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Thread: So open water swimmers can now hold the boat to rest?

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    So open water swimmers can now hold the boat to rest?

    Can we talk about this rule (303.3 I think)? Anyone who was there, whether you voted yea or nay, can you please explain your thinking?

    At first blush, I don't like that it passed. But I'd like to know what it really means for the future of OWS in USMS events.
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    Moderator Rob Copeland's Avatar
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    Re: So open water swimmers can now hold the boat to rest?

    Quote Originally Posted by mjtyson View Post
    Can we talk about this rule (303.3 I think)? Anyone who was there, whether you voted yea or nay, can you please explain your thinking?
    I did not vote for or against the proposal (I was serving as Parliamentarian). But I'll take a shot. The approved language as I've copied it is"

    303.9 DISQUALIFICATIONS
    A disqualification can be made only by the referee, the starter or a judge within whose jurisdiction the infraction has been committed. Swimmers shall be disqualified if they: …

    303.9.5 Make forward progress by pulling, pushing, or maintaining contact on physical features and/or craft on or near the course, other than the bottom near the start and finish and at specified locations. Event hosts may choose to prohibit deliberate contact between swimmers and craft and/or physical features if it has been announced in the event information.


    As I see it, what the new rule does is it allows an event director to determine of they wish to follow "purist" open water swimming standards or allow "Tri-style" events.
    Last edited by Rob Copeland; September 17th, 2017 at 02:38 PM.
    The opinions expressed in the above post are mine and not those of U.S. Masters Swimming.

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    Very Active Member flystorms's Avatar
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    Re: So open water swimmers can now hold the boat to rest?

    I have mixed feelings about this. It appears to give the RD more control of how s/he wants to run the race and encourage more people to get into OW swimming. But on the other hand, it "dumbs down" the sport and possible leads to people who probably shouldn't be out in open water to feel like they will have a break if they need it. I also don't like that the RD has to announce that it's NOT allowed in the event information. So the default is that it's okay? Hmm...
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    Very Active Member FindingMyInnerFish's Avatar
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    Re: So open water swimmers can now hold the boat to rest?

    My take: the longer distance races I've been in allow swimmers to hold onto a boat but not make forward progress. So, I admit I've held a kayak when needed, typically only for feeds, although on one occasion w a foot cramp. Lately, w the idea of getting into more strict swims, I've been working on weaning myself off that kind of assistance. For instance, in a recent swim where there was some flexibility about holding the boat, I mostly treaded water while taking food/drink, although I did hold the boat during an early feed. If the rules require me not to hold on, I want to be prepared. I think this is a learning process, and I want to respect the race director's rules, even as I'm grateful for the chance to venture out past my comfort zone with less strict rules. i think those races gave me a chance to extend my endurance, so as to feel more prepared to take on those w more stringent rules--kind of lie starting out w a wetsuit and gradually reducing one's need. (I personally prefer not wearing a wetsuit if water temp is mid 60s or above--and looking to increase cold tolerance, so i have more choices of swims.)

    Might be a good skill to teach in an open water clinic. ... feeding and/or resting without touching the boat.

    Also, one thing ppl should know if holding a kayak.... don't grab onto the side, only front or back, otherwise a kayak can tip which helps neither swimmer nor kayaker.

    Overall, it's the RD's decision, and although I've benefited from permission to hold a kayak, I also want to grow as a swimmer, improve my open water skills, so I encourage race directors to stick to the no touch rules in place now, USMS or no USMS.

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    Very Active Member srcoyote's Avatar
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    Re: So open water swimmers can now hold the boat to rest?

    I, too, of a mixed mind on this - especially coming off of yesterday's 5K swum concurrently on the same course as multiple distances of triathlons (it's a USAT multi-sport event). In this case, I'm glad that the RD recognizes there are precious few open water swims in our area and so graciously includes some open water swims in all of the triathlon events he puts on. But as I'm on my 5th circuit of a 750m course, and I'm having dodge the sprint triathletes who can't be bothered with swimming the whole 750m and choose instead to walk in chest deep water forcing me to swim around them, I start rolling my eyes and grumbling.

    That said, in open water swimming, no two events are alike. While I might look askance at someone holding onto a boat in a smooth water 5K, if allowing someone to do so in a rough water point to point swim expands the field, I might be OK with it. Ultimately, I'm always swimming against myself and the course. Even though I try to place as well as I can, I recognize that my placing is often more determined by strength of the field rather than my own abilities.

    I think this sorts me out in favor of the new language, but hoping that RD's opt to be purist more often than not.

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    Re: So open water swimmers can now hold the boat to rest?

    this is nothing different than holding onto a laneline or standing on the bottom in pool swimming.

    YOU MAY NOT USE IT TO MAKE FORWARD PROGRESSS!!!

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    Re: So open water swimmers can now hold the boat to rest?

    Actually, it is different than holding onto a lane line during a pool event. The action of holding onto that lane line does not place any other swimmer in more danger, or take away safety from the rest of the swimmers in the pool, which maybe be up to 9 swimmers in a 10 lane pool?. Also, as a race director I might have 50 - 100 people or more in the water at one time, a lot different from a pool and swim meet.

    If I have zone coverage on an open water event where I have kayaks out on the course, if one or two are used up with people holding on, they are unavailable to help other swimmers. Right now, that swimmer that holds on is usually removed from the course because they are unable to continue. But if it becomes common for people to think they can hold on and continue, how do I plan for rescue? Do I have kayaks out there for people to hold onto and others that are only to help facilitate rescue?

    This isn't a good rule for race directors, its good that they allow the RD to used their own discretion, but muddies the waters. RD's get complaints from time to time and now I will have to field questions why I do or don't allow people to rest? It puts more stress on the race directors, many who are already fed up with USMS and go elsewhere for their sanction and insurance. Here in Colorado I was the only race that got a USMS sanction this year. This rule won't help bring anyone back to USMS that left.

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    Very Active Member srcoyote's Avatar
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    Re: So open water swimmers can now hold the boat to rest?

    Quote Originally Posted by Karen Reeder View Post
    This isn't a good rule for race directors, its good that they allow the RD to used their own discretion, but muddies the waters. RD's get complaints from time to time and now I will have to field questions why I do or don't allow people to rest? It puts more stress on the race directors, many who are already fed up with USMS and go elsewhere for their sanction and insurance. Here in Colorado I was the only race that got a USMS sanction this year. This rule won't help bring anyone back to USMS that left.
    All of these points are definitely food for thought. At the tri-event I was at yesterday, I witnessed the race director consistently harried by athletes asking why they couldn't park closer to the course, a decision that was made by law enforcement. Even as polite as most of the queries were posited, there were an insane amount of them, and I couldn't help but think that if that part of the lot was blocked (and by law enforcement vehicles) early, there was no point in asking that question until well after the race. It wasn't going to change and asking then only served to harass the race director.

    As a swimmer, thank you for putting these events together!

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    Very Active Member Beards247's Avatar
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    Re: So open water swimmers can now hold the boat to rest?

    How each person voted is less important than the themes covered: Safety (of swimmer and support personnel), fairness of competition, and encouraging people to try open water.

    There were lots of mixed feelings expressed by many, many.... many people at the convention on both sides of the subject - I'm not going to try to encapsulate everyone's point/counterpoint. But safe to say it was very thoroughly debated by committees and delegates.

    IMO, this isn't the last rehash of this rule.
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    Very Active Member knelson's Avatar
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    Re: So open water swimmers can now hold the boat to rest?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rob Copeland View Post
    As I see it, what the new rule does is it allows an event director to determine of they wish to follow "purist" open water swimming standards or allow "Tri-style" events.
    Until now I didn't realize there might be open water races or triathlons that allowed swimmers to touch boats. I thought it was strictly verboten everywhere.

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    Re: So open water swimmers can now hold the boat to rest?

    Doesn't the logic of having a separate wetsuit division mean there should be a separate holding-on-to-the-boat division?

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    Re: So open water swimmers can now hold the boat to rest?

    Quote Originally Posted by guppy View Post
    Doesn't the logic of having a separate wetsuit division mean there should be a separate holding-on-to-the-boat division?
    I'd wondered about that myself - but for it to work as intended, it'd have to be a post race categorization - I'd assume most swimmers do not start thinking "I'm going to grab onto the third green kayak after my hamstring cramps".
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    Re: So open water swimmers can now hold the boat to rest?

    Quote Originally Posted by Beards247 View Post
    I'd wondered about that myself - but for it to work as intended, it'd have to be a post race categorization - I'd assume most swimmers do not start thinking "I'm going to grab onto the third green kayak after my hamstring cramps".
    Perhaps the rule should have been written for races where swimmers have dedicated kayaks? That would be logistically possible. Shorter races that have 1 kayaker per a # of swimmers would be difficult to allow boat-holding.

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    Re: So open water swimmers can now hold the boat to rest?

    Quote Originally Posted by guppy View Post
    Doesn't the logic of having a separate wetsuit division mean there should be a separate holding-on-to-the-boat division?
    interesting

    in bicycling is there a division for stopping and putting a foot down?

    in running is there a division for stopping and leaning against a tree or fence or some other object?

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    Re: So open water swimmers can now hold the boat to rest?

    It would seem that any swimmer who had to stop and rest on the boat would probably not be a contender for the podium or even top ten placement so it probably doesn't really matter for rankings. Where I live, people just rely on their wetsuit buoyancy for a rest break.

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    Re: So open water swimmers can now hold the boat to rest?

    Quote Originally Posted by sunruh View Post
    interesting

    in bicycling is there a division for stopping and putting a foot down?

    in running is there a division for stopping and leaning against a tree or fence or some other object?
    Kidding aside, though, a runner can technically even stop in a coffee shop for a latte during a marathon and then continue on without a DQ--not that I'd recommend this if the runner has a time limit and isn't going too fast to begin with. A DQ would, however, result if said runner, upon leaving the coffee shop, boarded a subway to the finish and crossed the finish line. In the first instance, the rest didn't result in forward progress; in the second, it did.

    I've volunteered at ultramarathon aid stations, and runners can pause for as long as they need to (again bearing time limits in mind). I'm not sure, but I think they can have physical contact w volunteers (such as massages). They can perhaps rest in a car as long as the car doesn't move and take them to the finish.

    Point being not to say there shouldn't be a rule against touching a boat, but only that marathon swimming isn't necessarily akin to other sports in how it rules re rest stops.

    One might say it's more bad-a $$ than many other sports.

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    Very Active Member FindingMyInnerFish's Avatar
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    Re: So open water swimmers can now hold the boat to rest?

    Quote Originally Posted by FindingMyInnerFish View Post
    Kidding aside, though, a runner can technically even stop in a coffee shop for a latte during a marathon and then continue on without a DQ--not that I'd recommend this if the runner has a time limit and isn't going too fast to begin with. A DQ would, however, result if said runner, upon leaving the coffee shop, boarded a subway to the finish and crossed the finish line. In the first instance, the rest didn't result in forward progress; in the second, it did.

    I've volunteered at ultramarathon aid stations, and runners can pause for as long as they need to (again bearing time limits in mind). I'm not sure, but I think they can have physical contact w volunteers (such as massages). They can perhaps rest in a car as long as the car doesn't move and take them to the finish.

    Point being not to say there shouldn't be a rule against touching a boat, but only that marathon swimming isn't necessarily akin to other sports in how it rules re rest stops.

    One might say it's more bad-a $$ than many other sports.

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    Not 100 percent sure, but I think in the more elite events such as the Olympics or Olympic Trials have more stringent rules, such as not accepting aid from outside the race (such as a latte), but those runners aren't likely to stop at Starbucks during a race anyway.

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    Re: So open water swimmers can now hold the boat to rest?

    Quote Originally Posted by FindingMyInnerFish View Post
    I've volunteered at ultramarathon aid stations, and runners can pause for as long as they need to
    OTOH swimmers can, too. You just can't touch a boat. You can tread water, float on your back, whatever.

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    Very Active Member FindingMyInnerFish's Avatar
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    Re: So open water swimmers can now hold the boat to rest?

    Quote Originally Posted by knelson View Post
    OTOH swimmers can, too. You just can't touch a boat. You can tread water, float on your back, whatever.
    Well, true, although there are no boats to touch in marathons/ultras.

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    Re: So open water swimmers can now hold the boat to rest?

    Quote Originally Posted by sunruh
    in bicycling is there a division for stopping and putting a foot down?

    Open water swimming is a different sport than bicycling.

    Quote Originally Posted by sunruh
    in running is there a division for stopping and leaning against a tree or fence or some other object?

    Open water swimming is a different sport than running.

    Quote Originally Posted by MSK
    It would seem that any swimmer who had to stop and rest on the boat would probably not be a contender for the podium or even top ten placement

    Perhaps I misunderstand... are you saying cheating is OK as long as it's not for a podium finish?

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