Women Vs. Men Or Is It Women And Men?

Women Vs. Men Or Is It Women And Men?

As the sport of open water swimming grows and the fields continue to get larger and larger, the need to maintain safety and segregate the swimmers into separate heats becomes more and more evident.

But this raises many issues – none of which are easy to resolve.

How best to separate the heats: by gender? by speed? by age? by swimwear (wetsuit vs. non-wetsuit)? by swimmer’s choice?

If the heats are separated by speed, how do the race organizers best separate the swimmers? Is it by their best times in a pool event? If so, what pool event: the 400-meter free, the 800-meter free, the 1500-meter free? If it is by the open water, is it by their performance in last year’s event? At a different open water event? If so, what are the parameters of the open water qualification swim?

If the heats are separated by gender, and the women’s heats go behind the men, is that fair to the elite women? If the heats are separated by age, what are the optimal age breaks?

These are all good questions so, as a first step, the Daily News of Open Water Swimming posted an online poll that simply asks if women and men should swim in separate heats in open water races.

The available online poll answers are (1) yes, (2) no, (3) it depends, (4) either way is OK, and (5) let the fast women swim against the men. Vote here.

Copyright © 2010 by Open Water Source