qualification

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Rob Kent, LOSTswimming.com (Canada)

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Oct 7, 2010, 7:47:25 AM10/7/10
to Open Water Race Directors
Kate's question on minimum age reminded me of another similar issue...
what do any of you do with regards to "qualification" for a race?

What I mean by that is, our race 3.8km long (Ironman distance) and 2
of the last 3 years we've had our last swimmer really struggle (a
quasi rescue this year)... do any of you have suggestion as to how
best to qualify someone for the race?

There were several swimmers who had never swum the distance and did
fine, so that wouldn't necessarily work.

Cheers,

Rob

Ignacio Martinez Sela

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Oct 8, 2010, 2:46:50 AM10/8/10
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In LEN European Masters OWS Championships they requires minimum time marks (which are quite permisive) by pool or open water (different times)
The problem is how to check this, because it´s really hard in a non-pro age groups, in addition the number of participants swimmers is usually higher than 3000. I know many people that have registered without certificate that marks, and they had no problems, because all of them have official license, have a minimum or self-responsability, and organization can´t refuse your registration.
 
In Navia, we have local old man (72 years old) that loves swimming and participates in our OWS race every year. He have official license, and swims in 1100m. race. We are a bit concerned about him, because, as I said, risk always exists. He always finish in last, but I must say many spectators are waiting him in finish and the bigger cheer is always to him.

From our position, as Organising Comittees, we must provide the correct & suficient security measures, both in water (boats, kayaks, surfers) as in land (medical area/tent, proffesional doctors, ambulances). Our other job is to verify the correct license of the swimmer or decide to formalize a private insurance (that requires a medical certification). 

If you still feel it necessary to take any action, you can fix in your rules an "out of time limit", such as professional races. When the limit is exceeded, all swimmers that are on course yet, are forced to retire and are picked up by security boats. I'm not very keen on this measure, because we must encourage participation and many of those who swim do so better themselves and just achieve took finsh platform is a challenge for many. However if security conditions recommends, it is necessary to aply. Safety must be paramount
 
Greetings

Jose Ferreira Pinto

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Oct 8, 2010, 9:38:40 PM10/8/10
to Open Water Race Directors
Hy Inacio,
I participate in OW events in HK on a regular basis since the
beginning of this year.
When we decided to host the Ocean Swim 5 km race the very same
situation occur.
A Cut-off time was imposed and swimmers where classified towards
previous performances
in shorter distances competitions (3 and 3,5 km). This measure has
discouraged some of more
adventurous guys but let me tell you there were some aged beyond 50
who have done it pretty well.
In fact in our group of friends most have more than 60 years old..and
they perform!
As such, I do believe OWS needs to cater for this kind of sport
events.
Besides we all hope to get there and best of all doing sports all the
time!
Jose

Ignacio Martinez Sela

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Oct 11, 2010, 2:47:51 AM10/11/10
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Dear Jose,

I´m not only understand you but support your opinion. We have a lot of Master swimmers every year in Navia, and we are glad with that fact. In adittion we seriuously believe that a big important future of our sport is based in Masters categories.

However, and as I said, the risk exist always. Risk is present in all the age groups, including ellite swimmers, but is logical thinking the youngest&oldest groups are the most exposed, in spite of many pro-swimmers have incidents during their races because this is not an easy discipline.The most difficult work is how to manage critical situations, and to prevent is a good initial strategy. If we (as organising committees) provide enough safety measures, and registered swimmers have medical certification (+/or parental permission), or official license, we understand they are in conditions to swim.

Most emotives pictures of the races are not only the pro race finish moment but when a non-pro swimmer, whether young or elder, arrives proving to be able to overcome himself and river conditions.

Have a big greeting

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