New FINA rules on wetsuits

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Comments

  • bruckbruck San FranciscoMember

    Does anyone involved in USMS leadership (or with knowledge of such) have any insighs on how this FINA ruling affects USMS open water rules? Does USMS automatically adopt FINA guidelines? @emkhowley ?

  • IronMikeIronMike BostonCharter Member

    bruck said:
    Does anyone involved in USMS leadership (or with knowledge of such) have any insighs on how this FINA ruling affects USMS open water rules? Does USMS automatically adopt FINA guidelines? @emkhowley ?

    Don't expect USMS to do anything positive as far as OW is concerned.

    lakespray[Deleted User]DanSimonelli

    Just here troubling deaf heaven with my bootless cries...

  • swimmer25kswimmer25k Charter Member

    20 years ago during the IMSA days (before FINA went pro), we swam sans wetsuit down to 56 degrees at the start. Speedo, cap, ear-plugs, and goggles were it.

    lakesprayDanSimonelligregoc
  • emkhowleyemkhowley Boston, MACharter Member
    edited November 2016

    IronMike said:

    bruck said:
    Does anyone involved in USMS leadership (or with knowledge of such) have any insighs on how this FINA ruling affects USMS open water rules? Does USMS automatically adopt FINA guidelines? @emkhowley ?

    Don't expect USMS to do anything positive as far as OW is concerned.

    Back in the spring, there was a proposal made by the USMS Board of Directors to align USMS's cold water policy with FINA's. It was presented to the Long Distance committee and after much discussion, the proposal was voted down and withdrawn from the list of proposals presented to the House of Delegates in Atlanta this past September. All the minutes from the different committee meetings over the course of the year where the issue was discussed are posted publicly on the USMS website. Long Distance Committee meeting minutes are here.

    The committee did adopt warm water restrictions at the annual meeting in September. You can see the text of the changes that were ultimately approved on page 9 of this PDF.

    USMS falls under the purview of FINA, but USMS has discretion in which rules it adopts. For example, USMS rules offer some variations for accommodating swimmers with disabilities that FINA does not. Appendix B of the USMS Rule Book lists the rules that vary from FINA, USA Swimming, the National Federation of High School Swimming, and NCAA governing bodies.

    The answer to any and all other USMS rules questions can be found with some digging in the Rule Book. The 2017 edition is currently in layout (guess who drives the InDesign bus for that?) and will be heading to press in early December.

    IronMikeFlowSwimmersJustSwimgregoc

    Stop me if you've heard this one...
    A grasshopper walks into a bar...
    https://elainekhowley.com/

  • smithsmith Huntsville, ALMember

    Water temperature is only one component. They should take into account air temperature as well so there is composite threshold.

    I've done lake workouts in (barely) sub-60 water temps, with air temps around 55-60 (F).I've found that I can't do this if the air temp is somewhere generally below 40.

    wendyv34dpm50gregoc

    Keep moving forward.

  • wendyv34wendyv34 Vashon, WASenior Member

    Absolutely! 55 is refreshing on an 80 degree day, not so much on a 40 degree day.

    dpm50Bridget

    It's always a bad hair day when you work at a pool.

  • edited November 2016

    WOW... I think they should leave it up the swimmer... What ever happen to everyone is different.

    Swimming is my happy place

  • timsroottimsroot Spring, TXCharter Member

    https://swimswam.com/webby-scott-win-new-zealand-open-water-titles-wetsuits/

    it's here. Sounds like that is the first instance of this new rule being enforced.

  • wendyv34wendyv34 Vashon, WASenior Member

    Argh! Nooooooooo!

    It's always a bad hair day when you work at a pool.

  • IronMikeIronMike BostonCharter Member

    sharkbaitgirl said:
    WOW... I think they should leave it up the swimmer... What ever happen to everyone is different.

    Then they would all still wear them. Who would pass up the flotation advantage if their competitors were wearing wetsuits?

    Just here troubling deaf heaven with my bootless cries...

  • dpm50dpm50 PA, U.S.Senior Member

    I swim in a wetsuit sometimes when I feel the need, but instead of it being an advantage, it often seems to slow me down. I use a full sleeve suit and it feels constricting. As soon as the water temp allows, I go back to skin (low 60s, usually), and my swimming feels so much freer! Looking this year to improve my ability to tolerate colder water, so I can enjoy that freedom for a longer time through the year.

    wendyv34Bridget
  • BridgetBridget New York StateMember

    Never thought I'd see the day, but I was swimming well in 55F last October, with matching air temperatures, and air within 10 degrees. I've got a wetsuit for if I'm swimming with triathletes who are in shape and I've been out of the water for a few weeks-- just to keep up-- but would prefer fins for that in the future. I don't care for how a wetsuit makes me swim-- my feet feel like periscopes, and my kick gets lazy which makes my feet colder. Also, getting out of the suit takes too much time and effort, and I don't want to risk cramps nor hypothermia. I wear an old suit in cold water so I can dry off and dress quickly to go for a brisk walk or jog to warm up again.

    I can see a recommendation for suits, but not the mandate.

    dpm50curly
  • IronMike said:
    Then they would all still wear them. Who would pass up the flotation advantage if their competitors were wearing wetsuits?

    I would never have know wetsuits make that much of a difference until I did an open water workout with someone wearing one. I can usually out pace him, but with that wetsuit on I was working to keep up. That was a real eye opener.

    IronMikeDanSimonelli
  • curlycurly Issaquah, WAMember

    I wonder if there would be a way to determine a fair handicap for a wetsuit swimmer. That way, the swimmer could decide to wear a wetsuit but have to add X minutes to their time. Maybe some sort of authenticated timed short distance swim (500?) without wetsuit and with wetsuit, then a handicap is assigned. That way, the decision is left to the swimmer whether they want to wear the wetsuit and take the penalty. I bet there are even smart people (not me) that could compile a bunch of with and without times and develop a formula that gets applied depending on distance and time swum.

    I guess that still won't combat the marketing efforts of the wetsuit manufacturers and the liability concerns of the race sponsors though.

    DanSimonelli
  • wendyv34wendyv34 Vashon, WASenior Member

    Wetsuits help different people in varying amounts. Anyone who has body position issues gets help from a wetsuit. The worse (more vertical) your body position is, the more the wetsuit helps you. Even elite swimmers who have good body position may have to work harder to hold it over time due to having lower body fat/natural buoyancy. Buoyancy is part skill and part the makeup of a particular body.

    I have a couple of friends who were spectacular (HS state track finalists, semi-pro b-baller) land athletes in their younger days. Both of them were also ridiculously fast in the pool, up to about 100 yards. Both of them told me they struggled to stay afloat and it was exhausting, so they just couldn't swim any further. I tried to work with one of them on body position in the pool, I got him completely leveled out, but 18" under water. We got the other guy to swim a 500 once; he was completely blown up swimming a time similar to mine, but he's 15 years younger and built like a MMA fighter.

    They also help a swimmer that is prone to getting cold, vs. someone who is not.

    A full suit adds surface area to the forearm, which is like adding a small hand paddle to the equation. I've never been able to tolerate a wetsuit with sleeves, but I've used those TYR neoprene sleeves and I can feel the difference in "load" on my deltoids.

    Personally, I feel hindered by a wetsuit due to over-floatation of my lower body. It negates my kick and throws off my balance. I don't think I swim any faster in a wetsuit but I know I enjoy it a lot less. It changes my stroke enough that I don't feel like me swimming. My times over the years on the same courses have been pretty similar, whether I wore a wetsuit or not.

    I don't think there's one formula that would apply to everyone for figuring out how much time to add. At Cascade Lakes Swim Festival, the individual races are scored separately (suit or skin), but for series points, there is a 10% penalty for wearing a wetsuit. It would be a very poor strategic decision for me to wear a wetsuit, but for some swimmers, it makes sense and is totally worthwhile.

    JustSwimcurlydpm50DanSimonelli

    It's always a bad hair day when you work at a pool.

  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    edited January 2017

    curly said:
    I bet there are even smart people (not me) that could compile a bunch of with and without times and develop a formula that gets applied depending on distance and time swum.

    A few years ago I did a study (admittedly unscientific) using my own performances at the weekly Santa Barbara Reef & Run 1-mile ocean swim. Over 4 wetsuit-assisted swims and 3 skin swims, I averaged about 90 seconds faster per mile in a low-end sleeveless Xterra wetsuit, compared to textile jammers. Details here:

    http://blog.marathonswimmers.org/speed-advantage-wetsuit

    All that said, I agree with @wendyv that it's tough to generalize the wetsuit advantage... everyone's a bit different.

    curlyIronMikeDanSimonelligregoc
  • dpm50dpm50 PA, U.S.Senior Member
    edited January 2017

    My slowest time in last year's 6-race open water series (just 800m) was when I wore a wetsuit. But (1) it was my first time wearing this wetsuit and (2) I hadn't yet acclimated to the temperature (56 degrees, so for many of you, warm--but I'm still a work in progress on this score). Still, the tightness in the neck felt weird and I found myself having to tug at the neckline every so often (I've since gotten used to that feeling, but still not crazy about it, hence trying to limit wetsuit swims)--and as people noted, it didn't feel like me swimming.

  • IronMikeIronMike BostonCharter Member

    So I've found some additional open water swims here in Russia, in fact one only about 15k drive from my house (a 5K in a rowing facility). Only problem: if the water is 20C and below, wetsuits are mandatory. No waivers. No thank you.

    Just here troubling deaf heaven with my bootless cries...

  • IronMikeIronMike BostonCharter Member

    Recently posted by the MSF FB group is this article about USA Swimming now mandating wetsuits. Sigh...

    And sorry, all this non-sense about "optional" is such a load of hooie. What swimmer in his or her right mind would go skins if all his/her competition were in a wetsuit?

    Just here troubling deaf heaven with my bootless cries...

  • curlycurly Issaquah, WAMember

    I like beating wetsuit wearers. Even if a wetsuit beats you by a few minutes, they know and you know that head to head they wouldn't stand a chance. If you beat a young wetsuit wearer it's even better. :) And really, who cares, it's not like we are racing for a $1m purse or anything.

    wendyv34ssthomasflystorms
  • MoCoMoCo Worcester, MAMember

    There's nothing like standing on the beach before a race start, completely calm in a bathing suit or tri suit, watching triathletes in wetsuits and neoprene caps lose their f'ing minds about the "horribly cold" water they are about to endure (upper 60s/low 70s around here, usually). To be fair, my bioprene game is on point.

    wendyv34Camilledpm50
  • timsroottimsroot Spring, TXCharter Member

    curly said:
    I like beating wetsuit wearers. Even if a wetsuit beats you by a few minutes, they know and you know that head to head they wouldn't stand a chance. If you beat a young wetsuit wearer it's even better. :) And really, who cares, it's not like we are racing for a $1m purse or anything.

    The race @IronMike is referring to are the qualifiers for world championships. For those guys, there is prize money and their career, at least to some extent, at stake. I don't like the rule either, but he's right, if it is such a high stakes race, you would be foolish to put yourself at a competitive disadvantage by not wearing a wetsuit against your suited competition.

    IronMike
  • lakespraylakespray Senior Member

    Like everything in the world today follow $$$, I have no doubt there was heavy heavy lobbying from the vested interests. :-(

  • timsroottimsroot Spring, TXCharter Member

    lakespray said:
    Like everything in the world today follow $$$, I have no doubt there was heavy heavy lobbying from the vested interests. :-(

    Do you think that Roka, Xterra, and the like have that much pull in swimming? Honest question, not trying to sound inflammatory. Since Speedo and Arena don't make wetsuits (I think TYR does, but I'm not certain), I'm curious who you view as the vested interests who would have lobbied for this.

  • curlycurly Issaquah, WAMember

    timsroot said:

    curly said:
    I like beating wetsuit wearers. Even if a wetsuit beats you by a few minutes, they know and you know that head to head they wouldn't stand a chance. If you beat a young wetsuit wearer it's even better. :) And really, who cares, it's not like we are racing for a $1m purse or anything.

    The race @IronMike is referring to are the qualifiers for world championships. For those guys, there is prize money and their career, at least to some extent, at stake. I don't like the rule either, but he's right, if it is such a high stakes race, you would be foolish to put yourself at a competitive disadvantage by not wearing a wetsuit against your suited competition.

    Ahh, that is a whole different matter then. I am firmly in the non-wetsuit camp. They should not be allowed in competition. Maybe do wetsuits as a junior division. They let wheelchair racers race the Boston Marathon and they cross the line first. They are amazing, but the winner of the marathon is the runner wearing shorts and shoes, crossing the line unassisted.

  • lakespraylakespray Senior Member

    timsroot said:

    lakespray said:
    Like everything in the world today follow $$$, I have no doubt there was heavy heavy lobbying from the vested interests. :-(

    Do you think that Roka, Xterra, and the like have that much pull in swimming? Honest question, not trying to sound inflammatory. Since Speedo and Arena don't make wetsuits (I think TYR does, but I'm not certain), I'm curious who you view as the vested interests who would have lobbied for this.

    Arena and TYR do make wetsuits and now besides the $250 TYR jammer that parents have to buy their age group swimmer. Once they get an invite to open water event, Mom and Dad will have to fork it out for a wetsuit too. Have you ever been or talked with swim team parents?

    Is it one more product these guys can sell? Yes

    Will it increase advertising opportunities/revenue for Swimswam, Swimming World, Swimmer Magazine and other swim publications? I think so. In the same issue that Swimmer featured Sarah Thomas they also had their annual wetsuit issue. I never underestimate what any sport tries to sell us needed or not. Now that they have an in, it's entirely predictable that there next push will be for even higher temperatures limits beyond the current 68F/20C.

    evmotimsrootIronMike
  • timsroottimsroot Spring, TXCharter Member

    @lakespray - fair points, and I didn't realize Arena made wetsuits. My kids aren't old enough yet for me to have to fork over for tech suits, although I do think that it's a positive step that a lot of LSCs are outlawing Tech Suits for 12 and under.

    I do think that the rule is a shame. I hope it doesn't increase in temperature, although it's very hard to imagine the rule backtracking.

    The more I pay attention, the more open water swimming feels like an after thought to FINA and USS. FINA appears to have started more mass start events, and they still do have their 10k world cup (including a stop, conveniently, in Abu Dhabi), but their grand prix for longer events is down to 3 events. I forget how many stops there used to be, but I know they had a 15k in Cancun, and the long swim in the Parana River in Argentina. The only race I know of that USA Swimming sanctions is the national championships, no feeder series or anything.

    I know that a lot here don't really want FINA/USS/USMS overly involved in Open Water, and I certainly understand why, but I think it's a great sport, and think it would be great if it got closer to mainstream.

    IronMike
  • IronMikeIronMike BostonCharter Member
    edited May 2017

    timsroot said:

    I know that a lot here don't really want FINA/USS/USMS overly involved in Open Water, and I certainly understand why, but I think it's a great sport, and think it would be great if it got closer to mainstream.

    Sounds like OW is ripe for a different organization...

    Just here troubling deaf heaven with my bootless cries...

  • timsroottimsroot Spring, TXCharter Member

    IronMike said:

    Sounds like OW is ripe for a different organization...

    It probably is, but I don't know who is prepared to do it on a global scale. there has been talk and open letters and such about replacing FINA for administering pool swimming as well, but there hasn't been any action. I am not in a position, nor do I have the expertise to be the one to take action. MSF does a lot of good things, but I don't think it's at the scale to be such a global influence, nor do i get the impression that MSF leadership has the appetite to do such a thing. WOWSA has some influence, but their interests don't seem out of line with the interests of FINA, although they are more in favor of open water than FINA.

    With that being said, I don't think that the sport of marathon swimming is in a bad spot. While there are some politics, the impression I get from reading here and talking to some swimmers who have done big channel swims is that, for the most part, the independent organizations that sanction the various major swims around the world generally do a good job. In the case of NYC Swims recent difficulties, @david_barra and his group have stepped up and filled in the gap left, at least for Manhattan Circumnavigation, and I think some of the other swims that NYC Swim used to look after are being resurrected in one form or another.

    While I do think that further inclusion into FINA/USS/USMS would help get the sport closer to main stream, I'm aware that there would be certain downsides that would come about with that.

    evmo
  • IronMikeIronMike BostonCharter Member

    timsroot said:

    IronMike said:

    Sounds like OW is ripe for a different organization...

    It probably is, but I don't know who is prepared to do it on a global scale. there has been talk and open letters and such about replacing FINA for administering pool swimming as well, but there hasn't been any action. I am not in a position, nor do I have the expertise to be the one to take action. MSF does a lot of good things, but I don't think it's at the scale to be such a global influence, nor do i get the impression that MSF leadership has the appetite to do such a thing. WOWSA has some influence, but their interests don't seem out of line with the interests of FINA, although they are more in favor of open water than FINA.

    With that being said, I don't think that the sport of marathon swimming is in a bad spot. While there are some politics, the impression I get from reading here and talking to some swimmers who have done big channel swims is that, for the most part, the independent organizations that sanction the various major swims around the world generally do a good job. In the case of NYC Swims recent difficulties, @david_barra and his group have stepped up and filled in the gap left, at least for Manhattan Circumnavigation, and I think some of the other swims that NYC Swim used to look after are being resurrected in one form or another.

    While I do think that further inclusion into FINA/USS/USMS would help get the sport closer to main stream, I'm aware that there would be certain downsides that would come about with that.

    Somewhat agree, but some comments.

    The World Swimming Association is trying to replace FINA, and for 5 bucks you can help them.

    No need to think in such a large scale at first. I'd be happy if the US had an equivalent to the British Long Distance Swimming Association. I'm here to help if anyone wants to take this on.

    There are different types of marathon swims. There are the organized, iconic (long) marathon swims (20 Bridges, Ederle, Catalina, Santa Barbara, StS, just to name some American ones) that all follow traditional rules. There are the solo swims that marathon swimmers set up themselves that follow EC rules.

    Then there are the in-betweens. That's my concern. These in-between events, the 5 to 10 milers, even some of the shorter ones (5K), these are the ones that I really wish didn't require wetsuits. These are the swims that our future marathon swimmers (and MSF members?) will do that'll perhaps get them hooked on this great sport. My fear, then, is that this population, however small it might start out to be, will come to more serious events with the idea that wetsuits and marathon swims are normal. Enough weight behind them and who knows how it'll impact our favorite swims.

    This is why I refuse to compete in swims that require wetsuits or don't differentiate between skins and suits in the results. I won't give them my money and I hope others won't either. But I think I'm in an ever-decreasing minority as these swims all seem to sell out. And when I see pictures from the swim start, all I see is wetsuit-city.

    wendyv34

    Just here troubling deaf heaven with my bootless cries...

  • timsroottimsroot Spring, TXCharter Member

    @IronMike - I didn't realize World Swimming Association had come into being, that is a good thing to see. I agree with your points. I'm fortunate to have a race director in my area who puts on a couple 5ks a year, and while he markets a lot to triathletes (who are most of his coaching clients, and most of the swimmers in the area), he does differentiate between suits and skins (and, indeed, does not let wetsuited swimmers win awards at all).

    curlyIronMike
  • Karl_KingeryKarl_Kingery Denver, COMember

    IronMike said:

    This is why I refuse to compete in swims that require wetsuits or don't differentiate between skins and suits in the results. I won't give them my money and I hope others won't either. But I think I'm in an ever-decreasing minority as these swims all seem to sell out. And when I see pictures from the swim start, all I see is wetsuit-city.

    I completely agree. I was at a clinic this last weekend that was put on by one of the local organizations here and the person who I was co-instructing with repeatedly kept touting the benefits of wetsuits. All of the new open water swimmers (most had never swum in a lake or river before) were having it drilled into their heads that a wetsuit is a necessity. She also included for a major portion of the whole class, the "how do I wear a wetsuit" lecture. I was more than happy without one (I was the only one) and tried to explain some of the negatives of wetsuits (less feel for the water, not the traditional way to swim, get knocked around more in rough weather, hyperthermia, considered cheating for marathon swims) to them, but if that is where the culture that we are living in is headed: I.E. the "wear a wetsuit or lose" or "wear a wetsuit and freeze to death" then it would be nice to try and reverse that trend. I completely agree that local swimming groups, lifeguards, triathlons, etc should all separate between wetsuits and skins and I fear that the "wetsuit city" is getting bigger faster than the "I enjoy swimming for the sake of swimming city".

    evmoIronMikelakespraydpm50
  • IronMikeIronMike BostonCharter Member

    I have many notes in my Google Drive on my idea for an American or North American Long Distance Swimming Association. Anything from simply having a series a la the Global Swim Series, rewarding race directors that don't mandate wetsuits and differentiate results, giving points to swimmers, all the way up to a BLDSA-esque organization with its own swims. Dreams, am I right?!

    ViveBeneKarl_Kingery

    Just here troubling deaf heaven with my bootless cries...

  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    edited July 2017

    The Traversée Internationale du lac St-Jean is (was?) one of the world's most historic and iconic marathon swims, and proving ground for many of our sport's greats - Abouheif, Greta Andersen, Phil Rush, Cindy Nicholas, Paul Asmuth, Jon Erikson, Claudio Plit, Petar Stoychev, Irene van der Laan, & others.

    Due to new FINA rules, it was wetsuit "optional" this year, for this first time in the event's 63-year history. Not surprisingly, almost everyone opted to suit up... all but one, Dania Belisle of Canada, who didn't even get an official time due to being "OTL" (over time limit).

    Sad!

    20414306_1387089981340963_5537381140697793511_o

  • david_barradavid_barra NYCharter Member

    FINA sucks

    evmoslknightjbsrlmIronMikelakespray

    ...anything worth doing is worth overdoing.

  • JaimieJaimie NYCCharter Member

    This is really sad. I don't think the athletes would choose to do this if they weren't basically forced to :(

  • IronMikeIronMike BostonCharter Member

    Editorial from Outdoor Swimmer (formerly H2Open) on the unintended consequences of FINA's stupid wetsuit rule.

    I've almost given up on doing any UK-based OW swims. My first 10K was the Dart 10K in 2010, where I had to wear a wetsuit becuase I had no documented experience in cold water. Ironically, I then also had to fill out all the paperwork as if I was a skins swimmer because the wetsuit I had bought was a farmer john. That was the last time I ever wore a wetsuit. And I won't do events that either require them or don't separate the times skins vs. wetsuits.

    JaySoloKate_Alexander

    Just here troubling deaf heaven with my bootless cries...

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