To Draft Or Not To Draft, That Is The Question

To Draft Or Not To Draft, That Is The Question

To be an open water swimmer in Australia is to be in nirvana. There are so many competitive and fun open water swims from short ocean sprints to long marathons.

The level of experience ranges from beginners to advanced with participants belonging to swimming, surf lifesaving, triathlon and masters swimming clubs with an increasing number of new fitness swimmers rubbing shoulders at the start with their more experienced brethren.

But there is an interesting situation in Western Australia where open water swimmers can encounter different sets of rules by Swimming Western Australia (that follows FINA open water swimming rules), Surf Life Saving Australia (that follows Surf Life Saving rules) and Masters Swimming Western Australia (that follows Masters Swimming Australia rules).

Under the Masters Swimming Australia open water rules swimmers can be stopped, warned and/or disqualified by a race official who cites the 3-meter rule where the athlete must move or separate in order to be 3 meters clear of their competitors (i.e., no drafting or pack swimming). Essentially, Masters Swimming Australia Rule OWS 5.2 and the 3-meter rule is inconsistent with the FINA Masters open water swimming rules and the FINA open water swimming rules.

Photo of the start of the hugely popular Rottnest Channel Swim.

Copyright © 2010 by World Open Water Swimming Association