Race Directors

j9swimj9swim CharlestonSenior Member

Over the years i have heard a multitude of complaints and criticisms of race/event directors and I have a few thoughts on the matter to share.

Please try and remember that these people make what they think is a safe decision in that moment with the information they have available.
They try to be fair to all participants...that does not always mean that each swimmer has the same experience, but rather a fair one.
No one is getting rich doing this. I shudder to think what they make an hour given the amount of time it takes to put on these events, this is a labor of love.
If you have thoughts on ways to increase safety then please send them a respectful email after the event. Do not that day wag your finger at them and give them a piece of your mind that day, its not a very effective way to get your point across, its disrespectful and not in the spirit of open water swimming.
If you don't want an event to be cancelled...then don't swim events. Go plan your own swim and do it your way as many people do but do not give an event director a hard time for cancelling due to safety concerns.

And lastly say thank you to the event directors and volunteers - without them we don't get to do what we love

Karl_KingerycwerhanethelittlemerwookieCamillemolly1205SpacemanspiffKate_AlexanderevmoSolophodgeszohoand 3 others.


  • cwerhanecwerhane Portland Oregon Member

    Agreed! And thank you @j9swims! While I am not a race director, I have helped many and they are the unsung heroes of our sport. May I add, that I believe it is in poor taste and disrespectful to the safety decision to go out and swim the same course during a race cancellation. Years back, Big Shoulders was cancelled due to wind & high surf. A number of swimmers went out moments after the call was made, giving the race directors a symbolic middle finger to the decision. In races, while some swimmers may be safe in extreme conditions, others may not, & support boats may not. Individual swimmers may not see the big picture that is a required view by the RD. This is one reason why I suggest each OW swimmer volunteer at races. It is a huge responsibility to get everyone in and OUT for the water. And they don’t even get the fun of swimming!

  • suziedodssuziedods Mem​ber

    Race directors make money??


    Looking for the next big thing.. ... @suzieswimcoach

  • minamina Cambridge, MAMember
    edited April 2018

    I agree for the most part with @J9Swim but I still think it's important to talk to an RD if you think they are actively putting participants in danger. I did that once at a triathlon, and I'm glad I did. I believe I was very respectful about it and glad I didn't wait until the next day when it wouldn't have the potential to keep those people out of harm's way.

    @cwerhane I thought the decision to cancel was the right one for BS, but I was still one of those swimmers who went in shortly after the cancellation (and some grumbling and commiseration time). I think many waited at least a little bit and stayed closer to shore vs. doing the whole course (I did and went on a ~1/2 mile loop with a group of randos); I completely missed that others jumped right in and/or tried to do the whole thing, that's pretty jerky, but I wouldn't characterize our actions as being defiant or in disagreement with the RD. It was fun to splash around in those waves!

  • wendyv34wendyv34 Vashon, WASenior Member

    Remember to thank your race directors and tell them what you loved about the race. Frequently they only hear from swimmers who are unhappy. :x


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

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