New FINA Open Water Swimming Rules Announced

New FINA Open Water Swimming Rules Announced

FINA announced its updated Rules and Regulations for its FINA 10km Marathon Swimming World Cup that are effective until 2013.

The new rules were considered and implemented in order to enhance the safety aspects of its professional marathon swimming circuit.

Among the various rule changes, the new Participation / Entries & Competition Format will have specific impact on swimmers, coaches and their national governing bodies:

Entries will be accepted only from National FINA Member Federations which must also enter a coach for each respective swimmer. The role of the coach is to represent the swimmer at the Technical Meeting, coach the swimmer during the practice, and most importantly, feed the swimmer during the event.

The FINA Technical Delegate together with the Chief Referee will accept entries and register only swimmers accompanied by the respective coach who is in charge of swimmer recognition during the race. A swimmer without a coach present will not be allowed to start the race

Other major changes that are effective immediately include the following:

FINA Rule OWS 4.3 related to permissible water temperatures: The water temperature should be a minimum of 16°C. as per the FINA Rule OWS 5.5. It is recommended that the maximum water temperature should not exceed 31°C. In order to study and provide scientific advice on the maximum water temperature for open water swimming events, FINA will collaborate with a group of scientists to establish guidelines.

FINA Rule OWS 4.4 related to use of a training venue: Free use of a suitable swimming pool and open water training venue shall be made available for three (3) days prior to the Event.

FINA Rule OWS 4.5 related to the facilities of the competition venue: The following facilities are to be provided in addition to those given for the Start and Finish areas:
– a suitable boat for each Race Referee to be used and directed entirely at the Referee’s discretion;
– transport to take all Turn Judges to their allocated positions, swimmers representatives to the feeding station/s and to retrieve them immediately after the last swimmer has passed or upon the Referee declaring the competitions closed;
– a suitable boat to allow VIPs to view the competition;
– suitable feeding station/s in accordance with OWS 5.8. Such platform shall be of sufficient size to allow the area to function correctly and safely with the required number of Race Judge/s and Swimmer’s Representatives present;
(Note: where possible a feeding station should be located close to the finish area)
– a suitable lead boat that will maintain a position approximately 100 metres ahead of the leading swimmer;
– a supply boat to provide food and refreshments to all boat occupants throughout the race.

The basic race information made available to all in the Information Bulletin should include:
• When: DCAS – Detailed Competition Activity Schedule
• Where: location, direction and maps;
• Refreshments: arrangements in place communicated to competitors prior to
their arrival at the event;
• How much: entry fee;
• Health and safety information: special local conditions, water temperature,
anticipated water conditions (tides, currents, jellyfish, etc.)
• Format: river, lake, rowing course or open water swims, wave starts
• Result: distribution, when, where;
• Disclaimers: place a disclaimer on the entry form;

FINA OWS 4.6 related to safety: FINA will nominate a Safety Delegate in charge of supervising and deciding on the application of the FINA Rules and Regulations related to the Safety of the Event.

The following are to be provided by the organizing committee and checked by the FINA Safety Delegate:
– rescue safety plan that includes personnel required, necessary equipment (kayak, Jetski, boats, etc.) and position of the personnel on the water and on the shore
– first aid plan (ambulances, personnel and equipment)
– confirmation to the FINA Safety Delegate, the organizing committee’s Safety Officer and with the FINA Medical Delegate that ambulances and medical people are ready near to the course
– confirmation of the designated hospital if further treatment if needed
– safety boats as required, having regard to the course
– stationary safety boats recommended located every 400 meters on the course
– landing points along the course at which withdrawn swimmers can be landed;
– points along the course at which patients can receive immediate treatment;
– spare boats to be available in order to substitute should one in service become
inoperable; and
– enough qualified people available to follow the race
– additional kayaks if the course is a circuit, where not too many boats are allowed to follow the race

FINA OWS 5.6 rule related to the pre-race Technical Meeting (Managers/Representatives Meeting): The organizing committee shall organise a
Technical Meeting (Managers/Representatives Meeting) on the day before the first day of competition of the Event, not later than 17:00. The FINA Technical Delegate shall chair this meeting. The agenda will be as follows:

Welcome and Introduction
o Roll Call of Athletes including the requirement to nominate a coach for each swimmer on the form available. The coach will present themselves at the Athlete Check-in before the race. A coach can be responsible for more than one swimmer. A swimmer without a coach will not be allowed to start the race. Nomination of a coach to check the water temperature.

o Course Overview – outline of the course by the organizing committee including an explanation of the course, identification of any hazards on the course, where the course boundaries are marked by ropes & buoys, swimmers must stay within the course for the duration of the race, including the finish channel, advice on the details of Leader Boat/Kayak if any, feeding pontoon.

o Safety Procedures. Outline of the safety craft that will be on the water. Safety procedures include swimmers floating on their back & raising their hand for assistance. Medical support onsite / hospital information. All swimmers leaving the water during the race (or the swimmers coach) must report to the designated official to ensure all swimmers leaving the course are accounted for. In the event of Race abandonment for any reason, swimmers will be asked to leave the water immediately and will be brought to shore to ensure accounting of all athletes.

o Protest Procedure. As per FINA Rule GR9.2, the Protest must be initially submitted to the Referee for consideration. The Protest fee is Swiss Francs 100. The Jury of Appeal includes the FINA Technical Delegate (Chair) and FINA Safety Delegate and President or representative of the organizing Swimming Federation

FINA OWS Rule 5.7 regarding the event program: The FINA Technical Delegate and FINA Safety Delegate will decide on the start of the race. If the entries are not higher than 50 swimmers for Men or for Women there will be one start for the Men’s race and one start for the Women’s race. For races of more than 50 swimmers there shall be an additional start for every 25 additional swimmers with competitors divided equally between each start.

The order of starts for the swimmers will be designated based on the FINA 10km Marathon Swimming World Cup Rankings of the previous year. The swimmers who did not participate previously at this event will be in the last start.

FINA OWS Rule 6.1 related to FINA Delegates: For each Event, FINA will nominate a Technical Delegate, Doping Control Delegate and a FINA Safety Delegate. FINA may also appoint a Series Managing Director to attend the Events.

FINA OWS Rule 6.3 related to the new FINA Safety Delegate who must chair the Safety Meeting, meet with the organizing committee at least three days prior to the Event to ensure that the safety plan is in accordance with the Rules and Regulations, and event guidelines, ensure that enough qualified people are available to follow the race, ask for additional watercraft (kayaks, JetSki, paddle board, etc.) if the course is a circuit, where not too many boats are allowed to follow the race, ensure with the Safety Officer and the FINA Medical Delegate that ambulances and medical people are ready near to the course.

The complete new rules are listed here.

Copyright © 2011 by Open Water Source
Steven Munatones