What is the relationship between marathon swimmers and triathletes?
By which I mean are marathon swimmers elitist or snobbish about triathletes?
This discussion is initiated from an comment in another thread that we marathon swimmers are both elitist and snobbish w.r.t. triathletes.
This is an accusation I'm sure many of us have had levelled at us previously. I certainly have, despite numerous answers to triathletes who've asked me questions about open water swimming, holding open water Q & As on triathlete forums, and writing a number of triathlete specific articles on my blog.
I ask the questions about triathletes, rather than triathlons, because I'm pretty sure most of us are _to some degree, (as previously discussed in other threads), dismissive, snobbish and elitist of some facets of _triathlons. Is there a difference between triathlons and triathletes?
I think this results from:
- What many of feel is the enforcement of wetsuits on any of us should we participate.
- There's my own particular dislike of wetsuits as a substitute for experience (Got a wetsuit? You're fine. Swam the Channel? Have to wear a wetsuit).
- Also associated would be the accepted use of equipment to improve performance (what I call buying speed),
- Lack of pre-event experience vetting
- Maybe even the conflation of a single corporation with endurance sport excellence (Ironman).
I'll tell one anecdote. About eight or nine years ago, I thought I might join a triathlete group for their open water sessions. I didn't know any of them and got a phone number for the main organiser. Had a chat, mentioned I had some open water experience and was looking for a group to train with. All good. As I was about to say goodbye, since I hadn't met anyone in person, I said I wouldn't be wearing a wetsuit, if that helped identify me. At that point the conversation went shouty. The above accusations of arrogance and elitism were thrown at me. As a consequence I never did show up at the group, as I felt extremely unwelcome, and I've continued my lone pursuit.
One anecdote means little though. We recognise the elite amongst us on this forum with no difficulty, and enriched to have your/their participation.
In personal relationships with triathletes I think we try to help and encourage more of them over to what they see as the dark side.
I wanted to open these questions up to the community, expecially including those of you who are current or former triathletes.
And if so what, if anything, should we do? Is it just a fact of life that, since you can't please everyone, as non-wetsuit elite open water swimmers (and every marathon swimmer is _elite_by normal standards), we will always be some kind of perceived opposition, and visa versa?