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Monday, July 30, 2012

FINA Bureau Takes Large Steps In The Right Direction

With American swimmer and Harvard University graduate Alex Meyer soon stepping up to the shores of the Serpentine in the Olympic marathon swimming 10km, both for himself and in memory of Fran Crippen, the issue of safety in the open water swimming and triathlon communities have been discussed at different levels.

On July 27th, FINA adopted a slew of improved measures to enhance safety at its FINA 10km Marathon Swimming World Cup and FINA Open Water Swimming Grand Prix races.

Kudos go to the FINA Bureau for doing the right thing.

In no small part these new regulations were due in part because of a strong lobbying effort behind the scenes by countries and FINA Bureau members with a deep commitment to open water swimming. The 22-person FINA Bureau adopted a host of new regulations that were modeled after the recommendations made by the USA Swimming Open Water Task Force led by former IOC vice president Richard Pound and Sid Cassidy (Coach and Technical Expert) and suppported by Erica Rose (Athlete Representative), Dr. Scott Rodeo (Medical Consultant) and Harold Cliff (Events Expert).

Additionally, it was reported that the FINA water temperature study is being conducted at the University of Otago in New Zealand led by Dr. David Gerrard. The researchers will submit a maximum warm water temperature recommendation to FINA by the end of August 2012, and a cold water recommendation and final report to FINA by the end of November 2012.

Good progress and great news all around by the FINA administrators and decision-makers. Thank you very much.

Copyright © 2012 by World Open Water Swimming Association

2 comments:

  1. You can have all the standards in place that have been recommended but if no one is paying attention to the stragglers in a race and a swimmer is in distress there is unforgivable negligence,There must be qualified eyes on all of the swimmers at all times-until they are out of the water and accounted for.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Pete, you are absolutely correct. This is sadly a problem for elite races and amateur events around the world. The solutions are, unfortunately, more difficult to implement as evidenced of the 29 swimmers who have died in open water swimming events over the last 3 years.

    One fundamental problem is that the governing bodies have not studied the circumstances of these deaths and other close calls that have occurred. In fact, governing bodies keep no records or do any investigation of deaths in the sport other than a few isolated instances.

    I observe dozens of open water swimming competitions and triathlons around the world every year - and we are far away from an optimal situation in my opinion.

    At the 2012 Global Open Water Swimming Conference in Long Beach, California in September, safety protocols, procedures and practices will be another topic on the agenda, but these discussions are all outside the bounds of governing bodies. It would be ideal if representatives of governing bodies would also take part in this conference so they can share information and ideas with race directors around the world.

    ReplyDelete

Thank you very much for your interest in the world of open water swimming.

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