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Thread: Triathletes Hate Swimmers!

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    Very Active Member SWinkleblech's Avatar
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    Triathletes Hate Swimmers!

    "I hate swimmers!"
    This was a comment I overheard at a triathlon that I competed in today. There was a group of triathletes discussing thier dislike of those of us that can swim. I just found it a interesting comment and wanted to see what others had to say about it.
    SWinkleblech

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    Active Member maori's Avatar
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    ex...

    I'm an ex triathlete.
    I love swimmer
    Anyway the problem is that during triathlon competition, swimmer are fast in the wather but can't help others during bicycle and this is very ipmortant.
    So, swimmer help the firs group in the wather and the II group is too far from the first to reach it.
    ...just swim...

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    I'd be interested in hearing about some other swimmers' experiences in triathlons. I've done my first two this summer and while they've been fun, I'd certainly rather be at a swim meet. There is something disheartening about being quick out of the water and then not passing a sole for an hour or more. Some people feel sorry for you and give encouragement. Others are less kind. I've had friends have people ride by and slap their butt on the way. People have yelled "sucks to be a swimmer" as their disc wheels whoosh away. Does anyone have any interesting stories about swimmer treatment in triathlons?

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    Very Active Member valhallan's Avatar
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    I got into triathlon in my late twenties. The swim leg was always a breeze, and the then the real challenge began. Most triathletes spend many of their training hours on the bike. And I'd always lose the ten or fifteen minute advantage I got from the water when we rode the 25 miles.

    But the real test of fitness is the run. And it was always fun to pass the over zealous bikers who can't run for beans. Very discouraging to watch them zoooom by on the three thousand dollars bikes. But what a sweet revenge to see them turn to stone on the 6 mile run. (Big quads and hamstrings do not make a runner.) At the end of the day, the diversity is what makes triathlon fun. And yes, in my opinion swimmers are looked at with envy.

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    Very Active Member aquageek's Avatar
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    OK, here it comes, a topic that annoys me almost as much as our famous noodler sagas.

    I'm soley a swimmer and most of the triathletes I know are great people but it's really, really annoying some of their behavior at the swim portion.

    First, regardless of the temperature, they either have to wear those silly two piece things or a wetsuit and the gigantic super goggles more fit for a dip in the Carribean. Now, this is the south, you don't need a wetsuit from mid April until late October. And, if it's just an open water swim, why wear the two piece man-bra? All you are doing is slowing yourself down.

    Second, they always, always, always crowd the front of the swim start regardless of their abilities. If I'm in an open water swimming event and I know I'm not the fastest I'll hang to the outside or let the faster guys go 5 seconds or so ahead. No, not the triathletes. They bum rush the front, kick you in the head for 200 yards and then fall woefully to the back at 250 yards. So, there I am lounging on the shore after the race, dry and happy and in come the dudes who kicked me at the start of the race.

    It is always good motivation for me to beat the triathletes in open water knowing full well I can't ride a bike or run to my mailbox.

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    Interesting thread here...having just competed in the Boulder Peak Triathlon yesterday along with many other masters swimmers from the area and around the country. I must say that in all my years of swimming in swim meets and competing in triathlons, I've never, ever had a comment made like that. I am a good swimmer, not great, but am usually one of the first in my wave out of the water. I can't ride a bike for beans and when everyone goes by me I usually get 'nice swim, nice swim, nice swim'....and if I am lucky enough for the run to be long, I can reel many of them in before the finish line. Yes, there are a few triathletes out there who are rude, obnoxious, and just plain old mean....it is too bad. But, I will say there are swimmers who are the same. And, for the record, I am a swimmer who has found the joy in doing triathlons. And, yes, I still compete in swim meets and find them equally as fun and challenging.

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    Very Active Member Scansy's Avatar
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    Timing on this is ironic - I just completed my first tri this past weekend. It was a "baby" tri. I was one of the fastest out of the water in my wave. And got passed on the bike by many of those I started ahead of. But I got no comments. Everyone was great.

    I do know one thing. My friends who are runners or bikers had far more trouble with the swim than I (a swimmer first) do with the bike or run. Next year I plan to kick butt in all three!

    Maybe we need a tri with a far greater emphasis on the swim....

    Oh, and one other note, this was my first open water swim. It was short (1/4 mile), but I really, really don't like salt water.

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    Very Active Member SWinkleblech's Avatar
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    I have to say I was more amused by the comment then anything. Tri in triathlon means three. So if you want to do a good in a triathlon you have to become good in three sports.
    I have never really had a bad experience in a triathlon and most people are impressed with a good swimmer. This triathlon had the swim in the pool and four swimmers swam in the same lane. I ended up lapping the other three two times. I am a terrible bike rider. I do know that one of them past me on the bike and the other caught up to me right at the end of the bike.
    I really do it for the fun and the challenge and not the compition. There is hope for those non bike riders. This is my third year and I feel I am getting better on that bike. I am starting to actually past some other bikers. Although I still have more passing me up. If I can just get it to go up those hills. I can say I did this triathlon 19 minutes faster then I did last year.
    SWinkleblech

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    Very Active Member Matt S's Avatar
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    A Bone to Pick with Triathletes

    I dabbled with triathlons, but I'm basically someone who swims to avoid running.

    My beef is with how triathlons generally are laid out. How can you claim a race is based on three equal parts when in reality the swim is mostly a warm-up for the other two parts of the race that will actually decide things?

    The official international distance is a case in point. I'm on a 3-man relay team for one this Sunday. I should be done with the swim portion in 20-25 minutes. I was trolling around for a biker, and I mentioned my my email that if the person could complete the bike in 1:05, we would be competitive in the relay team division. Then the actual bikers informed me a 1:05 is Lance Armstrongish in the biking community. HELLO! Why does the bike take three times as long as the swim? The run is no better. The worst part is that the official international distance actually makes an attempt to have a reasonable swim. I have actually seen "triathletes" the runners organized with distances like 400 meter swim, 20 mile bike, 10 mile run. There ought to be standards for this sort of thing. We need a new sport--the wet biathlon. This would be a bike-run event with a 5 minute swimming warm-up for all participants. That is effectively equivalent to what some runners are actually calling a triathlon.

    Now before the pencil-whippers start in with the explanation machine, yes I realize some key facts. The swim is by far the most hazardous portion of the race (especially if you organize it so lame-oh runners can finish it and kid themselves they have actual swimming ability, but I digress...) and the one that requires the highest density of lifeguards/safety personnel. Equalizing the portions of the race by time would only drive up the hazard and/or the cost of a safe race. Also, there are lots more runners than swimmers, and the sport prospers by making it possible for more of those folks to participate. I understand all the practical reasons for things as they are. I simply chaps me the races are organized to let a good runner who can barely swim blow me away overall.

    Yet one more reason to stick to swimming.

    Matt

  10. #10

    Mostly good company

    I have heard similiar comments as Cinswims who posted previously. Most of the athletes in our area are happy to see others out participating in fitness sports. Our masters swimming group includes triathletes, runners and cyclists. Also, some of my more enjoyable training sessions include athletes from another dicipline. Taking a swimmer out on a 5K run for example. Even better, talk that runner only athlete into trying a masters swim practice. 1 hour flutter kick with board please

  11. #11
    Very Active Member Scansy's Avatar
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    I agree that the swims don't seem long enough relative to the other legs. Last weekend, I did a tri with a 1/4 mile swim, 11 mile bike and 4 mile run.

    I came out of the water in the top half of the pack, but nearer the middle than the top. But if the swim had been longer (say twice as long), I would have been closer to the top. I had just started to get warmed up and got a good rhythm going - I am certain that with more distance I would passed more people.

    With the way the races start - a big group of people flailing in the water - it is hard to get a good swim stroke going until the pack spreads out some - and this just doesn't happen much in a 1/4 mile.

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    When my then 12 year old (now 18) Son Matt and I swam the Golden Gate Bridge Swim and the Alcatraz Sharkfest Swims together in 1998 we swam both evens in the non-wet suit division. The Golden Gate Bridge Swim is restricted to 250 swimmers due to the treacherous nature of the swim. Only 14 people swam it without wet suits in 1998, Matt & I being two of the 14.

    Many triathlon swimmers gravitate to those swims and quite a few asked Matt where his wet suit was. I laughed out loud when my little 12 year old Son from Texas told them, “I’m a swimmer, I don’t need a wet suit, and besides, none of the 19 Texans who swam here with my Dad last year wore wet suits.” Matt went on to win the 10-19 (10 year age grouping on those swims) year old age group, beating most of the triathlon swimmers on the Golden Gate Bridge Swim.

    One really nice triathlon swimmer asked Matt if his Dad feeds him live chickens, because he was such an animal. Matt smiled and told him, “Swimmers Rule!” The triathlon swimmers got a kick out of Matt and told him he should be a triathlon athlete. Matt told them he was a distance guy and they should be swimmers…..

    Without exception, all of the triathlon athletes I have swam against, have all been stand up people.
    Last edited by Tom Ellison; August 10th, 2004 at 11:01 AM.

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    I hate swimmers

    I was at the 2-mile cable swim in Indy. It was a very good swim. Prior to the swim there was a mini-tri. Many of the swimmers made very negative remarks about the triaths. The guy who ran the swim made a negative comment over his blowhorn & many of the swimmers applauded. I found it really bad. Every outdoor distance swim I've ever gone to, I've heard people make negative comments about triaths. I really don't get it. I truly think that many on both sidesdon't like the other. I wonder if it is misunderstanding of the other. Both are competing for the same sort of time at the pool or what?

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    I hate swimmers

    When I did do triathalons, I used to run a lot alwo. the biking wasn't a great problem but hard. In the last 10 years the swimming portions have gotten shorter because most triahtalons are organized by runners who are trying to put some challenge into their races. If more swimmers got involved in the plannig the swimming wouldprobably become more important

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    Keeping the swim shorter makes the tri doable for more people. They don't have to spend as much time in the water both racing and in training. Make the swim longer and I think fewer will want to participate at the grassroots level. Not really in the best interest of the sport.
    Howard

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    Very Active Member aquageek's Avatar
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    This makes zero sense. Why not shorten the run as opposed to the swim? Running is harder on the body and in the best interest of the sport, you'd think you'd promote the part that has the most health benefits/fewer risk factors.

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    Very Active Member jean sterling's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Scansy
    I agree that the swims don't seem long enough relative to the other legs. Last weekend, I did a tri with a 1/4 mile swim, 11 mile bike and 4 mile run.

    I came out of the water in the top half of the pack, but nearer the middle than the top. But if the swim had been longer (say twice as long), I would have been closer to the top. I had just started to get warmed up and got a good rhythm going - I am certain that with more distance I would passed more people.

    With the way the races start - a big group of people flailing in the water - it is hard to get a good swim stroke going until the pack spreads out some - and this just doesn't happen much in a 1/4 mile.
    In a quarter mile swim I often spent most of the swim portion searching for space in which to swim. When I would finally find some room and be able to really swim - the swim would be over. The swim leg was the only part I was good at. Also, the swim leg seems to be shortened all too often. We had a tri here that was 1/2 mile swim, 15.5 mile bike, 5 K run - distances that are as good as it gets for swimmers. Alas, the swim leg was shortened to 1/4 mile while the other distances remained the same.
    Jean S.

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    Active Member Kipp's Avatar
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    When I was beach guarding in santa barbara a few years back I was the swim director for our local triathalon, which is now a pretty big event..

    It was great fun because I was given the responsibility of setting the 1 mile course and when a swimmer sets a mile you know it will be a mile.. many people complained about the distance so much so that the local newspaper picked up a bit of the story and asked me for my take and all I had to say was that "everybody had to swim the same distance and swim the same mile, looking at the times of the better swimmers it was fair to say that it was a real mile, so maybe instead of complaining about their times they should do what all good athletes do and find a way to get ready for next year." Maybe it was a bit harsh, but the local Masters numbers swelled for a few months and the race director was happy there was a little contraversy..hey they were talking about the event and the swim!
    Kipp
    Jeremy Kipp
    UCSB Swim Coach

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    Triathlete's Motto

    Why excel in one sport when you can be mediocre in three?

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    Very Active Member AnnG's Avatar
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    "I hate swimmers" sounds more like a statement of envy to me. I recently have had the opportunity to practice in the pool with tri athletes and also to compete in an open water series last month. In general they are a different breed but once you get to know them they can be great training partners. Also I am impressed by the improvement in swimming among triathletes - my impression after this last open water swim. When I first started open water events there were not too many triathletes trying the swim only competitions, and they were in general not good swimmers. At last month's event there were some outstanding swimmers wearing triathlete garb.

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