Age Restrictions On Young Marathon Swimmers

Age Restrictions On Young Marathon Swimmers

The issue arises year after year – solo marathon swims by children who are younger than 14 years old.

These children, supported by their parents and coaches, want to swim across lakes and channels around the world. But there are established rules regarding this issue that are strictly adhered to by numerous organizations and governing bodies.

FINA established rules (FINA OWS 1.2) that do not permit children under the age of 14 years to swim in its sanctioned races (5K and over). While the channel swimming organizations used to sanction swims by children in the past, both the Channel Swimming Association and the Channel Swimming and Piloting Federation now only permit swims by swimmers who are at least 16 years old. The Catalina Channel Swimming Federation not only does not observe attempts to swim the channel by children under the age of 14, it also does not allow children under 14 to be allowed on any boat to accompany any swimmer.

That being said, some races directors and organizations allow children to swim in their marathon races and sanction their solo marathon swims. While organizations are free to make their own decisions while parents and coaches usually see their child as the exception to the general rule, it is common practice among the global marathon swimming community to not encourage channel or solo marathon swims by children under the age of 14.

For certain, there are plenty of swims under 10 kilometers they can do around the world that they can enjoy and where they can push themselve. And, of course, after they turn 14, they are free to swim marathons for the rest of their lives.

Copyright © 2011 by World Open Water Swimming Association
Steven Munatones