USMS OW SANCTIONING

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Comments

  • Kevin_in_MDKevin_in_MD Senior Member
    This one has merit

    "Open Water Task Force: Chris McGiffin went over the recommendations made by the BOD Open Water Task Force. In an effort to deal with the $1,000 insurance surcharge the Task Force has suggested we consider either assessing an equitable national sanction fee spread between pool and open water events or assess a surcharge fee for each USMS member during the registration process. An open water membership was rejected as not practical. The decision will be made in the House of Delegates."

    The sanction fees should be spread across the organization, that's kinda the purpose of insurance, spread the cost around so no one gets the shaft too bad.

    I THINK though that a motion in the house of delegates without the backing of the relevant committee is dead on arrival. Never been, but I get the impression that's how it goes.
  • FilFil Derby, VTCharter Member
    As to NEMS helping to cover sanctioning fees, they offered it last year to take the sting out of that particular issue on larger swims. I believe that's still on the table, this year. You'd have to ask them. A remaining issue up here is the sanctioning fee for smaller swims. I have swims with 10 swimmers, 25, and 50 swimmers. My own insurance takes into account the likely numbers. It averages $3 to $4 per participant, spread out over 40 to 50 days of events. On a 10 swimmer event, the cost to me is about $30 to $40.
  • wendyv34wendyv34 Vashon, WASenior Member
    Coach Bob Bruce briefly summarized the OW Committee meeting in the Nov/Dec Aquamaster http://swimoregon.org/AquaMaster/2014/11NovDec2014AM.pdf . He gave a bit more detail than the minutes that are posted.

    Coach Bob does a fantastic job organizing OW events, year after year. The PNA (western WA LMSC) has been inspired by Bob's (& OMS) excellence to sanction 5 races in the Seattle area, including two in Puget Sound. One of the main reasons I'm a member of USMS is to participate in as many events as possible. The caliber of swimmers tends to be higher at the USMS events (PNA & OR, can't speak for any others) and I find swimming with a more skilled group to be more enjoyable than getting clobbered by a bunch of triathlete dudes in wetsuits.

    I registered my own open water team with USMS for 2015, Vashon Open Water Swimmers! We're going out for a swim around Blake Island on Tuesday!

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

  • david_barradavid_barra NYCharter Member
    Following is the “meat” of Bob Bruce’s summary: items 1&2 are enough reasons for me to be disinterested in a USMS sanction.

    "The House of Delegates passed 66 long distance rules, a few of which were large, some substantive, but most aimed at reorganization and clarification to make the rulebook an easier, clearer, and more precise tool for everyone. As swimmers, I’ll bet that most of you will notice few of these changes at all! In my opinion, the four largest changes for open water swimming were (1) the introduction of water temperature limits (60 degrees minimum and 85 degrees maximum for all swims, with modification under certain circumstances); (2) the reintroduction of shoulder-to-ankle textile suits in open water only, for both men and women (I’ll write much more about this in the spring before the next open water season starts); (3) the outlawing of navigational aids generally and MP3 players specifically (wristwatches are still allowed); and (4) the presence of an Independent Safety Monitor appointed by the
    local LMSC to make sure that the stringent safety requirements are followed at each local sanctioned swim."
    gregocChickenOSea

    ...anything worth doing is worth overdoing.

  • gregocgregoc Charter Member
    #1 will cause the exclusion of many cold water swims.
  • ChickenOSeaChickenOSea Charter Member
    #2 is bewildering
  • lcolettelcolette Charter Member
    I'm not a fan of number 1. I think that education, cold and warm water training are better answers.
    2 I'm pretty sure stems from the fact that long suits are allowed in FINA events. World Championships 3K long suits were allowed.
  • ChickenOSeaChickenOSea Charter Member
    I'm confused then. Didn't think USMS was the same as Fina?
  • lcolettelcolette Charter Member
    USMS reports to FINA (Fédération Internationale de Natation). FINA is the umbrella over most swim organizations that are in conjunction with the 'youth' swimming, 'National' teams and the only way to make the Olympics. USMS was lucky in that we grew up in parallel of USA Swimming.
    In many countries they are the same organization both youths and adults are overseen by FINA.
    There are exceptions such as British Long Distance Swimming Associate which is independent, Manhattan, Catalina, and the Channel groups are independants also.
  • lakespraylakespray Senior Member
    I've said this before but open water does not need USMS the question is, does USMS need open water? Even prior to the insurance fiasco the largest most successful open water events in USA like; La Jolla Roughwater, NYC swims, Great Chesapeake Bay Swim, most of the San Francisco bay events etc., have never been sanctioned by USMS. If USMS wants to be in open water then they need to be helpful not a hindrance at least for the last couple of years they have been a hindrance. They need to change there thinking, race promoters should be valued clients, therefor how can I help my client have a successful event so they will be a return client, recommend us to other potential race promoters and grow the sport.

    Regarding these two items:
    (1) the introduction of water temperature limits (60 degrees minimum and 85 degrees maximum for all swims, with modification under certain circumstances); (2) the reintroduction of shoulder-to-ankle textile suits in open water only, for both men and women
    I'm actually surprised USMS would go as low as 60 degrees. I'm not to worried they will lose potential events on this. Those of us that go under 60F are a sub genre of the sub genre, cold water swimming may be growing but were still a minuscule group. Interesting enough a USMS 10K championship I did in Noblesville, Indiana a few years back would have had to been canceled as it exceeded 85F. Wish I could have that one back, cramp city. Number 2 just put's USMS in line with FINA, which is far more important to them then being inline with the MSA. Personally fabric based neck to ankle suits don't really bother me that much. I think any assistance they offer is at best very minor and boost they do have may become a bit of a hindrance after a mile or so, as despite the water resistant coating they become a little water logged after about 20 minutes in.
  • wendyv34wendyv34 Vashon, WASenior Member
    It will be interesting to see what happens with sanctions for the two salt water races here in Puget Sound. The water is usually billed as "around 60" or "60-65". They have required wetsuits at some of those races, unless you get a waiver from the race director, (or they already know you). I can't recall any organized lake swims I've done in the PNW in the last 20 years as being significantly under 60 and definitely not over 85, but I'll take 59 over 86 any day.

    I'm not sure it's going to help increase participation if swimmers feel like they are risking losing entry fees and travel expenses because the water is a degree over or under the limits, causing the race to be cancelled. After losing $1K on Slam the Dam last year, (thanks govt. shutdown!), I'd be wary of sinking any cash into going to a race that has a fair chance of being cancelled (for any reason).

    I saw a few people wearing full body suits this year and heard that USMS has a waiver for people who have had skin cancer to wear full coverage suits. It didn't really look like an advantage, as the suits appeared waterlogged (baggy) at the finish.

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

  • FilFil Derby, VTCharter Member
    Kingdom Swim will be a USMS sanctioned event in 2015 and 2016. The other swims we offer in 2015 will not be sanctioned. Good to hear that "fast suits" lose their "fast" after about a mile. We will follow USMS rules at Kingdom Swim in 2015 and 2016. The first place woodals, jerky and syrup will be awarded to the 1st place finishers in compliance with those rules. But, the coveted walking sticks will ONLY be awarded to those who follow traditional channel crossing rules. I doubt we will see a "fast suit" on the line at Kingdom Swim.
    david_barraChickenOSealakespray
  • IronMikeIronMike BostonCharter Member
    Bewildering.

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

  • IronMikeIronMike BostonCharter Member

    In light of @evmo's recent blog post, I'm commenting in this thread again. Any updates on USMS sanctioning? I've lost the ball on this issue as I'm out of country for a while.

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

  • FlowSwimmersFlowSwimmers Polson, MontanaMember

    This rule addition is currently under discussion by the Long Distance Committee:

    "At the discretion of the event host, except for national championship swims, event hosts may limit acceptable swimwear to a single, sleeveless and legless, non-thermal and non-buoyant, textile swimsuit; a single non-thermal cap; goggles; nose clip; ear plugs; and/or body grease. This limitation on swimwear must be included in the event information."

    Rationale: Some event hosts—particularly those who host long-standing events—have consistently asked for waivers of USMS Category I swimwear rules to allow only traditional “channel rules” swimwear. These are identified in the proposal based on the description of acceptable swimwear found in the Channel Swimming Association rules. For the sake of event flexibility, with an eye towards leading to broader USMS participation among open water enthusiasts, event hosts should be allowed this option for non-championship swims. Renumber after. [BB]

    Thoughts?

  • lakespraylakespray Senior Member
    edited April 11

    I'm in my second year of not renewing my USMS membership out of protest, for there open water idiocy ;-) As non-member my 2 cents is not even 1 cent however I think this is a step in the right direct, but why exempt National Championships?

  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    edited April 11

    Some event hosts ... have consistently asked for waivers of USMS Category I swimwear rules to allow only traditional “channel rules” swimwear ... based on Channel Swimming Association rules.

    I really doubt these event hosts mean CSA rules specifically when they say "channel rules." CSA rules prohibit jammers (beloved by Masters swimmers), and as far as I know they are the only swim org in the world to do so.

    IronMike
  • FlowSwimmersFlowSwimmers Polson, MontanaMember

    @lakespray said:
    I'm in my second year of not renewing my USMS membership out of protest, for there open water idiocy ;-) As non-member my 2 cents is not even 1 cent however I think this is a step in the right direct, but why exempt National Championships?

    Hey, Ken!

    I'm not on the Long Distance Committee, so I can't be 100% sure, but my feeling about the exemption on the National Championship events is to be more in line with FINA rules. For regular events, however, they want to leave this up to the event host.

    @evmo said:
    I really doubt these event hosts mean CSA rules specifically when they say "channel rules." CSA rules prohibit jammers (beloved by Masters swimmers), and as far as I know they are the only swim org in the world to do so.

    Agreed, Evan. I believe this was just a generic statement on the rationale behind the rule. As you know, many people like to say, "Channel Rules" without understanding that there are two conflicting governing bodies.

    As I stated, this new USMS rule is currently being discussed in the Long Distance Committee. I have a feeling that it will come down to a "perceived safety and fairness" vs. "the desire to sanction more events ($$$)".

  • Copelj26Copelj26 ChicagoMember

    @evmo said:
    I really doubt these event hosts mean CSA rules specifically when they say "channel rules." CSA rules prohibit jammers (beloved by Masters swimmers), and as far as I know they are the only swim org in the world to do so.

    Going to be honest @evmo I love my Jammers (hangs head in shame :))

  • david_barradavid_barra NYCharter Member

    USMS is dead to me

    evmogregocIronMikeslknight

    ...anything worth doing is worth overdoing.

  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    edited April 12

    @Copelj26 I wear them too sometimes! I don't think CSA swimwear rules are in line with the norms of the sport on this, at least on the men's side.

    More frequently I've heard complaints about women's tech suits (example). I've spoken to several female marathon swimmers who believe these provide significant performance benefits over the traditional (legless) suits.

    Yet, I have a hard time imagining a rationale for banning "jammers" for women but not for men.

    Interestingly, both the CSA and CS&PF make no gender distinction in their definition of acceptable swimwear. For the CSA, that means no legged suits (jammer-style) for men or women. For the CS&PF, that means men can wear suits with upper-body coverage.

  • FlowSwimmersFlowSwimmers Polson, MontanaMember

    @david_barra said:
    USMS is dead to me

    May I ask why @david_barra? Would there be anything USMS could do to regain your support?

    I certainly have my issues with governing bodies, as @lakespray can attest, but I'm hanging in there for the time being.

  • lakespraylakespray Senior Member

    @FlowSwimmers said:

    @david_barra said:
    USMS is dead to me

    May I ask why @david_barra? Would there be anything USMS could do to regain your support?

    I certainly have my issues with governing bodies, as @lakespray can attest, but I'm hanging in there for the time being.

    Even though I'm currently protesting USMS by not being a member. If there's a swim I really want to do, and it's a USMS swim, then once again I will become a member.

    IronMike
  • david_barradavid_barra NYCharter Member

    @FlowSwimmers said:

    @david_barra said:
    USMS is dead to me

    May I ask why @david_barra?

    Well, you can read through this thread for starts.

    There was some unofficial representation from RC on this matter to the marathon swimmers community...... totally unresponsive, and the official position that followed was pretty much the same.

    As an ORG we have moved beyond what they can offer our events, and as a swimmer with no interest in pool competition, there is nothing other than insurance requirements of certain facilities that would “convince” me to join

    evmoCopelj26gregocSydneDlakesprayIronMike

    ...anything worth doing is worth overdoing.

  • FlowSwimmersFlowSwimmers Polson, MontanaMember

    @david_barra said:

    Well, you can read through this thread for starts.

    There was some unofficial representation from RC on this matter to the marathon swimmers community...... totally unresponsive, and the official position that followed was pretty much the same.

    As an ORG we have moved beyond what they can offer our events, and as a swimmer with no interest in pool competition, there is nothing other than insurance requirements of certain facilities that would “convince” me to join

    Thanks @david_barra. I appreciate your sentiment and agree with your assessment. Personally, I struggle understanding the value proposition of USMS in the open water. As you mention, if it's only for insurance purposes, there are better, less expensive options.

    Personally, I would like USMS to be a resource for open water rather than another, overlapping governing body.

    Finally...Pardon my ignorance, but you mention an "unofficial representation from RC on this matter." What/Who is RC?

    And @lakespray: I am hopeful that USMS will help establish NEW events rather than just cherry-picking for their national championships.

  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    edited April 12

    What/Who is RC?

    @Rob_Copeland

    Not to be confused with @RonCollins !

  • FlowSwimmersFlowSwimmers Polson, MontanaMember

    Thanks @evmo

    Rob is definitely still involved with USMS, but his profile here mentions that he has only on LIKE.

  • lakespraylakespray Senior Member
    edited April 15

    @FlowSwimmers

    And @lakespray: I am hopeful that USMS will help establish NEW events rather than just cherry-picking for their national championships.

    Speaking of cherry-picking, I have it on good authority, USMS approached the promoters of the Castle 5/10K at Lake Wellington in Colorado, also the home of the "The Cliff" for a possible national championship. That would be nice, however they put virtually all the burden on the race promoter and seemly don't take on much themselves. As you know the location is not the easiest to get too and has limited parking etc. It would be far more doable if USMS took the reins to find hotel space, possibly assist in obtaining shuttle buses etc., but they seem to think the "pride" of being designated a "National Championship" should be enough.

    IronMikeSydneDssthomas
  • IronMikeIronMike BostonCharter Member

    @lakespray said:
    Even though I'm currently protesting USMS by not being a member. If there's a swim I really want to do, and it's a USMS swim, then once again I will become a member.

    This is my issue. Since coming back to the states last year, I've done swims that require USMS membership. Otherwise I would not join.

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

  • abbygirlroseabbygirlrose Chicago, IL (Los Angeles, CA)Member

    I will say upfront that I haven't read this whole thread, but as someone who enjoys racing in pool meets (especially in the winter) I appreciate the structure that USMS and my LSC provide.

    evmo
  • ssthomasssthomas DenverCharter Member

    @lakespray said:

    Speaking of cherry-picking, I have it on good authority, USMS approached the promoters of the Castle 5/10K at Lake Wellington in Colorado, also the home of the "The Cliff" for a possible national championship. That would be nice, however they put virtually all the burden on the race promoter and seemly don't take on much themselves. As you know the location is not the easiest to get too and has limited parking etc. It would be far more doable if USMS took the reins to find hotel space, possibly assist in obtaining shuttle buses etc., but they seem to think the "pride" of being designated a "National Championship" should be enough.

    @blaikogle - Anything to add to this thought? :-)

    blaikogle
  • stephenrouchstephenrouch Indianapolis, INMember

    I have been on this committee for about a year and a half. I have mostly been in listening mode for the activities on the committee. I do think this rule is an improvement, trying to get races that long ago gave up on USMS over this particular issue a way back.

    As for National Championships, they seem to be a way to drive participation up at a given event, but if your race is already at capacity, a NC won't bring you additional business. But take the 5 mile swim at Lake Willoughby in Vermont this year. It is going to sell out at 100 swimmers before too much longer, there were less than 30 last year.

    Having swam at Lake Wellington, it would be tough to get a hundred people there for race without a lot of wrangling for logistics. The burden is on the race directors because they have the local connections and know the needs of the body of water in a way that the committee doesn't.

    Honestly if a race director gets asked to host a national championship, it was probably because a committee member had a good experience at your race!

    All that being said, USMS is trying to get more open water people into the fold. But the marathon community is tiny in comparison to the open water community as whole, and in the search for raw numbers is targeting closer to triathlon mindset. I can see the day of a wet suit and swim buoy mandatory national championship. It won't be for me.

    ssthomasevmo
  • ssthomasssthomas DenverCharter Member

    @stephenrouch said:
    Having swam at Lake Wellington, it would be tough to get a hundred people there for race without a lot of wrangling for logistics. The burden is on the race directors because they have the local connections and know the needs of the body of water in a way that the committee doesn't.

    Just an aside: They used to host a big Xterra tri up there every year. They actually managed logistics pretty well. We could get 100 people up there, if they just wanted to make the drive.

  • FlowSwimmersFlowSwimmers Polson, MontanaMember

    @lakespray said:
    Speaking of cherry-picking, I have it on good authority, USMS approached the promoters of the Castle 5/10K at Lake Wellington in Colorado, also the home of the "The Cliff" for a possible national championship.

    @lakespray Do you have any idea who the USMS person was who reached out to the Castle promoters?

    @stephenrouch said:
    I can see the day of a wet suit and swim buoy mandatory national championship. It won't be for me.

    @stephenrouch I had the same opinion on this. However, I found my old, illegal Blue 70 full-body suit from back-in-the-day, and I'm not so afraid of a wet suit swim. It packs light!

    The USMS Open Water Committee had very mixed opinions on the swim buoys. I use one when I swim alone, but mainly so that I'd be easier to locate if something tragic happens.

  • bluemermaid9bluemermaid9 Boca Raton, FL, United StatesMember

    On the subject of mandatory swim buoys for USMS national championships... I'll limit myself to commenting on the ultramarathon distance, which would require a kayak escort. There would be very little understanding on USMS's part of the sport if a swimmer attempting such a distance, who is accompanied by a kayaker, needs a swim buoy. I only use a swim buoy for training to improve visibility for lifeguards and boaters. In my wildest dreams I'd think that a swim buoy offers any kind of safety blanket. If USMS makes use of a swim buoy mandatory, I will not be participating in any national championship.

    evmo
  • blaikogleblaikogle New Member

    Thanks @ssthomas for the tag. I’m one of the RD’s for the 2019 USMS Marathon Distance race this year (Bridges to Bluffs). Our event is in its 3rd year. Here are my thoughts thus far:

    1. We landed the championship our first year (announced at our inaugural race). It helped motivate us to become as professional/successful as possible in year 1 and 2. Primarily bc OW is new to our city (Knoxville, TN) and We are a big college sports town. National Championships mean a great deal to the local athletics scene (we also host the USA Cycling National Championships) so the title did help us with leverage for sponsorship cash, primarily from the city sports commission.

      1. Race attendance. Our event sold out in 24 hours. We have 115 slots (the race starts from a riverboat jump - in order to book the boat for the jump we host a dinner cruise for swimmer/pilot the evening before, which limits total rate capacity). Our first year we limited entries to 100. 79 people registered, around 68 participated in the actual event. Year 2: 100 people registered (out of 115), and around 90 participated. We were trending towards a sellout but didn’t expect it to happen immediately. The national championship definitely helped drive out of state participants. Prior to registration we searched the previous championship races and saw a spectrum of participant numbers. The “Championships” alone probably won’t sell out your event but it’s a great catalyst if you use it to your advantage with some creativity.

    In short here’s what I’ve learned/advice for anyone interested in hosting a Championship event through USMS:

    1. Have a solid team. The championship event does not change your workload (especially if your event has held USMS Sanctioning in the past) but if you market correctly you’ll have a killer response. This part takes effort.

    2. If your event isn’t well known (like previous championship hosts Portland Bridge Swim, Lido Key, Chattanooga Swimfest, etc) build packages into your registration to entice swimmers to travel. We work with a local host hotel, kayak rental shops, and volunteer groups to recruit pilots for the event. When we open registration athletes are able to sign up for the event, book a heavily discounted hotel, rent a kayak, and secure a pilot at the same time.

    3. Keep the focus on maintaining a quality event for the swimmers ( not necessarily the Championships) and growing/promoting the sport in your area.

    4. PLAN AHEAD. Set a timeline way in advance. It helps keep things manageable.

    5. My biggest concern (having no experience with USMS other than masters swimming prior to RD) was “are they (USMS) going to try and control/take over my event” .... and the answer is no. They have assisted in the promotion and will help with things like caps and buoys, but have not made or suggested changes to our event, which is comforting if you’re type A control freaks like my co-Director and I happen to be.

    I hope this helps?

    Blaik

    IronMikessthomas
  • blaikogleblaikogle New Member

    As to the swim buoy/wetsuit issue:

    Our area is primarily triathlon based open water swimmers. We have a relay event where wetsuits are allowed, and will allow a 10k swimmer to wear a wetsuit (with good rationale/reasoning) but they start last/become awards ineligible. We did this primarily because we thought it would help drive registration. We could count the number of people in our area who swim 5k+ distances on one hand (including ourselves). Surprisingly, we have had only 3 swimmers in 3 years request (with or without good reason) to wear a suit (all of them in year 1). The vast majority (98%) of swimmers have been happy to swim the event following channel swimming rules. It seems the open water purists will keep winning this fight. We have very few relay entries and the majority abide by the no wetsuit rule. USMS does require a pilot/kayak escort for swims 10k+, which eliminates the “swim buoy” argument. We get a few who ask to use them (novice questions, usually) but no one has yet to push back to a firm “no.”

    Open water/ marathon swimmers are a tougher breed than most. I’d encourage USMS to avoid the “triathlon dumbing down” of swim events and enforce other safety protocols that do not interfere or challenge the traditional rules of the sport.

    SolocurlyIronMike
  • cwerhanecwerhane Portland Oregon Member
    edited April 22

    @stephenrouch said:
    I have been on this committee for about a year and a half. I have mostly been in listening mode for the activities on the committee.

    Thank you for your service and I’m genuinely glad to see marathon swimmers on this committee, but we need everyone to be active members and not simply listeners. Please speak for your community. Your opinions are golden as you have participated in events all over the country.

    I for one feel as though the OMS and USMS have no appreciation for me as an OW swimmer. I received more attention for attending Nationals in Indy (pool) than anything I’ve done locally to support OWS. Matt Miller seems to have learned to bridge the two successfully in Southern Oregon but Portland is still divided in this quest. An OW national championship hasn’t changed that one bit.

    evmoIronMike
  • emkhowleyemkhowley Boston, MACharter Member

    @cwerhane said:

    I for one feel as though the OMS and USMS have no appreciation for me as an OW swimmer. I received more attention for attending Nationals in Indy (pool) than anything I’ve done locally to support OWS.

    I feel ya. I was on staff with USMS for three years. I couldn't bridge the divide.

    IronMikessthomas

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

  • stephenrouchstephenrouch Indianapolis, INMember

    Just a bit of clarification on the now extant buoy rule in USMS. It is designed to allow a race director the discretion of requiring a buoy at their race, allowing that race to be part of the USMS umbrella. So if you encounter a race requiring a buoy and it is USMS, that was something the race director wanted! It seems unlikely to spread to kayak supported swims, focusing more on shorter mass starts.

    The rule is as follows:

    USMS Rule 303.4.3.D At the discretion of the event host, except for national championship swims, swimmers may be permitted or required to wear a personal buoy for identification and safety. Requirements for buoys as well as rules for the use of these devices will be included in the event information. Permitted personal buoys, if not required under 303.7.2.E, will be considered Category II Swimwear for purposes of placement and scoring.

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