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Ken Classen
August 29th, 2010, 08:12 PM
So I was looking for a possible swim to do in October and came across this one http://distanceswimchallenge.com/ , however I read the FAQ's and saw the following:

Are wetsuits allowed?
Yes.

Are there separate wetsuit and non-wetsuit divisions?
No. Swim in whatever you like.

Personally this put me off a little, true I could still swim with out a wetsuit, however based on the race fee plus having to come up with my own kayak support, I want a little recognition that I did it without one. Additionally with the growth of open water marathon and ultra marathon (English & Catalina Channel) swims that follow channel rules of no wetsuits you'd think a swim like this would offer a non wetsuit category.

jbs
August 29th, 2010, 09:42 PM
I don't understand that either--and so far I've worn a wetsuit in every open water swim I've done.

In my opinion, if you do it without a wetsuit, you should get recognition for that. In part that's because of the temperature issue. But wetsuits also make swimmers faster. There should be separate divisions to take that into account.

evmo
August 29th, 2010, 11:56 PM
As a purist-friendly alternative to the L.A. swim, there's also this event on the same date (Oct 16):

http://www.swimthesuck10mile.com

10 miles in the Tennessee River Gorge near Chattanooga. English Channel rules - no wetsuits!

ChrisM
August 30th, 2010, 06:42 PM
As a wetsuited alcatraz swimmer, I think non wetsuit swimmers (are nuts and) should definitely be recognized as such. A westuit makes you faster, pure and simple.

That's an odd swim race anyway. You have to come through surf (and then back out again) onto shore every 1.2 to 2 miles. You have to have a 2 person kayak and hop on the kayak to get across the Marina del Rey breakwater (ETA - they must have changed this, as this latter point is no longer on the website....).

aurora
August 31st, 2010, 12:03 PM
hey There is a race going on out in Cassopolis, Michigan there are wet suite and no wetsuit. I am going to post info today on the race its sep 18th. Its a wonderful lake. I swim it a lot because I am in taining to swimming the English Channel next year so I have spent endless hours there and it like heaven. This is a race my coach puts on every year. It will be geat with a BQ at the end.

aurora
August 31st, 2010, 03:14 PM
also had to add to the wet suite thing it crazy to not have two divisions. If someone wants to swim in one I don't care but I don't want to be thrown in the same group.Also if your training your body to get used to cold that is a big mental factor that people also in a wet suite don't have to think about. No matter on that day what the water temp may be they don't have to give it a second thought were as people with out one do. This reminds me of my friend who is British that put it this way because I was joking to him how in training for the English channel I have been very cold. I told him that they need to welcome technology. I was joking because I don't really think that. He said then dont swim our channel if you dont like our rules. Well put because if they could cross channels back in the 1900's with out a wet suite it can still be done we are still human and that has not changed. So a little cold in a regular suit I will take.

orca1946
September 1st, 2010, 03:56 PM
Not all are in it to do a P R . Many are just out of a warm pool & are scared to death of O W

FindingMyInnerFish
September 2nd, 2010, 02:39 PM
I don't own a wetsuit mainly b/c I haven't felt like spending the $ to buy one--and I'd like eventually to try a couple of the colder water races in which they're not allowed, so I don't want to get too used to wearing them.

I'm quite slow, and my guess is that a wetsuit is unlikely to help me improve all that dramatically--maybe to get me from WAY back in the pack to merely back in the pack... can't imagine that it would make a lot of difference in my speed. The races I've been in--ranging from one mile to 5.25--all allowed wetsuits, but none of them had such cold water that a wetsuit would really be needed. In most, the water was over 70 degrees, and in one, over 80. In one other, a mile swim, I was told the temp would be in the high sixties, and maybe it was--but the day was so hot that I had no problem w/ the water temp.

So... should races have a wetsuit and non-wetsuit division? While I'm not attached to the idea one way or the other, I would be interested to see how I compare to those not using wetsuits. But that's not a huge consideration for me. It might be that organizers want to limit the awards budget and having two sets of awards for, say, two or three swims, could cost more than they want to spend for that particular aspect of their race. In my area, there are too few opportunities for o.w. swims as it is, so whatever gets people to sign up, thus encouraging more swimmers/ swims, I'd say go for it!

E=H2O
September 2nd, 2010, 03:21 PM
I don't own a wetsuit mainly b/c I haven't felt like spending the $ to buy one--and I'd like eventually to try a couple of the colder water races in which they're not allowed, so I don't want to get too used to wearing them.

I'm quite slow, and my guess is that a wetsuit is unlikely to help me improve all that dramatically--maybe to get me from WAY back in the pack to merely back in the pack... can't imagine that it would make a lot of difference in my speed. The races I've been in--ranging from one mile to 5.25--all allowed wetsuits, but none of them had such cold water that a wetsuit would really be needed. In most, the water was over 70 degrees, and in one, over 80. In one other, a mile swim, I was told the temp would be in the high sixties, and maybe it was--but the day was so hot that I had no problem w/ the water temp.

So... should races have a wetsuit and non-wetsuit division? While I'm not attached to the idea one way or the other, I would be interested to see how I compare to those not using wetsuits. But that's not a huge consideration for me. It might be that organizers want to limit the awards budget and having two sets of awards for, say, two or three swims, could cost more than they want to spend for that particular aspect of their race. In my area, there are too few opportunities for o.w. swims as it is, so whatever gets people to sign up, thus encouraging more swimmers/ swims, I'd say go for it!

It has been shown that a wetsuit offers the slower swimmer a greater advantage than it does for the fast swimmer. Some have suggested it is because a wetsuit can improve your body position in the water by raising (and floating) your legs. Because a fast swimmers start with a better body position, they do not benefit as much. No actual testing of that hypo as far as I know.

Steven Munatones
September 3rd, 2010, 05:48 PM
I have made various estimates on the differences in speed depending on whether one wears a wetsuit or not based on the www.swimetrics.com (http://www.swimetrics.com) technology, but the differences are highly dependent upon the natural swimming technique and speed of the swimmer as well as the conditions and length of the course and salinity of the water. Other factors that would intuitively impact differences in wetsuit speed vs. non-wetsuit speed include water temperature, the appearance of marine life, specifically stinging jellyfish or Portuguese Man-o-War, one's body shape, thickness of the neoprene, altitude of the venue and configuration of the wetsuit. In other words, in every case, there would be differences in the data points.

Around the world at different open water events, different time penalties (or advantages) are used to compare wetsuit vs. non-wetsuit swims. These range from a low of 8% to a high of 15%.

So would you be satisfied if the Distance Swim Challenge (or any race in America that does not distinguish between wetsuit and non-wetsuit divisions) have a 10% time advantage for the non-wetsuit swimmer (or a 10% time penalty for the wetsuit swimmer)?

Just wondering for those in the community.

E=H2O
September 3rd, 2010, 06:13 PM
I don't agree with the time penalty approach although it does have simplicity on it's side. I think it is too inaccurate, but other factors may make the inaccuracies irrelevant where ever drafting is allowed.
In a race where drafting is allowed and there is a mass start, a naked swimmer could draft behind a swimmer in a wetsuit and potentially gain all of the advantage that the wetsuit swimmer has.
For me the best is separate starts with wetsuit swimmers out first by 15 minutes and ranked in a completely different division. I am sure there are problems with that approach and equally sure there are many other approaches which are just as valid.

knelson
September 3rd, 2010, 06:14 PM
Not all are in it to do a P R . Many are just out of a warm pool & are scared to death of O W

And that's fine, but not really the issue here. The question is whether it's fair to lump non-wetsuit swimmers in with wetsuit swimmers--that is, having them competing in a single division, not whether wetsuits should be allowed.

MikeGarr
September 4th, 2010, 09:02 AM
I don't know of many OW races with more than one division. There isn't any ideological reason not to have separate divisions as far as I can tell, so swimmers can have a choice, and be recognized. There isn't any strong reason to require separate recognition either, as far as I am concerned. I just happen to enjoy swimming without a wetsuit, and am happy to be out there and seeing whether I am still improving. I try to swim faster than the person nearby, whether they are wearing a wetsuit or not. If you know your competition, it's one on one only if can keep them close by. Open water results are all relative, no guarantees on anything anyway. Just decide whether to wear a wetsuit, then have fun, do your best!

I haven't personally asked race organizers (Bless them!), but I suspect part of not generally having separate divisions is the hassle of organizing and enforcing the difference. Do you let both divisions swim together and expect volunteers to separate them at the finish? If you are using timing chips, do you set up the race software with an extra category that automatically keeps track (in that case race entries can still be put in erroneously). Do you do separate waves? Do you have distinct distances?

Ray Gandy (RI's only English Channel swimmer) is running a local race in September where he is offering 1,2, and 3 mile distances with wetsuits allowed, and a 10K for the hardcore (no wetsuits) all with a time limit. That event covers all the bases. And the best part there is a barbecue (bring your own side dishes) after the competition....


Cheers. Swim fast seek Peace

FindingMyInnerFish
September 4th, 2010, 10:15 PM
It has been shown that a wetsuit offers the slower swimmer a greater advantage than it does for the fast swimmer. Some have suggested it is because a wetsuit can improve your body position in the water by raising (and floating) your legs. Because a fast swimmers start with a better body position, they do not benefit as much. No actual testing of that hypo as far as I know.

I do notice this when I use a pull buoy during workouts (which I understand has a similar effect to that of using a wetsuit)--although if I'm tired, the pull buoy times start deteriorating as well. What I also notice, though, is that for repeats without a pull buoy that come right after those with, I seem to have better form--and faster times... muscle memory is fresher then I suppose. Makes me aware that I want to work on this body position thing more--so if I improve on that, maybe I'll do just as well as with getting a wetsuit.

chaos
September 10th, 2010, 01:12 PM
Ray Gandy (RI's only English Channel swimmer) is running a local race in September where he is offering 1,2, and 3 mile distances with wetsuits allowed, and a 10K for the hardcore (no wetsuits) all with a time limit. That event covers all the bases. And the best part there is a barbecue (bring your own side dishes) after the competition....


Cheers. Swim fast seek Peace

link please!

MikeGarr
September 10th, 2010, 09:39 PM
Ray Gandy's OW swim event is scheduled for September 26

Registration deadline has passed, but you can email Ray and see if he will accept last minute entries. There is no link. I think Ray means this to be locals plus a few champion swimmers. It's worth a try though, chaos...

From Ray's flyer:
If you are interested in swimming in either event, please send a check or money order to Ray Gandy, PO Box 777, Coventry, RI 02816 BY AUGUST 31st. We need to have a thorough count to ensure we have enough volunteers to support a safe event! If you are interested in volunteering, please email me at ray.gandy@fs.utc.com with your name and what you would like to volunteer for (kayak, refreshments, etc.). Please note if you have your own kayak as well.