DNOWS Header

Image Map

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Dealing With Tragedy In Triathlons vs. In Open Water

We have always respected triathletes since we first lived in Honolulu in the 1980's. Training alongside some of the early triathletes from Ian Emberson and Klaus Barth, it was a joy, honor and inspiration to know these pioneers.

From the first few Ironman competitions on the island of Oahu to its annual gripping production of the Ironman in Kona to its introduction at the 2000 Sydney Olympics and massive global growth throughout the 21st century, triathletes have developed their sport and nurtured themselves as responsible, dedicated and focused endurance athletes.

Not everything is perfect, but when something in their sport goes wrong or procedures and policies need to be tweaked or completely rewritten, the triathlon world has always stepped up to the challenge. From athletes and manufacturers to the race directors and administrators, the sport is democratic in a global way where the voices and opinions of the community are considered and implemented in new rules.

It is refreshing and most definitely the right way to go.

The unfortunate recent death of a triathlete in San Francisco Bay has led many in the triathlon community to discuss and propose new rules and ideas to help prevent future tragedies. The opinions are openly discussed and proposed in websites and blogs with a free-flowing share of information is healthy and respected.

These discussions and decisions ultimately lead to improve the sport. Unfortunately, this global community and mindset stand in contrast to the decision-making and mindset in the open water swimming world at the elite competitive level. This is where the sport of triathlon and open water swimming are in contrast:

When a death of a triathlete occurs in San Francisco Bay or New York, opinions are shared and ideas for improvements are solicited and discussed. Should minimum water temperature rules be implemented? Should standards for entry be changed? How can disasters like this be avoided in an emerging sport? Opinions vary but the race directors and administrators consider a wide variety of proposals.

In contrast, when a death of an elite open water swimmer occurs in Dubai, opinions from the community and proposals from the athletes and coaches are ignored and disregarded. Open letters from dozens of elite professional marathon swimmers go unanswered by FINA administrators. Opinions expressed publicly lead to immediate disciplinary actions, which effectively leads to coaches and administrators to be quiet and go along with the FINA policy. Recommendations on how to improve the sport are not viewed positively, but rather as direct criticisms of the administrators.

This is not right and it is not good for the long-term health of the sport.

So when a triathlete dies in cold water conditions, the triathlon community questions itself in a healthy, democratic way. The sport continues to evolve and improve. In this realm and under this environment, the best interests of the race directors and administrators are in line with the athletes.

But when an open water swimmer dies in warm water conditions, FINA determines that not only is the temperature that the athlete died is acceptable for future competitions, but FINA also institutionalizes an EVEN HIGHER water temperature as acceptable for competitions.

Is this right? We think not.

No one in the triathlon world would stand for this kind of decision.

But an open sharing of information and opinions is not welcomed by FINA. There are purposefully no public discussions on whether the maximum water temperature of 31ºC (87.8ºF) is appropriate. FINA determines its rules by itself and heavily criticizes those with different opinions. FINA decides to conduct its own secret scientific investigations of whether or not the maximum water temperature of 31ºC (87.8ºF) is appropriate - and then this information is not made public. Anyone who asks for details of these scientific investigations are ignored and criticized.

A triathlete's death rightly leads to immediate introspection. In contrast, the death of Fran Crippen in October 2010 has led to...a FINA ruling that the maximum water temperature of 31ºC (87.8ºF) is acceptable and an ongoing secret research project that may or may not lead to changes.

The athletes deserve better. The sport deserves better.

As the triathlon community faces its safety issues head-on without fear of reprisals from the sport's administrators, the issue that was raised by the only death of an athlete in a FINA competition has led to...reprisals and a non-discussion of behind-the-scenes research that is inconsistent with not only the opinion of every elite marathon swimmer, but also most physiologists and a large majority of open water swimmers around the world.

Open water swimming can do better.

Copyright © 2013 by Open Water Swimming

No comments:

Post a Comment

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

The Staff of the World Open Water Swimming Association

2014 Global Open Water Swimming Conference

Learn more...
Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER FOR THE CONFERENCE

The Global Open Water Swimming Conference is a conference on the sport of open water swimming, marathon swimming and swimming during triathlons and multi-sport endurance events.

The conference which has been attended by enthusiasts and luminaries from 6 continents, is devoted to providing information about the latest trends, race tactics, training techniques, equipment, psychological preparation, race organization and safety practices used in the sports of open water swimming, marathon swimming and triathlons.

The conference's mission is to provide opportunities to listen and meet many of the world's most foremost experts in open water swimming, and to meet and discuss the sport among swimmers, coaches, administrators, event organizers, sponsors, vendors, officials, escort pilots, and volunteers from kayakers to safety personnel.

Dozens of presentations at the 2014 Conference at the Mount Stuart House cover numerous aspects of the vast and growing world of open water swimming where attendees can learn and share the latest trends, race tactics, training modalities, swimming techniques, equipment, race organization, logistics, operations, and safety practices for open water swimming as a solo swimmer, competitive athlete, fitness swimmer, masters swimmer, triathlete, multi-sport athlete, administrator, race promoter, sponsor or referee.

The conference was first held in Long Beach, California as part of the 2010 USA Swimming National Open Water Swimming Championships. It has since been held on the Queen Mary in California, at Columbia University and the United Nations in New York City, and in Cork, Ireland. This year in September, it comes to another iconic location, the Mount Stuart House on the Isle of Bute in Scotland.

"The Global Open Water Swimming Conference was started due to the desire and need for athletes, coaches, referees, administrators, race directors, promoters and sponsors from around the world to share, collect and learn information about the growing sports of open water swimming, marathon swimming and triathlons," said founder Steven Munatones. "Other swimming conferences usually offering nothing on open water swimming or perhaps a speech or two, but we thought open water swimming deserves its own global conference. It is great that the community shares its information via the online social network, but there is nothing like meeting other open water swimming enthusiasts face-to-face and talking about the sport from morning to night."

Speakers at the conference include English Channel swimmers, ice swimmers, record holders, renowned coaches, world champions, professional marathon swimmers, renowned race directors, officials and administrators from the Africa, Americas, Asia, Europe and Oceania.

"Because the audience is passionate and educated about the sport and its finest practitioners, the Global Open Water Swimming Conference is also the location of the induction ceremonies for the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame and the annual WOWSA Awards that recognize the World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year, the World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year, the World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year, and the World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year. Special Lifetime Achievement Awards are also occasionally presented to individuals who have made significant contributions to the sport over their career."

The 2014 Global Open Water Swimming Conference Programme

Wednesday, September 17th
Leave Glasgow to commence 2-day tour of Scotland [closest international airport is Glasgow]

Thursday, September 18th
Stay Mainland, North of Scotland

Friday, September 19th
14:00 - Swim Loch Lomond
17:00 - Head to Isle of Bute
19:30 - Scottish Banquet
21:30 - Dinner Dance

Saturday, September 20th
09:00 - Registration & Coffee
10:00 - Speeches
12:20 - Lunch and WOWSA Awards
13:40 – Speeches
15:40 - Round Table
19:00 - International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Dinner & Induction Ceremony

Sunday, September 21st
09:00 - Registration & Coffee
10:00 - Speeches
14:30 - Swim in St Ninian's Bay on the Isle of Bute

The luminaries of the open water swimming world who will be honored in Scotland will include:

* Sandra Bucha (U.S.A.), International Swimming Hall of Fame Honor Open Water Swimmer and International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Honour Swimmer
* Jon Erikson (U.S.A.), International Swimming Hall of Fame Honor Open Water Swimmer
* Claudio Plit (Argentina), International Swimming Hall of Fame Honor Open Water Swimmer
* Judith van Berkel-de Njis (Netherlands), International Swimming Hall of Fame Honor Open Water Swimmer
* David Yudovin (U.S.A.), International Swimming Hall of Fame Honor Open Water Swimmer
* Mercedes Gleitze (Great Britain), International Swimming Hall of Fame Honor Open Water Swimmer
* George Young (Canada), International Swimming Hall of Fame Honor Open Water Swimmer
* Dale Petranech (U.S.A.), International Swimming Hall of Fame Honor Open Water Contributor
* Melissa Cunningham (Australia), 2013 Irving Davids-Captain Roger Wheeler Memorial Award winner
* Vojislav Mijić (Serbia), International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Honour Swimmer
* James Anderson (U.S.A.), International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Honour Administrator
* Dr. Jane Katz (U.S.A.), International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Honour Administrator
* Indonesian Swimming Federation, , International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Honour Organisation
* Elizabeth Fry (U.S.A.), International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Honour Swimmer
* Pádraig Mallon (Ireland), the 2013 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year
* Olga Kozydub (Russia), the 2013 World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year
* Bering Strait Swim (international team), the 2013 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year
* International Ice Swimming Association (Ram Barkai, founder, South Africa), the 2013 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year

For additional articles on the 2014 Global Open Water Swimming Conference, visit:

* Olga Kozydub To Be Honored In Scotland
* Pádraig Mallon To Be Honored In Mount Stuart Castle
* Mount Stuart House, Splendid Setting For Swimming
* Colleen Blair To Kick-off Global Open Water Swimming Conference
* The Man Who Swims Better Than He Walks
* Joining In The Sea Goddess At The Hall Of Fame
* Mercedes Gleitze To Be Honored In Scotland
* The Incredible Career Of Merceded Gleitze
* Jon Erikson To Be Honoured In Florida
* The Incredible Career Of Mercedes Gleitze
* St Ninian's Bay To Host International Swim Conference

Copyright © 2014 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Swim Across the English Channel...

OWSM-CM

Who else is looking for a qualified open water swimming coach to help them swim across the English Channel?

Chloë McCardel is a 6-time English Channel Swimmer who inspires and instructs. Access featured content by Chloë in this month's issue of the Open Water Swimming Magazine. Published monthly by WOWSA, the Open Water Swimming Magazine is a digital, interactive publication made available exclusively to WOWSA members. See what you've been missing! Become a WOWSA member today!

Open Water Swimming Magazine


Open Water Swimming Magazine

The Open Water Swimming Magazine is the monthly magazine entirely focused on open water swimming heroes and heroines of every age, ability, and background. Published by the World Open Water Swimming Association, the Open Water Swimming Magazine is a free benefit to WOWSA members.

WOWSA Member Benefits include 12 issues of the Open Water Swimming Magazine, the annual 276-page Open Water Swimming Almanac, a free listing in Sponsor My Swim, outstanding product discounts from FINIS, an entry in Openwaterpedia and more...
LEARN MORE

The Other Shore


The Other Shore follows world record holder and legendary swimmer Diana Nyad as she comes out of a thirty-year retirement to re-attempt an elusive dream: swimming 103 miles non-stop from Cuba to Florida without the use of a shark cage. Her past and present collide in her obsession with a feat that nobody has ever accomplished. At the edge of The Devil’s Triangle, tropical storms, sharks, venomous jellyfish, and one of the strongest ocean currents in the world, all prove to be life-threatening realities. Timothy Wheeler’s documentary brings Diana Nyad’s extraordinary adventure to life as Diana sets out to prove that will and determination are all you need to make the unimaginable possible.
LEARN MORE...

2014 Open Water Swimming Almanac



An Almanac for Open Water Swimming

An almanac is essentially a body of knowledge which is so complete that it enables people in different fields to make predictions about the future of their respective industries.

This, for example, was the purpose of the traditional farmers almanacs. It enabled farmers to determine as accurately as possible which crops to plant for the greatest harvests in a given year.

But the farmers almanac was just one example among many.
There are, of course, many different kinds of almanacs.

In fact, there is even one for open water swimming...

Preview the Open Water Swimming Almanac:
https://www.worldopenwaterswimmingassociation.com/preview-open-water-swimming-almanac


The trends are very clear.
The tide is rising for open water swimming.

SponsorMySwim.com

Open Water Swimming Event Sanctioning

World Professional Marathon Swimming Federation

Open Water Race Calendar

Coaches Education Program