Best Practices Of Open Water Swimming

Best Practices Of Open Water Swimming

The sport of open water swimming is conducted in oceans, rivers, lakes, bays, canals, channels, fjords, lagoons, estuaries and rowing basins. The optimal open water swimming competition would have at least 50 positive aspects to it, including the following:

1. Smooth and convenient pre-race registration options.
2. Pre-race or online open water swimming clinics that offer excellent swimming technique and racing advice for swimmers of all ages, abilities and backgrounds.
3. A cool website with the latest information, including accurate and up-to-date information on the water temperature and a Facebook page or other social media marketing tools.
4. Pre-race media coverage.
5. Swim caps with a cool logo.
6. Adequate parking at the start or the availability of ground transportation if the race is a point-to-point race.
7. Knowledgeable and helpful volunteers who are clearly designated by a t-shirt or identifiable uniform.
8. Key race officials who are knowledgeable, compassionate, fair and helpful.
9. Easy-to-understand race descriptions with photos, distances and directional advice providing information on the expected currents and waves and the position and number of the turn buoys.
10. A large race map at the start of the race.
11. Easy-to-understand last-minute race instructions from the race director or safety personnel with information about the official water temperature and expected conditions ranging from current direction and speed to possibility of marine life.
12. Clear descriptive pre-race announcements aimed at both swimmers and spectators to educate and entertain.
13. A safe, clean, fair start – whether on land or in the water – preceded by an easy-to-understand countdown.
14. Experienced, knowledgeable race officials on the water who objectively officiate the race to order to effectively eliminate unsportsmanlike conduct and any form of cheating.
15. Turn officials to identify individuals who may inadvertently or purposefully not go around all the turn buoys.
16. A lead boat, kayaker and stand-up paddler taking the optimal tangents along the course and who takes into accounts lateral currents, surface chop and other conditions, for each separate heat.
17. In-the-water safety personnel stationed along either side of the course who are positioned to direct errant swimmers back along the optimal course.
18. Considerate boat pilots on or near the course who are experienced to know that swimmers do not appreciate breathing exhaust fumes during the race.
19. Designated swimming area that is free from recreational boaters, Jet Skiers, fishermen, kayakers or anyone else who may potentially interfere with swimmers in the water.
20. Volunteer Swim Angels positioned throughout the course to help nervous, tired or confused swimmers.
21. Large, brightly colored, sequentially numbered turn buoys that easily indicate to the swimmers where they are on the course during the race.
22. Sight lines from turn buoy to turn buoy that are easy to navigate.
23. Immediate guide buoys if necessary or reasonable.
24. Adequate and experienced safety personnel on the water and standing by onshore.
25. Medical personnel onshore in case of emergencies and a safety plan to cover emergencies.
26. Clear and descriptive announcements during the race to entertain and educate the family, friends and fans onshore.
27. A clear and easy-to-understand finish chute, area and target.
28. Finish judges to adjudicate any photo finishes.
29. Experienced timing companies with proven timing systems and finish cameras.
30. Race results immediately available online and on your mobile phone.
31. Live online streaming or television broadcast of the event.
32. Personable, entertaining, knowledgeable and articulate race announcers, preferably both onshore and on the water calling in information during the race.
33. Lots of friendly competitors.
34. Great weather.
35. Pre-documented and well-distributed contingency plans if the weather and conditions do not cooperate and the event must be cancelled, postponed or modified.
36. Cool t-shirts and a fun goodie bag.
37. Unique awards.
38. Prizes for special winners such as the person who guesses their finish time most accurately or who travels from the farthest area.
39. Prizes for the oldest swimmer (each gender) and for physically disabled swimmers.
40. Great post-race entertainment.
41. Unique, local and valuable raffle prizes that are randomly distributed to swimmers.
42. If an eco-swim, adequate pre- and post-race information on the purpose of the swim and what each swimmer and spectator can do to help.
43. If a charity swim, adequate pre- and post-race information on the purpose of the swim and the charity and how much of the race proceeds are finally distributed to the charity.
44. Great photography of the competition provided by professional photographers.
45. Interesting videos of the competition provided by professional videographers.
46. Tweets during the race.
47. The availability of post-race food and drinks for the competitors.
48. A post-race barbeque or meal for both swimmers and spectators.
49. Post-race updates on the website including the ability to upload and shares photographs and videos among the competitors.
50. Post-race media coverage.

Can you think of anything else?

Copyright © 2010 by World Open Water Swimming Association