standardization of the finish chute

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Steven Munatones

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Jul 25, 2010, 2:04:15 PM7/25/10
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Jay,

What is the optimal finish chute construction?

Steven

-----Original Message-----
From: Jay Thomas [mailto:jayft...@comcast.net]
Sent: Sunday, July 25, 2010 10:30 AM
To: 'Steven Munatones'; 'Anna Rita Strydom'; 'Greg Towle'; 'Mark Perry';
'Bob Placak'; 'Rick Walker'; 'Marc Randell'; 'Mark Gill'; 'Mark McCaw';
'Morty Berger'; 'Hannah Borgeson'; 'Brent Imonen'; 'Bill Wadley'; 'Gerry
Rodrigues'; 'Chris LaBianco'; 'Chip Carrigan'; Dpetr...@aol.com; 'Fabian,
John (Jack)'; 'Mel Goldstein'; 'Beth Barnes'; 'Igor de Souza'; 'Johnson,
Timothy'; 'John Kinney'; 'Jim Miller MD'; 'Jason Moody'; 'Kate Alexander';
'Keith Bell'; 'Laura Colette'; 'ned denison'; 'Nancy S. Martin'; 'Peter
Mackay'; 'Paul Newsome'; 'Pierre Lafontaine'; 'Sally & 'Charlie''; 'Sid
Cassidy'; 'Shannon Gillespy'; 'Vito Bialla'; 'Bill Ireland'; 'Mike Miller';
'William Schulz'; 'Scott Richards'; 'Zports Event Management'; 'G. Michael
Gobrecht'; 'Ruth Rosano'; 'Gerry Rodrigues'; 'Shelley Taylor-Smith'; 'Philip
Rush'
Subject: RE: you may want to join the Open water swimming Google Group -
part 3 of 3

Hi Steve,

Thanks for putting this thread together.

I think in USA Swimming and FINA sanctioned competitive "Championship"
events, it is important that we standardize certain areas of those
competitions. I think it is extremely important that we firmly establish
certain criteria for buoys to include standard nomenclature and procedures.
We are clarifying nomenclature in the 2011 USA Swimming rules proposals.

Guide Buoy - A distinctively marked colored float in the water, anchored to
provide navigational guidance for swimmers may be used. Guide buoys are not
directional in nature and swimmers may pass on either side of the buoy.
Guide buoys must be colored differently from turn buoys.

Turn Buoys - All turns and other changes in direction on the course shall be
clearly indicated by turn buoys which are distinctively marked colored
floats, anchored to mark the course for the swimmers. Turn buoys are
directional in nature and must be passed with a right shoulder turn or left
shoulder turn, as stated in the pre-race instructions.

We are not proposing to standardize the color of the turn buoys but do say
they must colored differently than the turn buoys. We wanted flexibility
there and not be too restrictive to Meet Directors.

I also believe that we should standardize the status of Finish Chutes and
the buoys attached to them. My personal feelings is that they should
considered as turn buoys and have a required passing direction. Between the
buoys and inside the chute lines if used. (Fran)

In the primarily "participant" races, I think that we can and should appeal
to a broader audience of participants and offer a wide variety of events -
it keeps things fresh and interesting. If a beach start and beach finish
can be done safely at a particular venue and the Meet Director wants to have
that as part of the event - why not. I would like to see all events get to
standard nomenclature of course markings. If everyone at every race used
standard and common nomenclature for the course marking, I think there would
be less confusion for all concerned. Any swimmer going to any race would
understand the course requirements for any race.

A race across a lake might not have any turn buoys - just guide buoys -
maybe finish chute buoys. In a beach race, there might just be two turn
buoys and no guide buoys - Out 50m off the beach - right shoulder turn
around the Orange buoy - parallel to the beach for 1500m to the next orange
buoy - right shoulder turn to the beach - between the two flags to the
finish chute.

Great discussion.

Thanks,

Jay

-----Original Message-----
From: Steven Munatones [mailto:head...@10Kswim.com]
Sent: Sunday, July 25, 2010 11:57 AM
To: 'Steven Munatones'; Anna Rita Strydom; Greg Towle; 'Mark Perry'; Bob
Placak; Rick Walker; Marc Randell; Mark Gill; Mark McCaw; 'Morty Berger';
'Hannah Borgeson'; 'Brent Imonen'; Bill Wadley; 'Gerry Rodrigues'; Chris
LaBianco; Chip Carrigan; Dpetr...@aol.com; 'Fabian, John (Jack)'; Mel
Goldstein; 'Beth Barnes'; Igor de Souza; 'Johnson, Timothy'; John Kinney;
Jay Thomas; Jim Miller MD; Jason Moody; Kate Alexander; Keith Bell; 'Laura
Colette'; 'ned denison'; 'Nancy S. Martin'; Peter Mackay; 'Paul Newsome';
Pierre Lafontaine; 'Sally & 'Charlie''; Sid Cassidy; Shannon Gillespy; 'Vito
Bialla'; Bill Ireland; Mike Miller; William Schulz; 'Scott Richards';
'Zports Event Management'; G. Michael Gobrecht; Ruth Rosano; 'Gerry
Rodrigues'; Shelley Taylor-Smith; Philip Rush
Subject: you may want to join the Open water swimming Google Group - part 3
of 3

I believe Colin got it right when he suggested that decisions should be made
based on one's target audience. Some traditionalists detest wetsuits or any
swimwear even remotely including polyurethane, including neoprene hats. On
the other end of the spectrum, newcomers to the sport or triathletes are
more comfortable swimming in their wetsuits. If you hold a race in the warm
temperatures of the Caribbean or the cool lakes of Canada, then your target
audience may change. From what I have heard, many competitive athletes
simply want a level playing field. So, like in Colin's races, if the elite
field wears wetsuits, then it is acceptable. But, if there are
non-wetsuiters and wetsuiters competing like in Alaska's Pennock Island
Challenge, then everyone prefers different award categories.

There are even a few races around the world where the race directors have
formulated a handicap system where the wetsuiters are given a time penalty
(or, in the reverse situation, the non-wetsuiters start first). Different
formulas give different results, but this is fun to do...and eventually over
a longer period of time, each race director will figure out the equitable
time penalty (or differential) based on the distance, conditions and water
temperature.

Steven Munatones
Huntington Beach, California, U.S.A.

-----Original Message-----
From: Steven Munatones [mailto:head...@10Kswim.com]
Sent: Sunday, July 25, 2010 8:55 AM
To: 'Steven Munatones'; Anna Rita Strydom (gro...@acenet.co.za); Greg Towle
(Greg....@swimming.org.au); 'Mark Perry'; Bob Placak
(RCPAss...@placak.com); Rick Walker (rwa...@siu.edu); Marc Randell
(mara...@theathletevillage.com); Mark Gill (mark...@usms.org); Mark
McCaw (Mm2...@comcast.net); 'Morty Berger (mbe...@nycswim.org)'; 'Hannah
Borgeson'; 'Brent Imonen'; Bill Wadley (Wadl...@osu.edu); 'Gerry
Rodrigues'; Chris LaBianco (clab...@yahoo.com); Chip Carrigan
(carr...@fuse.net); 'Dpetr...@aol.com'; 'Fabian, John (Jack)'; Mel
Goldstein (goldst...@sbcglobal.net); 'Beth Barnes'; Igor de Souza
(ig...@maratonaaquatica.com.br); 'Johnson, Timothy'; John Kinney
(jkj...@verizon.net); Jay Thomas (jayft...@comcast.net); Jim Miller MD
(JWMS...@aol.com); Jason Moody (jason...@powerhousetiming.com); Kate
Alexander (kate...@candw.ky); Keith Bell (kb...@austin.rr.com); 'Laura
Colette'; 'ned denison'; 'Nancy S. Martin'; Peter Mackay
(pma...@global.ky); 'Paul Newsome'; Pierre Lafontaine
(plafo...@swimming.ca); 'Sally & 'Charlie''; Sid Cassidy
(Sid.C...@saintandrewsschool.net); Shannon Gillespy
(gill...@verizon.net); 'Vito Bialla'; Bill Ireland (wire...@hbblaw.com);
Mike Miller (winea...@yahoo.com); William Schulz
(pennochc...@hotmail.com); 'Scott Richards'; 'Zports Event Management';
G. Michael Gobrecht (mi...@wsyswim.org); Ruth Rosano (rro...@swimming.ca);
'Gerry Rodrigues'
Subject: you may want to join the Open water swimming Google Group - part 2
of 3

Many coaches around the world would like standardization in the form of
commonly sized intermediate and turn buoys of the same size, color and shape
(e.g., red buoys at the turns, yellow buoys as intermediate points of
reference). While this may not be practical in many courses, there are some
advantages to this standardization.

In other endurance sports like marathon running and cycling, athletes are
often given specific clues as to where they are on in course (e.g., via mile
or kilometer markers). While many athletes understand where they are along
a course via landmarks, it would be great to at least number the turn buoys
(e.g., #1, #2, #3) or at least indicate the halfway point. Experienced
swimmers may not need this navigational aid, but newcomers may appreciate
the information.

If buoys could be standardized, then perhaps some would be interested in
taking their splits from year-to-year. At the USA Swimming national and
FINA world championships, we have recently implemented split timing which
has added a whole additional element to the sport of open water swimming.
Athletes and coaches can now understand pacing (despite differences in the
elements from race to race) differently from before and there is something
more to talk about.

Standardizing the course becomes easier as most races are now measured by
GPS. Enabling athletes to know they crossed the 1-mile or 1K mark at 20
minutes on race course #1 and finding out they swam through the
mile/kilometer mark at 22 minutes on race course #2 would be cool and
motivational for some.

Standardizing the size and shape of turn buoys could allow sponsors to place
their logos on a number of turn buoys on different races. So, for example,
if Red Bull wanted to sponsor a number of races in California or the Cayman
Islands or Florida or Fiji, then Red Bull could have logos of a standard
size and the logos could be placed on a number of races.

Just a few ideas from Huntington Beach, California, U.S.A.

Steven Munatones

-----Original Message-----
From: openwater-r...@googlegroups.com
[mailto:openwater-r...@googlegroups.com] On Behalf Of Steven
Munatones
Sent: Saturday, July 24, 2010 1:33 PM
To: openwater-r...@googlegroups.com
Subject: RE: Standardization in Open Water Swimming

FYI - the sterile, standard 10K course has certain advantages that were
necessary to be added to the Olympic program. (1) All the Olympics have
rowing courses, but they do not necessarily have safe or appropriate open
water venues close to the Village. (2) The cost of putting on a marathon
swim in a rowing basin is lower than hosting a marathon swim in the ocean or
lake due to a variety of factors (e.g., number of safety boats, buoys,
etc.). (3) The ease of televising. (4) The cost of televising due to the
infrastructure that is already in place for rowing. (5) The spectator stands
that are already in place. (6) The ability to charge for spectators in a
rowing basin.

For these reasons and a few others, the International Olympic Committee and
FINA believed marathon swimming was a reasonable addition to the 2008
Beijing Olympics. With a non-rectangular course in Hyde Park with difficult
tangents and 9 turn buoys to navigate over 6 loops at the 2012 London
Olympics and the tricky ocean course in Copacabana Beach set for the 2016
Rio Olympics, I think the navigational IQ of the world's fastest marathon
swimmers will be put to the test during the next few Olympics.

At the recent FINA World Championships in Roberval, Canada, the athletes
were faced with a course that may have looked easy to many experienced
marathon swimmers, but it was rather difficult for reasons that were not
immediately apparent. There were 6 different tangents along each course,
the turn buoys were small, the course never went parallel to the shore or
breakwater, the turn angles were all different, and the water temperature
fluctuated daily between 62 degrees F (17 degrees C) and 75 degrees F (24
degrees C). The next world championships in Shanghai will be held in a
rowing basin and will most likely be rectangular in shape, but because this
race will also be in Olympic 10K Marathon Swim qualification race, the
athletes, coaches and officials will be under tremendous pressure.

That being said, I agree that the beauty of open water swimming is that
courses are not standard in any way due to their course layout, distance,
position of turn buoys, differences in starts/turns, currents, water
temperature, currents, wind speed, altitude, marine life, level of
competition, etc. The sport truly offers something for everyone.

Steven Munatones
Huntington Beach, California

-----Original Message-----
From: openwater-r...@googlegroups.com
[mailto:openwater-r...@googlegroups.com] On Behalf Of Ron Collins
Sent: Friday, July 23, 2010 4:05 PM
To: openwater-r...@googlegroups.com
Subject: Re: Standardization in Open Water Swimming

In addition to being a race director, I have also been w/ the USLA
United States Lifesaving Assn and they do competitions that are
standard, but local variants change the standard. In fact, to be a
lifeguard at a USLA agency, there is no standardized training on the
national level and instead, defer to the "local knowledge" of the local
trainer.

Standardization for open water swimming would make it even more sterile
than the current 10K, rectangular course, complete with their judging,
infractions, and photo finishes. They've already made that event as
much like a pool event as is possible. If standardization makes for
safer events, great... but if there's standardization just so we can
sterilize the sport, that's just wrong.

Thank you,

Ron Collins
www.DistanceMatters.com


Chris Sheean wrote:
> As the race director for the Big Shoulders Open Water Swim in Chicago,
> I agree wholeheartedly with Colin's sentiments regarding making open
> water swimming available to as wide an audience as possible. We have
> separate wetsuit divisions for both our 5K and 2.5K swims, and make an
> effort to be as inclusive as possible for wetsuit swimmers. As for
> the use of the swimskins and other suits now illegal in pool swimming,
> I believe the simplest course is to point to the FINA open water
> standard, and follow their directives. So long as FINA allows suits
> below the knees, over the shoulders, etc., it makes sense for the open
> water race directors to follow suit.
>
> As for standardization of starts/finishes, I think that could be a
> mistake. One of the things that makes our races great are their
> unique characteristics. Perhaps an in water start in the Thames is
> the best/most workable/most exciting start, but that isn't feasible
> for all. For Big Shoulders, the in-water start insures a safer start,
> while the run up to the beach finish makes for many exciting climaxes
> at the end of the events. I would compare the differences between
> race qualities to the differences in topography and climate in running
> race like the marathon. What makes some marathons great are their
> unique challenges.
>
> Steve - thanks for putting this together - it's a great resource.
>
> Colin - would love to chat sometime about your amazing success in
> growing your series.
>
> Best,
>
> Chris Sheean
>
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> *From:* Colin Hill www.greatswim.org <colin...@nova-international.com>
> *To:* Open Water Race Directors <openwater-r...@googlegroups.com>
> *Sent:* Thu, July 22, 2010 3:43:14 AM
> *Subject:* Re: Standardization in Open Water Swimming
>
> HI Bill,
>
> I look after our Great Swim Series in the UK, but compared to you we
> are fairly new on the block. We will have 20,000 swimmers taking part
> in our swims this year and far from banning wetsuits, we've tried to
> keep the whole thing open and inclusive. People can wear wetsuits,
> speedsuits or swimwear - if the temp falls below 15 degrees then
> wetsuits are compulsory. This keeps triathletes, channel swimmers and
> most importantly those new to swimming outdoors less restrictions into
> entering our events (which are one mile). I'd say that at least 90%
> of those swimming decide to wear a wetsuit of thier own choice,even
> when the water is over 20 degrees.
> Our elite races, they all wear wetsuits.
> At our London Swim recently we had 12 waves of swimmers going off
> every 30 mins (with the elite races at noon and 12.30). Each wave has
> 300 swimmers and people select online when they want to swim. This
> allows the waves to be random mixed ability - so people still race and
> they get there position on the website, but that isn't the focus on
> the day. We had around well of 10,000 spectators watching the 5000
> swimmers and the elite race ((won of course by Mr Lurz) pulled in a
> huge crowd.
> So for us, its very much keep it as open and welcoming as possible a
> mix of British Swimming, FINA and British Long Distance Swimming rules
> to come up with our own to suit our target audience.
>
>
>
> Colin
>
> On Jul 21, 4:44 pm, wvwelz...@aol.com <mailto:wvwelz...@aol.com> wrote:
> > Steve,
> >
> > Greetings! I hope you are well. Our 34th Annual went swimmingly well.
> >
> > What I would appreciate as a swim organizer is some clear standard
> on what is acceptable swim apparel. We already ban wet suits and any
> suits that will give an unfair advantage to the swimmer but I need
> something more specific, something to communicate to the swimmers so
> as to avoid our race director from controversies and headaches on race
> morning. If something exist please forward what you have to me. I am
> not interested in recreating the wheel (if it already exists!!). Thanks.
> >
> > Bill Welzien
> > Organizer
> > The 35th Annual Swim Around Key West (12.5 miles)
> >
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: Munatones <st...@pan-pacific-partners.com
> <mailto:st...@pan-pacific-partners.com>>
> > To: Open Water Race Directors
> <openwater-r...@googlegroups.com
> <mailto:openwater-r...@googlegroups.com>>
> > Sent: Wed, Jul 21, 2010 11:20 am
> > Subject: Standardization in Open Water Swimming
> >
> > In discussions with coaches, swimmers and others involved in open
> > water swimming, there appears to be a growing call to standardization
> > in our sport.
> >
> > Before we discuss specifics, what general categories would be good to
> > discuss regarding standardization? Please consider three general race
> > formats in the following categories:
> >
> > (a) Amateur mass participation races in lakes, rivers, bays, oceans,
> > seas, fjords, reservoirs, channels or dams
> > (b) Olympic 10K Marathon Swim
> > (c) Professional races of any distance
> >
> > 1. Turn Buoys - size, shape, color, markings
> > 2. Start Instructions by Referee
> > 3. Course Layout
> > 4. Finish Chute / Platform - in-the-water and onshore
> > 5. Hand signals from referees to swimmers in the water
> > 6. Distances
> > 7. Others. If so, what?
> >
> > Thank you very much for your input. Your frank ideas, questions,
> > needs and requests are greatly appreciated.
> >
> > --
> > Thank you very much for your interest in open water swimming.
> > You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google
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>
> --
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Thank you very much for your interest in open water swimming.
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google
Groups "Open Water Race Directors" group.
To post to this group, send email to
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JWMS...@aol.com

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Jul 25, 2010, 2:36:31 PM7/25/10
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Hi Steve,
 
I think that we should take the next step and standardize the colors of course buoys while we are at it - i.e. orange for course buoys that you have to honor and yellow for marking buoys.  White buoys do not work since they are so affected by light.  So, if the entry of the chute is mandatory, it would be marked by orange.  If a warning buoy is present showing that a turn is coming it would be yellow, since there are no restrictions surrounding this marker.  If another color is needed, consider neon green, which interestingly I do not ever recall seeing.
 
Jim

Jay Thomas

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Jul 25, 2010, 2:54:31 PM7/25/10
to Steven Munatones, Anna Rita Strydom, Greg Towle, Mark Perry, Bob Placak, Rick Walker, Marc Randell, Mark Gill, Mark McCaw, Morty Berger, Hannah Borgeson, Brent Imonen, Bill Wadley, Gerry Rodrigues, Chris LaBianco, Chip Carrigan, Dpetr...@aol.com, Fabian, John (Jack), Mel Goldstein, Beth Barnes, Igor de Souza, Johnson, Timothy, John Kinney, Jim Miller MD, Jason Moody, Kate Alexander, Keith Bell, Laura Colette, ned denison, Nancy S. Martin, Peter Mackay, Paul Newsome, Pierre Lafontaine, Sally & 'Charlie', Sid Cassidy, Shannon Gillespy, Vito Bialla, Bill Ireland, Mike Miller, William Schulz, Scott Richards, Zports Event Management, G. Michael Gobrecht, Ruth Rosano, Shelley Taylor-Smith, Philip Rush, openwater-r...@googlegroups.com
Hi Steve,

For an in water finish the rules say the touch plate shall be at least 5m
wide. I think that is good wording in that it gives the host flexibility to
build something larger if that is needed and they want to spend the money.

I think the chute "lane" should be minimum of 25y (or 25m) whatever is
available. 50m lines can cause problems with wind and/or currents...but
there are some situations that they could work. I think the opening to the
chute should be somewhat less than the length of the chute lines. For 25y
long - maybe 20 y wide. For 50y long maybe 35-40y wide. As you know it is
going to depend on the what the finish area looks like. The idea is that
the chute bet there to "collect" swimmers and funnel them to the finish
structure. I haven't actually ever measured it.....I sort of use the TLAR
method - That Looks About Right. I know when it is too skinny and or too
fat.

Another thing I think that should be required is that the finish touch plate
must be perpendicular to the direct course line from the last turn buoy to
the finish. That requirement needs to also apply to the start line. That
way there is no favored end to either the start or finish.

Jay

-----Original Message-----
From: Steven Munatones [mailto:head...@10Kswim.com]
Sent: Sunday, July 25, 2010 2:04 PM
To: 'Jay Thomas'; 'Anna Rita Strydom'; 'Greg Towle'; 'Mark Perry'; 'Bob
Placak'; 'Rick Walker'; 'Marc Randell'; 'Mark Gill'; 'Mark McCaw'; 'Morty
Berger'; 'Hannah Borgeson'; 'Brent Imonen'; 'Bill Wadley'; 'Gerry
Rodrigues'; 'Chris LaBianco'; 'Chip Carrigan'; Dpetr...@aol.com; 'Fabian,
John (Jack)'; 'Mel Goldstein'; 'Beth Barnes'; 'Igor de Souza'; 'Johnson,
Timothy'; 'John Kinney'; 'Jim Miller MD'; 'Jason Moody'; 'Kate Alexander';
'Keith Bell'; 'Laura Colette'; 'ned denison'; 'Nancy S. Martin'; 'Peter
Mackay'; 'Paul Newsome'; 'Pierre Lafontaine'; 'Sally & 'Charlie''; 'Sid
Cassidy'; 'Shannon Gillespy'; 'Vito Bialla'; 'Bill Ireland'; 'Mike Miller';
'William Schulz'; 'Scott Richards'; 'Zports Event Management'; 'G. Michael
Gobrecht'; 'Ruth Rosano'; 'Gerry Rodrigues'; 'Shelley Taylor-Smith'; 'Philip

Rush'; openwater-r...@googlegroups.com
Subject: standardization of the finish chute

John Kinney

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Jul 25, 2010, 4:21:36 PM7/25/10
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Jay et al: I thought crossed my mind relative to your proposal of making the chute a mandatory path to the finish. Other than safety, I cannot see a major issue. The only thing that I envision is to reach the finish first and safely without interferring with the other competitors. Am I missing something? Thanks, John Kinney

Dpetr...@aol.com

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There are so many considerations that I'll just provide a series of one liners.
 
1.  The term is "Open water," which indicates that there will always be differences in the course. Even in a defined rectangular course, water temps and wind direction and force will prevent standardization of the course.  
 
1a. Especially in the 25K, please let's not insist on a lap swim. If we must revert to an escorted swim, lets do it. If a lap swim race is elected, please let make them longer laps, the longer the better. But if shorter laps are required, like  for the race in Hyde Park, so be it. To me one of the advantages of Open Water is that there is no standard course and swimmers have to adjust to the conditions. I have often commented that what I liked about OWS was that the best swimmers may not always win.
 
2. For World Championships and Olympics events, I think advance notification (Perhaps at the same time to bid to host the event is submitted) of the course and other physical  factors should be sufficient. As an aside I can remember when the TOWSC was discussing the issue of Minimum Water Temperatures, I pointed out that the figure presented by the British representative would mean that  that country would probably be unable  to bid to host any Open Water Championship
 
3. Jay Thomas' comments on the finish area seem sensible and could be standardized by FINA Rules. But we do not need and elaborate expensive finish area. Just one that gets the job done effectively. To repeat a suggestion that I have made several time... Lets modify a water polo goal.. Wire it properly with cameras and other timing instruments and we are in business. But we should standardize what will be required at the finish.
 
Enough said for now
 
 
Dale Petranech

Johnson, Timothy

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Everyone,

I just came back from Lac St. Jean in Canada.  I only went to one race because I was bored to tears.  I have some suggestions: 

1.       Change all race distances to one lap because if everyone is just pacing until the last lap, who cares how many they did prior to the last one. 

2.       In lieu of suggestion #1, use the model from biking time trials and send each swimmer off at set intervals; slowest first and fastest last. 

3.       Suggestion #2 will also eliminate injuries and other issues at turns.

4.       Ask Speedo to design a cap that will prominently display the swimmer’s number when the swimmer is in the prone position.  This would possibly involve a semi-rigid structure like a rooster comb.  (oh, you laugh…but the father next to me had no idea where is daughter was in the course, I asked for the number and using the only pair of marine binocular in the entire stands, I could tell him where his daughter was but the bobbing of the head made identification difficult).

5.       In lieu of suggestion #4, install RFID markers in the swimmer caps, have readers at each turn buoy, wireless connect the turn buoys readers to a receiver unit on shore connected to a computer, wirelessly connected to several LARGE display monitors that would show each swimmer progress thru the course easily visible to observers in the stands without binocular.  The video portion of this event broadcast could also be sent over video channels so families can bring their portable computers and connect via a URL.

6.       Manhattan Island Foundation current uses GPS technology to track swimmers progress around Manhattan and post the URL on their website.  This technology makes possible timing of swims from a remote location.  This would eliminate the hand touch at the finish. 

7.       With one decent camera, a new computer with video imaging capability and a large screen monitor, it’s very easy and inexpensive (except for the monitor—which could be rented) to broadcast an event locally.

8.       Contact the NFL (or NHL) and get the people that put the magic yellow line on the screen showing the placement of the football to superimpose swimmer names and numbers on a LIVE video shot.  They were doing this in this year’s Tour de France to show lead bikers position in the peloton.

9.       Vendor should sell inflatable seat cushions.  I must have been surrounded by professional bench sitters because they has some nice equipment. 

10.   You have to get rid of the gasoline engines and switch over to electric motors or buy new Yamaha 4-stroke engines.  I’m in the stand and I could smell the fumes. 

 

Just some suggestions to help the discussion along.  I’ve previously been involved in swims on the water so when I had to go watch one, geez was it boring.  I’ve never had to think about the spectators viewpoint before.  If the sport is to grow, we’re going to have to. 

Levity moment: For some reason at Lac St. Jean, all announcements were made in the French language and they put gravy on their French fries.  I’m also developing a formula that will serve as a guide to the probability of a health inspector visiting a local restaurant showing that it is inversely proportional to the square of the distance from the provincial capital.

 

Prof. Tim Johnson, PE, Cap'n

Dobbs Rm #218

Department of Electronics and Mechanical

Wentworth Institute of Technology

550 Huntington Ave.

Boston, MA 02115

Tel: 617-989-4128

Fax: 617-989-4591

website: http://myweb.wit.edu/johnsont

Morty Berger (mberger@nycswim.org)

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Jul 26, 2010, 7:27:45 AM7/26/10
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Since I was called out in Tim’s email ---

 

GPS technology is great for improving the spectator experience – especially for those who cannot get to the event. However, it must be noted that GPS cannot be used for scoring purposes as the positioning is not exact and environmental conditions (buildings, cloud cover etc) will impact and limit performance.

 

Additionally, GPS devices, in their current forms, cannot be attached to the athlete during the competition. Even if they could attach to the athlete, they are not, and never will be, for scoring purposes, as accurate as the RFID and camera combo solutions out currently.

 

One day – my hope is that there will be devices that are lightweight, FLEXIBLE, small, have long battery lives, can easily attached to each of a participant’s wrists (for touch pads) and goggle strap on the back of the head so information can be sent, that is enabled for RFID (no battery required), GPS (battery required) and SMS/Cell phone (battery required – needed to GPS transport positions and RFID trips). The event directors will also have to create multiple water-based RFID gates to trip the RFID – which alone, their implementation will make the recent discussion regarding race marks like child’s play.

 

GPS alone will never remove the need for hand touches at the finish and as the technology makes its way into open water swimming, I would counsel race directors to turn off the data going to the public 3 or 4 minutes prior to the end of the events – as the information that the GPS dedicated devices provide will give the spectators inaccurate readings of who won the races.

 

-m

 

 

 

Btw, we go by NYC Swim and not the Manhattan Island Foundation anymore.

 

 

Morty Berger

Founder, NYC Swim

42 West 24th Street, Second Floor

New York, New York 10010

Phone: 212 873-0272

Fax: 212 784-6850

 

NYCheartSwim

Steven Munatones

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Morty,

 

I understand that the 2012 London Olympics 10K marathon swim course may attack the problem of locating/distinguishing athletes in an open water course from a different use of technology.  The course in the Serpentine will be ringed by floating buoys with transmitters that will triangulate each swimmer’s position via GPS and transponders on the athletes’ wrists.  As each swimmer passes the buoy, their position and time will be noted and posted in near real-time online for the global audience. 

 

I know we will learn a lot by what Sam Greetham and his British colleagues are developing for the Olympic 10K course in 2012.  I believe they will roll-out  this innovative tracking during the test event in 2011.

 

Tim,

 

I understand your lack of interest in a loop course.  On the other hand, among elite athletes – just like in the Tour de France or track events ranging between 800m – 5000m, there is great importance assigned to positioning within a pack.  This strategic positioning may not necessarily appeal to American sports fans, but the subtleties of positioning are not lost on the athletes and coaches at the fastest echelon of the sport.  So while some may observe a pack of swimming “just drafting off one another ”, others see athletes moving into various positions due to the strengths, weaknesses, tendencies and primary breathing side of their competitors.  Some may see athletes “comfortably pacing around an easy-to-navigate course” while others see athletes doing short bursts of speed to gain advantages around turn buoys and feeding stations.  A study of the split times – and the differences between male and female packs – are interesting and illustrative to those who study such minutiae of the sport. 

 

Also, lest people in the open water swimming world think that the marathon swimmers who compete in simple rectangular courses have lower navigational IQ’s than experienced ocean swimmers who take into account water temperatures, tides, currents, swells and surface chop in the open water, it has been my observation that these elite swimmers swim extraordinarily straight and remain quite streamlined even in turbulent conditions.  It has been my observation that these elite swimmers generally sight every 15-20 strokes and nearly always swim along the optimal tangents in no matter salt/fresh/rough/smooth/cold/water-water course they are navigating.   

 

When I observe the best open water swimmers across generations (e.g., Greta Andersen in the 1950s, John Kinsella in the 1970s, Paul Asmuth in the 1980s, Shelley Taylor-Smith in the 1990s), they swim remarkably similarly to the best athletes of today.  That is, when I see 2010 world 5K champion Eva Fabian swim, I recognize Penny Dean breaking the English Channel record in 1978.  When I see Thomas Lurz win another world championship, it reminds me of John Kinsella in the 1970s dominating the pro circuit.

 

In a cursory view of the approved swimsuits for FINA, it appears that Speedo does not make/sell any open water-specific swimsuits.  It is my guess Speedo is not motivated to design or produce any open water-specific products.

 

Steven Munatones

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Shannon Gillespy

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Jul 26, 2010, 2:12:36 PM7/26/10
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Ok just checking but rrreeeaaalllyy who are you??

Sent from my iPhone

Laura Colette

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Back to what Jim said about organizing course buoys, many teams/local area swim organizations already own their buoys and I don't see a lot of them paying money to get a 'standardized buoy' in this economy.  Maybe if the governing organizations want to buy them for specific events, i.e. elite or pro races, then rent them out it makes more sense.

What I would love is a rule that says if the buoys are say red and orange, none of the caps given to waves of swimmers can be that color.  I have found myself sighting on an 'orange buoy', only to find out that it really is a person from a wave in front of me... that is disheartening...  

Also, Timothy the concept of a 'time trial' approach is kind of contrary to 'open water swim races.'  There is a reason that they have been likened to the Nascar of the swimming world, part of it is the the strategy, the line and the contest between everyone in the group.  If you want to do a solo marathon swim, that is done more like a time trial...

Someone mentioned having buoys at the half way point, many race course maps have a distance marked from start to buoy #1, to buoy #2, etc... That appears to work much better and more people do look at that map prior to swimming and at the pre-race meeting.  I'm also not into just square courses, there is more fun in the variety and also due to conditions some courses have to be adjusted on race day due to winds, etc.  I have seen a number of squarish courses become out and backs because it was safer on the day.  The cool thing about open water racing is the variety and the fact that even the same course in different years changes.

If we are looking at standardizing 'pre-race' meetings, I would also like to see much of the 'If you don't feel up to it, don't get in. If you get into trouble, raise a hand...' safety talk standardized also just so the big cautions are always addressed and I know I'm talking more about the smaller races, not the elite races.  That is where the danger is most prevalent.   

I agree with Morty, the GPS made it at Manhattan great for those of us watching but I'm not sure it is accurate enough for general use.  I also agree that the final touch plates and lines (on ground exit) judging could be made more accurate and that should be worked on.  At Master's Worlds 2004 and 2006, there just judges deciding the finish.  A photo finish would help a lot, I'm concerned about the wrist bands because I wouldn't want to be thinking about 'am I going to finish with the correct hand' in that final stretch, but two wrist bands (same frequency and on each wrist would help that issue) and should be thought about.

I'm still making my way through this thread, but as a swimmer, I am more inclined to follow Ron's caution about not totally sanitizing the sport.  That is what we love about it and most of us are not elite swimmers....

More later,
Laura Colette

Johnson, Timothy

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I’ll contact my sources on RFID tomorrow and let them know what swimming is looking for.  It’s the one thing about working in Boston, I get invited to a meeting at MIT and it’s everybody and anybody in RFID talking about all the new stuff being developed.  UMass Lowell had a research lab and are doing fabulous work.  A wet wristband would have to be tested thoroughly because theory expresses the ideal and the application is the proof.   I can’t think of a more difficult problem for them to tackle.  Of course they are all excited because WalMart has announced they are moving over to RFID.  Consider that a stock tip… 

Best,

 

Prof. Tim Johnson, PE, Cap'n

Dobbs Rm #218

Department of Electronics and Mechanical

Wentworth Institute of Technology

550 Huntington Ave.

Boston, MA 02115

Tel: 617-989-4128

Fax: 617-989-4591

website: http://myweb.wit.edu/johnsont

 

 

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Ignacio Martinez Sela

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Jul 28, 2010, 1:06:58 AM7/28/10
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My opinion on this matter is close to that of Jonh and Dale. Without any doubt, all the considerations made by Jay are important and interesting, but I insist on the idea that, knowing many races, it is very difficult to establish universal standards for everything related to Open Water competitions

Two extreme example: imagine a career in the mid-Atlantic and over the canals of Venice.Really necessary infrastructure or buoys would be comparable?
The first aspect that should be standardized, in general, at least for the elite racing is the calendar. 
I think, without no aim to create any controversy, which suppress the World Championships open water specific for integration in the global swimming with other specialties it is a correct decision. Based on a unified calendar, perhaps the standardization that is discussed would be required to this elite calendar and only recommended for other less formal competitions. Having no financial sources it is easier for non-professional careers.

In Navia races we have practiced up to 15 kms. circuit, about 5 turns of 3 kms. each. In addition to more boring for the swimmers, in the midst of the enormous effort they can lose track of their remaining laps to go. Instead, it must be said that a short circuit is more accessible and attractive to the viewer out of the water.

I love reading all your opinions.

Regards
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