It Is An Accident Waiting To Happen

It Is An Accident Waiting To Happen

Trent Grimsey is one of the professional marathon swimming community’s most humble, competitive and willing competitors. He is a wonderful ambassador and supports the sport by doing short ocean swims in his native Australia and long marathon swims on five continents. He never fails to smile and wave to the crowd and lets them know their support is appreciated. He is knowledgeable about swimming in oceans and lakes and is unfailingly polite and grateful for the efforts of race directors, volunteers and fans.

As a competitor, he is willing to race in water temperatures ranging from 11°C to 32°C. As a gentleman, Trent shakes the hands of victors if he loses and he spends time with the media and fans without fail.

But not all is rosy in the races where Trent travels and traverses. Trent writes about his latest marathon adventures in his blog here.

What is striking are his following comments and decision:

“…Unfortunately the water safety in both these FINA Open Water Swimming Grand Prix races were non-existent. There was no one making sure the escort boats or spectator boats kept a safe distance from the swimmers during…the races. At times boats were running into swimmers and nothing was done about it. This is why unless big changes are made I can’t see myself going back. It’s not worth risking my life and safety doing these races for very little reward…”

Often, Trent is the only representative from Oceania in some of the FINA Open Water Swimming Grand Prix races and losing representation from an entire continent is not a positive trend in the sport of marathon swimming. Especially when marathon swimming is growing by leaps and bounds measured by every other parameter.

Accidents happen. That cannot be avoided. But keeping boats with propellers away from teenagers and young adults in the water must be among the highest priorities in every open water swimming competition. While mistakes like a misplaced buoy or timing miscues will occur, these mistakes are not life-threatening. When circumstances in any open water swimming race is life-threatening, all attention and resources must be directed to make immediate changes.

When pressed on his perspective as one of the most prolific and experienced open water swimmers around, Trent explained, “It’s hard to understand…It’s an accident waiting to happen.”

The professional marathon swimming circuit brings hundreds of high-quality, dedicated athletes to its races in Argentina, Italy, Canada, Serbia and Macedonia. They race in front of collectively hundreds of thousands of fans and their exploits are televised in many locations. They are shining examples of role models in the sport – dedicated, humble, intelligent individuals who love their sport and respect their colleagues.

These pro marathon swimmers deserve the highest standards of competition and their pleas and concerns for safety should be impetus for improvement.

Photo above shows Trent Grimsey’s back after his 25K race in 32°C water at the 2011 World Swimming Championships in Shanghai.

Copyright © 2012 by Open Water Source
Steven Munatones