaluate. I'm not sure I want USMS meets, especially those between Jan and March to basically become overrun with USAT members try to make a probably ridiculously slow time cut. Maybe make the events on Friday or Monday so the rest of us won't have to suffer with 300 tris trying to get a 10 minute standard in the 500.

This would, of course, increase participation in USMS meets, which would be a good thing.
If a lot of people want to swim the same distance, a USMS chapter could sponsor a "meet" for that distance only and use it as a fundraiser.
If USMS didn't want any part of this, I'm sure another organization would step up. There are a lot of people willing to help triathletes part with their cash. It's just that USMS chapters have the infrastructure to do it fairly simply.

Ahelee Sue Osborn
August 24th, 2009, 09:29 AM
This would, of course, increase participation in USMS meets, which would be a good thing.
If a lot of people want to swim the same distance, a USMS chapter could sponsor a "meet" for that distance only and use it as a fundraiser.
If USMS didn't want any part of this, I'm sure another organization would step up. There are a lot of people willing to help triathletes part with their cash. It's just that USMS chapters have the infrastructure to do it fairly simply.

Thats' the spirit Notsofast!

And frankly, I have seen many triathletes drop in to masters workouts to get a little swim training in before their first - or a big triathlon only to become USMS lifers.

I still say this is a great concept that serves the athletes and grows the sport. It needs development.
Maybe it starts small with a few races willing to plan it a year in advance for next triathlon season.
There is no doubt in my mind it would be a good investment of time for USMS and masters head coaches.

aquageek
August 24th, 2009, 09:51 AM
This would, of course, increase participation in USMS meets, which would be a good thing.


I agree, more participation might be a good thing. But, more participants doesn't necessarily mean a great benefit. I think some smart people could figure this out without swamping us with open-turning, tri suit wearing, paddle pushing tris. At least we know the IM and stroke events would see not increased participation!

Muppet
August 24th, 2009, 09:56 AM
I'm not sure I want USMS meets, especially those between Jan and March to basically become overrun with USAT members try to make a probably ridiculously slow time cut.


If a lot of people want to swim the same distance, a USMS chapter could sponsor a "meet" for that distance only and use it as a fundraiser.

This is what I have inferred already - that distance meets are the answer. As I mention earlier, our SCY Zone meet was 60% triathletes in the 1000/1650. They all signed up in as soon as the event info went public, so anyone who waited got shut out (there was a cutoff).

The only problem is getting LMSCs - and particular teams - to step up to host those events. My team had traditionally held a 1000/1650 SCY distance meet and a 800/1500 LC distance meet annually, but few people want to work on these, and the LC meet is now ancient history. We've able to get pools on the cheap, so finances aren't an issue for us, but for most other places, this is probably the #1 inhibiting factor.

FindingMyInnerFish
August 24th, 2009, 01:34 PM
My first open water swim competition was done with pool training, but I did have at least the advantage of having had most of my early swimming lessons in a bay rather than a pool (some swimming lessons there but my main memories are of salt water and so had already long overcome any squeamishness about jellyfish, seaweed, etc.--just part of the environment!).

Often, I'm surprised at the number of people in my area who haven't learned to swim or who have only very minimal swimming skills. But I realize I also had a fortunate upbringing. Because we went to the beach every summer, my parents saw swimming as a survival skill and enrolled us all in lessons.

Yet I have overheard conversations between adults taking lessons for the first time and being afraid to put their face in the water. I applaud them for taking the step of learning to swim, just that it is surprising how much that wasn't part of so many people's early experience. A friend tells me he started swimming lessons as a kid in some township recreation program, but that budgets got cut and his swimming lessons ended.

Seems to me swimming should be a part of the standard PE curriculum as kids grow up--or at least be budgeted into summer recreation programs. It's not only at triathlons that people run into problems. Often drownings occur in boating or when un/undertrained swimmers venture into unprotected waters. Maybe even some sessions in open water....

But maybe that's a pipe dream....

miwoodar
August 25th, 2009, 11:12 AM
It's better to die by athleticism than die on the couch. Kicking the bucket during the swim at a triathlon is probably a drop in the bucket though. I imagine that bike and run 'training' takes far more lives but won't get the press because these deaths aren't happening at the events. People get hit all the time. Two people in my town got hit by an errant motorist just last week - both remain (fortunately) in intenstive care.

But to stay on topic with the OP, it's not just rookie swimmers that get themselves into trouble. It's not even limited to folks that have known or identifiable conditions. I've been gearing up to do more tris and have been following some of these stories. I had never, ever, ever, ever felt nervous about being in the water until I read this:

http://www.slowtwitch.com/Training/Swimming/Swimming_Induced_Pulmonary_Edema_SIPE__45.html

STEVE writes: I was a competitive swimmer most of my life, including some very intense times in the pool. The first time I ever noticed the rasping, inability to catch my breath, and dramatic loss of energy in my limbs, was in Charleston, South Carolina, my first such incident.


The race started with a .6 mile swim in Atlantic ocean, no waves, water was warm - mid 70's. Three-tenths of a mile into swim, my arms felt like lead, my breathing became raspy. Another tenth of a mile later, I was holding the kayaks every 20 feet or so, trying to catch my breath. Another tenth, and I stopped moving and started sinking under the water. I was grabbed by a lifeguard who saw me go under and taken to shore - I was conscious, blood coming from my mouth. I spent 90 minutes on the shore while they tried to get my oxygen levels up. They did not leave for the hospital because they thought I would go into cardiac arrest at any moment. In the emergency room, they gave me Lasix and Heprin drips, took x-rays and blood tests. Twelve hours after being pulled from the water, the diagnosis was congestive heart failure - they readied me for an Angiogram. Twenty-four hours after, the angiogram showed I had no heart problems. They moved me to get a full body CT scan to find the clots. Forty-eight hours afterward, they pulled all the drips out of me, told me they had no idea what had happened, and let me walk out of the hospital.


Following the Charleston race, I had extensive cardio-pulmonary testing done, including a stress echo. Nothing was found. The cardiac specialist told me the incident in was likely a one-time occurrence. In preparation for my next tri, I did extensive pool training, and the night before the race I put on my wetsuit and went for a 25-minute swim in the Pacific Ocean, about 2 miles from where the start of the race would be the next morning. Everything was fine.


Two-hundred yards in I felt great, was at the head of the group, no problems. Just after I felt very tired, very fast, no rasping, but could not catch my breath, I reached for the kayak. After another 50 yards I pulled down my wetsuit top to try to get more air, and realized I was in trouble again. I called for the boat, and was taken from the water with blood coming from my mouth and nose. They wanted to call the ambulance, I told them a lie: it is just asthma. I did not want all the same tests. I got home, took a diuretic, went to bed.

elise526
August 25th, 2009, 08:39 PM
A tip for masters coaches - have a water polo game during practice and make sure the triathletes participate. This gets people used to "contact swimming," spotting, swimming with the head up, and going around people. Once you get elbowed and dunked a few times playing water polo, it is not as traumatic when the same thing happens on an open water swim.

elise526
August 25th, 2009, 11:11 PM
It is a good idea, but just be aware that water polo is a specifically excluded activity when it comes to USMS insurance coverage.

We call it a "drill," not water polo. :) Also, the way we play, I don't think anybody could call it water polo within the normal understanding of what water polo is. :)

Interesting that the policy does not define what water polo is. It would be pretty easy to get around the exclusion by making the game "keep away" and making it part of "swimming practice." Calling whatever one is doing a drill for open water swimming and not scoring goals would seem to eliminate the problem.


Speaking of exclusions, noticed "underwater sports activities" are also excluded. So, what does that exclude? Are underwater 25s therefore excluded from coverage?" I'm not seeing a definition of underwater sports activities. Kind of seems ambiguous. Seems like that exclusion would get thrown out in favor of coverage.

elise526
August 26th, 2009, 12:36 AM
If you're using a ball, it's probably considered water polo.

I suspect that underwater hockey is the "underwater sports activity" that they are not covering.

The phone number for our insurer is on the first page of the insurance section of the USMS handbook. Sandi is very nice, and very helpful, and she'd be happy to explain our insurance coverage, and exclusions, to any interested clubs.

Interesting situation because intra-club water polo is an insured activity under USA Swimming coverage:

"Exclusions-OTHER INSUREDS ONLY:

....

Any occurrence arising out of or related to any sporting activity other than swimming. This exclusion does not apply to dryland training activities and intra club water polo."

So, in the case of an intra club water polo game during a masters swim practice, a USA swimming coach would have liability coverage under the USA Swimming insurance policy. I think it strange that the USMS liabilty coverage is at odds with the USA liability coverage. For the sake of consistency, the USMS insurance coverage should be changed to cover intra club water polo.

Frosty
September 13th, 2009, 11:51 PM
In New York City, open water swimmers have to be certified....For example, to swim the Brooklyn Bridge (1K) next week, you basically have to be an experienced open water swimmer or complete a two-mile swim in a pool:

"...we have set certain qualifying standards for participation in each of our events....The experience requirement for participating in the Brooklyn Bridge Swim is as follows:

"The completion of any NYC Swim open water swim or Aquathlon since January 1, 2007
--- or ---
"Any DOCUMENTED timed open water swim race of 1.5 miles or more since January 1, 2007
--- or ---
"Any DOCUMENTED Triathlon with a timed 1.5 mile or longer open water swim since January 1, 2007
--- or ---
"Pool certification in a manner consistent with the sample template, which can be accessed on your user profile swimmer page, documenting the completion of a continuous 2-mile pool swim (3300 yards/3000 meters) in 1 hour and 30 minutes or better since January 1, 2009...

That didn't help this guy:

http://www.newsday.com/news/nation/man-dies-during-east-river-swim-competition-1.1442982

http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/2009/09/12/2009-09-12_swimmer_59_.html

mattson
September 14th, 2009, 11:34 AM
There was a tri here in NC at one time that was a swim/bike/run/bike/swim but it was in a disgusting lake. I think that would be a good formula.

Hold all triathlons in disgusting lakes? :angel:

Paul Smith
September 14th, 2009, 11:55 AM
The other 10% was to annoy Paul Smith.

So glad I can assit you in goal setting...mission accomplished!

Love my new Geek calender by the way!

ande
September 14th, 2009, 01:02 PM
"should triathletes be certified?"
Most triathletes I know are certifiable

ande

notsofast
September 14th, 2009, 02:59 PM
That didn't help this guy:

http://www.newsday.com/news/nation/man-dies-during-east-river-swim-competition-1.1442982

http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/2009/09/12/2009-09-12_swimmer_59_.html

This poor gentleman was a veteran open-water swimmer who had recently swum two miles in 54 minutes (about 1:40 per 100 yards) - not bad for a 59-year-old.

He died of a heart attack 250 yards into a 1,000 yard swim.