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Friday, April 12, 2013

Officiating Intent In The Open Water World

Officiating in the sport of open water swimming is difficult. There are numerous examples of physicality* around turn buoys and feeding stations, and at the start, mid-section, and finish of races. The greater the number of swimmers, the greater the propensity for physicality. The greater the perceived or actual awards (cash, medals or otherwise), the greater the propensity for physicality. This is simply a function of competition.

But as the rules currently stand, many of the actions or instances of physicality are based on the intent of the swimmer doing the action.

In our opinion, the intent of open water swimmers is difficult to judge in the world of open water swimmers. When we officiate or adjudicate actions in the sport of open water swimming, we look at the action itself and the situation around the action. We do not make a subjective judgment on the intent or thought-process behind the action.

That is, a foul (yellow card or red card) is given because of the action itself (e.g., veering, pulling on legs, elbowing, punching, hitting, scratching, drafting off of a boat during the race, or other acts of unsportsmanlike conduct) rather than the intent or thought behind the action.

But this perspective of judging on the action itself, rather than the intent, appears to be in the minority.

From the perspective of many referees, the action is simply the result of the intent. So, when they adjudicate that when they believe or observe that the intent does not exist, there should be no call. Here is one concrete example, during the Olympic 10K Marathon Swim, one swimmer got hit hard with another swimmer's elbow right between the shoulder blades in the final straightaway. It was clear that he got elbowed as extreme pain shot through his shoulders; however, there was no call because it was judged to be unintentional and incidental contact. However, that same physicality and the same action of elbowing has been judged intentional by other referees in other races.

What is the difference? In one case, the swimmer was hit by an elbow in the back; in the other cases, the swimmer was hit by an elbow in the back. The difference was that in one case, the referee judged that the swimmer did not intend to hit, while in the other cases, the referee judged that the offending swimmers did intend to hit. But in both cases, the effect to the recipient was the same: pain and suffering. However, because the action of elbowing was called differently, the outcome of the races were different. Because the elbowing was based on the subjective decision by the referee, the effect on the races were different.

From our perspective, the result or the effect of the action or incident is the critical issue. The intent is something that we can not and do not use to make judgments on. If a swimmer hits another swimmer, intentionally or not, we would personally rule an infraction occurred. If a swimmers pulls on another swimmer, intentionally or not, we would make the call. But that is not how the rules are currently written and our perspective is in the minority.

At the end of the day in our observations and experience, when intent of the swimmer - that can not be objectively known - is the deciding factor, then rules can be subjectively applied and we think is not a good thing for the sport of open water swimming.

This topic will continue to be discussed in an upcoming Part 2 of Officiating In The Open Water.

* Physicality is the action of physical contact or confrontation in open water swimming competitions. The physical contact can be intentional or unintentional, and is generally caused by many swimmers or triathletes attempting to simultaneously swim in the same area or line, especially at the start, around turn buoys, at feeding stations, or at the finish.

Bumping, scratching, pulling [on legs or arms], veering into, tapping or touching [repeatedly], impeding, slapping, clipping, conking, swiping, whacking, pulling off [goggles or swim caps), cutting off, pummeling, nudging, punching, kicking, elbowing, ziplining, obstructing, interfering, pushing, jostling, shoving, crowding, banging [against], smacking, smashing into or pressing against another athlete, shoreline, river bank, turn buoy, feeding station, escort boat, kayaker, paddler or other fixed or moving object.

Copyright © 2013 by Open Water Swimming

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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

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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.

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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.

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Open Water Race Calendar

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