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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Open Water Swimming Not Included

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

The Olympic Games has an open water swimming event. The Special Olympics World Summer Games have an open water swimming event. The World University Games have open water swimming events. The European Swimming Championships have open water swimming events. The Southeast Asian Games have open water swimming events. The Pan Pacific Swimming Championships have an open water swimming event as do the Asian Beach Games, South American Beach Games, Polar Olympics, and many other international competitions.

But what about the Commonwealth Games?

Triathlon events are also held at these international competitions, often with the swimming leg of the triathlon held in the same venue as the open water swimming races.

With the pool swimming events of the Commonwealth Games 2014 winding down today in Glasgow, Scotland, it is a wonder where the open water swimming events are, especially with the prominence of such open water swimming powerhouses like Australia, England, and Canada in these competitions.

Many of 72 of the countries and territories that participate in these quadrennial international competitions have national open water swimming teams, from New Zealand and South Africa to Hong Kong and Singapore.

If triathlon is included, where are the open water swimming events in the Commonwealth Games? The open water swimming competitions do not incur significant or additional costs: a few buoys, escort boats, start and finish pontoons, and much of the exact same equipment used by the triathlon competition.

Open water swimming is one of the 20 optional sports that a Commonwealth Games Organising Committee can choose to include in their sports programme. Seven in total are needed to be selected.

For some undefined reasons, Gold Coast Australia 2018 has not included open water swimming in its sports programme. In the heart of open water swimming in the Southern Hemisphere, in the epicenter of open water swimming Down Under, why isn't open water swimming included?

The locals know how to organize a race. The Australians appreciate swimming competitions. Open water events would help to showcase the natural beauty of the Gold Coast.

If triathlon was selected as an optional event, it would seem that open water swimming is an easily organized addition too.

Manchester 2002, Melbourne 2010 and Glasgow 2014 had a triathlon but no open water swimming although a venue was available. Note: New Delhi 2010 declined triathlon.

Unfortunately, if the national aquatic sports organisations in each host country have not supported open water swimming, but rather are more interested in promoting the addition of more events to the pool programme. But fortunately the world of open water swimming has the Olympics, Special Olympics World Summer Games, World University Games, European Swimming Championships, Southeast Asian Games, Pan Pacific Swimming Championships, Asian Beach Games, South American Beach Games do.

Copyright © 2014 by World Open Water Swimming Association

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