Do you wear a wristwatch in marathon swims?

2

Comments

  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    edited January 2014
    I'm seeking community feedback about how to word the options under consideration.

    The options I listed were limited to wristwatches; however an even more-liberal option is allowing any electronic devices attached to the swimmer (wristwatch or otherwise).

    Another factor is whether this is simply a matter of removing wristwatches from the list of "performance enhancing equipment," or whether this is about adding them to the list of "standard equipment."

    Welcoming any feedback here.
  • suziedodssuziedods Mem​ber
    edited January 2014
    @ssthomas needs to write the rules/guidelines.
    Or a book...
    Oh wait!! She can do that in Feb... and the water won't be frozen..
    ** btw.. this is in no way meant to diss the originators of the afforementioned rules**
    I am just in awe of how well @ssthomas writes.
    Obviously, I don't write as clearly or passionately.

    Looking for the next big thing.. ... @suzieswimcoach
    www.suziedodsswimcoaching.com

  • swimmer25kswimmer25k Charter Member
    My feelings don't fall neatly into any of those categories.
    While I don't think receiving information electronically is necessarily performance enhancing, this is an area that will be developing rapidly, and I'd hate to have to rehash this debate every few months.
    BTW, there is a receiver device available that swimmers can wear for one way verbal communication it works via bone conduction behind the ear.... Another debate?

    This would certainly be more effective than trying to decipher a scribbled message on a dry erase board. You also wouldn't have to break your stroke, stop, and listen to your trainer say "hey, look out for that piling", or "I think I saw a fin in the water".

    Does bone conduction interfere with your ability to hear in the water? I'm pretty firm about not wearing mp3 players in the water because you can't hear propellers and/or someone yelling at you. Do bone conduction devices let propeller whine get through?

    I've never worn any of the mp3 players out there. I'd think that they would end up being too uncomfortable after a while.
  • david_barradavid_barra NYCharter Member
    edited January 2014
    swimmer25k wrote:
    Does bone conduction interfere with your ability to hear in the water? I'm pretty firm about not wearing mp3 players in the water because you can't hear propellers and/or someone yelling at you. Do bone conduction devices let propeller whine get through?

    I've never worn any of the mp3 players out there. I'd think that they would end up being too uncomfortable after a while.
    I haven’t tried them yet, but I’m looking into a setup to use for guiding and coaching groups in the OW. I believe a single transmitter can work with up to 6 receiver units with a range of 50m.

    ...anything worth doing is worth overdoing.

  • gregocgregoc Charter Member
    @Niek, you are right. I thought that was option #1, but I misread it.
  • IronMikeIronMike BostonCharter Member
    edited January 2014
    @25kswimmer and @david_barra, you can definitely still hear with bone conduction, as long as you don't have the volume up really high. I still won't wear my swimp3 in OW though. Besides listening for drunk boaters, I also like to listen to the water, nature, other swimmers (if I'm so lucky), etc. I wear mine for long (~3 hour) pool sets.

    One thing you have to keep in mind with respect to the bone conduction, it really only works when your ears are under water. So even with it in, you don't really get the "surround sound" that you do when you are completely submerged.

    In fact, when I first got mine, I turned in on with my head out of the water. It sounded low and tinny. I upped the volume, still sounded tinny. Went completely underwater and all of a sudden I was surrounded by a loud band. I turned the volume down and swam.

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

  • I only like to know "half hours" which I guess is the same thing as counting feeds. I do not like knowing how far I've gone or concretely the time, and although I focus on the thought of "It will be over when it is over! Just swim!" I like to focus on something...so I count 30 min segments and I only know when they change when the kayaker says so. Yes, I am aware of the time...but it's like in the pool, you are doing a set of 20x200s...you count the 200s, not the actual yards during the set.
    So when I'm swimming a race that takes say 6 hours, there are 12 repeats. I'll think in my head "number 5, number 5 oh yeah I'm on 5! Almost 6! Yay 6! But now it's 5! Glad it's not fooooour!!!"
    Can't do that with a watch. :)
  • It's simple:
    On your next long session: don't wear a watch.
    Did you miss it during the session? If yes, then your watch assists you. If no, then your watch doesn't assist you.

    If wearing a watch doesn't assist you, then the rules might as well forbid them. If wearing a watch does assist you, then the rules have to decide if we should allow these additional assistance.

    Some assistances we already happily accept certainly affect our swims. If we forbid goggles for instance, very few would ever manage to swim the Channel other than head up breaststroke.

    Other assistances help us much less, like fancy powders gels and Vaseline.

    Other assistances even less like jammers, sun block and watches.

    But they all assist us.

    With the growth in wearable tech, we will see goggles with head up display and ear buds which allow our coach to talk and encourage us throughout the swim. All within the next decade.

    The change these developments will make to our sport will be as great as the introduction of goggles back in the early 70s. When we experienced training sessions without chlorine burns in the eyes and stinging for hours later, for the first time and we could do longer training sessions, even two session a day.

    Or, the change in acceptance with wetsuits and triathletes. This latter area must be recognised as the foundation which brings thousands to open water swimming and maybe without which, open water swimmers in speedos only twenty years ago, was a very minority sport.

    New tech will also bring new money to businesses like speedo as they develop the new products and bring them to an accepting and hungry market.

    I am sure we will all buy it and they will make our training and official swims easier.

    Those that don't want to use them because they border on too much assistance (even cheating)? Well , we won't use them.

    I would support the rules which banned them.

    As for the jammers v speedo rules in the csa v cspf. I just don't get it. Why not unify those too rules and ban jammers?
  • heartheart San Francisco, CACharter Member
    Hmmmm. I have stopped wearing a Garmin because it is so heavy and uncomfortable on my wrist, but I am eagerly awaiting my Bia, which I ordered many months ago and has just started mass production. I was looking forward to wearing it on swims and races, not so much for my sake (I won't be able to read the screen anyway while I swim) but because of the live GPS transmission, which would be a more accurate and fun alternative to the SPOT Tracker (seeing as it's worn on the swimmer, rather than parked on the boat.)
  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    Incidentally, one of the Bia co-founders is a MSF member!
  • KNicholasKNicholas ArizonaCharter Member
    I don't wear a watch - I'm out there to lose my sense of time actually. I think swims are more natural without a watch but I'm not going to condemn those that wear one.
    Bridget
  • IronMikeIronMike BostonCharter Member
    I wear my Garmin under my cap in OW practices so I know how far/long I went, and to analyze my navigation skills (or lack thereof). That Bia looks interesting, @heart. Looking forward to your review.

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

  • sylmarinosylmarino San FranciscoMember
    Our EC observer noted during our relay that any device with intervals (beep or vibrate every x distance or time) is not allowed. It is seen similar to a pacer/metronome. Therefore, option 2 is my vote.

    I do support a GPS device on a swimmer with no interface so that the swimmer can be tracked on the boat, friends/family and emergency services (if needed) but the swimmer has no visual on the data for self feedback.
    Bridget
  • swimmer25kswimmer25k Charter Member
    Let your trainer keep time. You've got other things to do than mess with a watch when you're tired, cold, dehydrated, and can't see sh*t because your eyes have been swollen for the last 6 hours.
  • JimBoucherJimBoucher Senior Member
    A couple of questions to previous posters:

    Jammers v speedos - is there any tangible advantage from the former? Seems just a different style to me with no discernible advantage in protection, warmth, comfort? The "conventional speedos" strike me as just being closer to tradition I suppose, but even with them I suspect today's model is a hell of a lot lighter than Webb's originals?

    GPS on a swimmer - I really struggle to see why people obsess with swimming with a GPS unit on their body on a swim alongside a boat fitted with GPS or a SPOT tracker. There is no practical improvement in accuracy unless you were to be using some military-based precision tracker or a unit more applicable to survey. The basis error of GPS is around the distance most people swim from the boat. A SPOT unit or even the boats own GPS would be more than good enough surely??
  • david_barradavid_barra NYCharter Member
    I’ll take a shot at the jammer issue;
    I think the tech suit era brought this to the forefront. When these expensive rubberized fabrics were finally deemed “aid” and subsequently banned, the burden of having to identify legal vs illegal suits fell upon event directors, who honestly have a hell of a lot more to do than examine the tags of every garment. It is easier to just err conservatively.

    I think this may be case with NYC Swim... though I’m not certain.
    Regarding CSA, it appears to be another petty way they might try to claim the higher ground vs CSPF, but as it is not something they have enforced universally, looks like nonsense.

    ...anything worth doing is worth overdoing.

  • david_barradavid_barra NYCharter Member
    Niek wrote:
    the burden of having to identify legal vs illegal suits fell upon event directors, who honestly have a hell of a lot more to do than examine the tags of every garment.
    That's what race officials are for. While they check the swimmers one by one if a swimmers is present and has an identifying number (written on the cap or on the limbs)
    they can also check at the same time for allowed suits, too long nails and watches.
    After everyone is checked in a safety briefing is held.

    Time should be made for all of that.
    Yawn.
    My post was an attempt to address the question posted by Jim Boucher.

    ...anything worth doing is worth overdoing.

  • david_barradavid_barra NYCharter Member
    Niek wrote:
    Your answer might be directed to Jim but it lacks enthusiasm for checking things that should be checked. No time is no excuse. Time should be made for it.

    Speedo? Check
    That was easy.

    ...anything worth doing is worth overdoing.

  • dc_in_sfdc_in_sf San FranciscoCharter Member
    @JimBoucher

    on the GPS front, there are a couple reasons I have a personal preference for a worn GPS to an escort carried one:

    1. The track will more accurately reflect the route I swam. I have been on swims where for various reasons either the boat or the kayaker have tracks that diverged my swim route. For example on the Rottnest Channel Swim you pickup the escort boat at the 1km mark and leave it with around 1/2 km to go so you are not with the boat for roughly 8% of the swim.

    2. If the GPS on the kayaker or escort boat is not actually yours there are a few more hoops to jump through to get the track - though obviously I could just give my garmin to the kayaker or pilot but this adds one more thing that they have to take care of that they may or may not be used to.

    I'm a jammers swimmer, while I think I'm a year younger than @david_barra he carries off the middle aged bloke in lime green briefs in a way I never could, so am hoping that NYC swim one day see fit to accommodate my slightly foolish attempts to hang on to a shred of dignity and allow jammers :)
    Bridget

    http://notdrowningswimming.com - open water adventures of a very ordinary swimmer

  • IronMikeIronMike BostonCharter Member
    @JimBoucher, I'll add about the GPS issue to what @dc_in_sf said: Sometimes the kayaker or boat has to take a different route, say to get under a bridge, while you can swim directly under it. I know this happened to @evmo during his Tampa swim a couple years ago.

    I wear my GPS on OW training swims of course because I'm working on particular things (mostly navigation). During a race I like to know exactly how far I swam and how well I navigated. And in one instance, I discovered that the race course was short by about 10%.

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

  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    I get that many folks think wearing a GPS to record tracks for later analysis is not such a big deal. I like having those data for my swims, too, and I agree it doesn't benefit performance.

    The problem is, even current Garmin models do much more than passive recording of tracks. What do folks think about distance alerts ("buzz every mile")? My Garmin hiking watch (Fenix) even has navigation alerts (buzzing if off course).

    The next generation of wearable GPS devices will obviously have even more amazing features, with even higher resolution. No doubt, someone will invent a GPS navigator implanted into a goggle.
    JimBoucher wrote:
    I really struggle to see why people obsess with swimming with a GPS unit on their body on a swim alongside a boat fitted with GPS or a SPOT tracker. There is no practical improvement in accuracy unless you were to be using some military-based precision tracker or a unit more applicable to survey.
    What is military-grade now will be available at your local Best Buy within 5 years.

    MSF Rules define the spirit of marathon swimming as fundamentally about "minimal assistance." This part is non-negotiable. If anyone has practical ideas for addressing wearable GPS devices in the Rules, in a way that doesn't require re-defining the spirit of our sport, then please don't be shy!
  • JimBoucherJimBoucher Senior Member
    Given the title was all about wrist watches I really didnt want to take it too far away from the original theme, let alone into a lesson on how GPS works.

    Suffice to say that one shouldnt confuse accuracy and resolution - I can give you a thermometer display with 6 decimal digits and if the temperature sensor is some slow responding chip with 0.5C accuracy then thats what you get whatever the other 5 decimal digits say. The logic behind my original dismissal of the "accuracy" of GPS is that the error sources in the signal path give us more like an average of around 10m for practical purposes. Don't believe the retailer's specs for the consumer stuff. That's why I don't see any benefit when you have a boat beside you most of the time. Granted that in the swims where you split from the boat at the start or finish, a swimmer-mounted GPS might be useful to some.

    Evmo - military grade (accuracy) GPS has been around for several decades and you'd safely bet a lot that it wont be available at anyone's Best Buy in any conceivable timescale given the way it is managed by the powers that be. As I said, you could go for post-processed centimetric (survey-grade) accuracy but you'd get kinda worn out dragging a better antenna for 20km or more.. :-)
  • IronMikeIronMike BostonCharter Member
    edited January 2014
    How about this wrist watch? Is this one okay? It really doesn't give any benefit. /jk/

    IMG_6731_1024x1024.jpg?v=1385405219

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

  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    @JimBoucher, thanks for the lesson on GPS technology (seriously!).

    Do you have a suggestion for improving the MSF Rules? By which I mean, allowing for non-performance enhancing GPS technology, while staying within the spirit as defined.
  • JimBoucherJimBoucher Senior Member
    A lot of what's good and wise in OW comes from one N.Denison, formerly of USA and subsequently detained, much as Calypso did with Odysseus, by the people of Cork, Ireland.

    When GPS watches first came out I believe Ned would cut the straps off and wear it under his swim hat. He could download his tracks when he got home and couldn't look at it while he was swimming. Nor did it unbalance his arms I suspect. Having observed a few EC swims, I can't see how you could say a watch/tracker carried like this could be anything like an aid. But don't for a moment ask me to suggest it to anyone down |Dover way....

    I'd still hang on to my suggestion that the accompanying GPS Rx is better on the boat or kayak if you are after accuracy. GPS appears to continuously track but in fact it uses some smart digital processing to 'guess' where it is between its triangulation-like fixes and, with the erratic (in my case) roll of a swimmer's body/arms the more a swimmer-mounted unit would need to do its guessing. The boat-mounted environment is probably one of the better places for GPS accuracy anyway.

    Furthermore, with the FINIS unit I played with, I found that you had to reduce the sample rate to say every minute to preserve battery charge on a long swim (GPS processing is very CPU intensive). So can you - those of you who must have GPS - cope with fact that two points one minute apart, seemingly separated by a straight line, might in fact be joined by a curve....

  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    edited March 2014
    Bump - v1.1 of the MSF Rules has been released:

    http://marathonswimmers.org/rules/

    Simple timekeeping devices are now listed as Standard Equipment (among other minor changes)
    Bridget
  • Niek wrote:
    I regret that wristwatches are approved.
    Not that I'm against innovation in itself, but because we would remove us from the rules of the established Channel organizations (CS&PF and CSA) and from the FINA.
    It's a change that contributes nothing to safety and it therefore justifies nothing that it should be allowed.

    Pity that a poll about this issue wasn't held. There was something in that direction for a few days, but it lacked the choice to vote against any kind of watch and also the poll was taken down again.

    As a swimmer , I am happy that wristwatches are approved . !
    Bridget
  • IronMikeIronMike BostonCharter Member
    As a potential solo swimmer sometime in the future, I'll never wear a wristwatch. I do, however, intend on having my Garmin (or Bia) under my cap, set to NOT beep at me.

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

  • gregocgregoc Charter Member
    @Niek, I personally would never wear a watch in a race. The odds of clocking someone with it is too high. I would guess that that is the reason FINA excludes them in their rules. The MSF rules are specifically for solo marathon swims where this is not an issue. If you can't think of a reason that a swimmer might want to wear a watch in a solo marathon swim just read the watch thread. There are a few listed there.
  • gregocgregoc Charter Member
    If a swimmer has become watch addicted then I guess they couldn't swim the EC. It's a good thing for them that there are other swims out there.
  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    edited February 2014
    Niek wrote:
    Not that I'm against innovation in itself, but because we would remove us from the rules of the established Channel organizations (CS&PF and CSA) and from the FINA.
    A forum member forwarded me an email from the CSA Swim Secretary in which she specifically states that "simple analogue watches" are allowed on CSA-sanctioned swims.
  • dc_in_sfdc_in_sf San FranciscoCharter Member
    @Niek Are you campaigning for wedding rings, earrings, studs etcetera etcetera also to be banned? Just curious, we wouldn't want inconsistencies now would we?

    http://notdrowningswimming.com - open water adventures of a very ordinary swimmer

  • My son wears a Finis Open Water GPS. It attaches to the back of his googles. You download your swim to your computer afterwards. Anybody else use one? No audio aid is given at anytime. My question is would that be against the rules?
  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    edited February 2014
    zoocrew49 wrote:
    My son wears a Finis Open Water GPS. It attaches to the back of his googles. You download your swim to your computer afterwards. Anybody else use one? No audio aid is given at anytime. My question is would that be against the rules?
    In short: GPS devices that log data but don't transmit live feedback are fine according to MSF Rules. However, they should be declared in the swim documentation.

    See Rules > Varieties of Nonstandard Equipment > Non-Performance Enhancing Equipment

    Non-performance-enhancing equipment provides no obvious benefit to performance, but nonetheless is not considered part of the standard equipment of marathon swimming. Swims using such equipment may still qualify as unassisted, but the equipment must be specifically declared in the swim rules and documentation.

    Examples of non-performance-enhancing equipment include:

    ...
    Wearable electronic devices that log data but do not transmit it to the swimmer.
  • Kane wrote:
    We are seeing nearly every other sport embrace tech advancements in someway, so in my opinion marathon swimming should not be any different.

    I quite agree with this.

    If a watch / GPS advances the development of an open-water swimmer, sees new records being broken and keeps open-water swimming up to date with technological advancement in the rest of the world, why ban it?

    People will always have more respect for someone who is able to do marathon swims without these aids. I believe banning them hampers development of the sport itself.
  • CharlieDoSurfCharlieDoSurf Member
    edited December 2015

    I wear a Seiko dive watch (the SKX007) I bought in Japan. I use the dive bezel to time swims and as a crude lap counter.
    I switched out the bracelet for a nylon NATO strap. This can fit over a dive wetsuit and I won't loose the watch if one of the spring bars breaks.
    They call this the poor man's Rolex Submariner, it can be got for less than $150. It has all the features of divers that cost ten times that. I won't swim without it.

    evmoBridget
  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    edited December 2015

    @CharlieDoSurf That's a nice lookin' timepiece! And the price can't be beat for an automatic movement. Love the NATO strap too.

    Personally I'm partial to Omega Seamasters over the Submariners, but I can't bear to bring mine in the water. @loneswimmer has a vintage Seamaster as well, which I believe he actually does wear in the sea!

    Anyway, this Seiko seems like it could appeal to chronophilia with less financial risk.

    (Here's the Amazon link if anyone wants to throw us a few bucks.)

    FrancoCharlieDoSurf
  • FrancoFranco Chestertown, MDCharter Member

    That is nice watch for the price. I also like the Seamaster and have vintage and recent models. The newer one is uncomfortable after a while with the heavy bracelet.
    I was in NYC yesterday and saw this one in the window at Omega on 5th Ave. Special Edition with NATO strap and bracelet. I didn't go inside to look because I was afraid I would buy it. Love the look of this one.
    http://www.omegawatches.com/watches/seamaster/seamaster-300/spectre-limited-edition/

    Submariners are great watches but I got rid of mine around fifteen years ago when it seemed like everyone else had one.

    evmoCharlieDoSurf
  • @evmo That must be the one he's wearing in the @loneswimmer wristwatch article. I zoomed in to see if I could spot the make/ model when I first read that piece.

  • +1 for the Seamaster but I never wear mine for a swim!

  • dpm50dpm50 PA, U.S.Senior Member

    I wore one during a river marathon and have worn it in shorter o.w. swims, but (1) my purpose for wearing the watch in the long swim was to get my time at the end, rather than using it while swimming. ..numbers were to small to see in any case, and wouldn't you know I forgot to stop the watch, so it's purpose wasn't fulfilled; (2) at other times when I wore the watch, it was mainly because I'd forgotten to remove it; (3) I was once cautioned against wearing a watch or other jewelry) for salt water swims as the reflection could attract sharks (and while I try not to get too paranoid about such things, I figure if it came to a showdown of me vs shark, I like the shark's chances). ;) And I can't see the numbers anyway while swimming. I suppose if I wore something more state-of-the-art than a $15 remainder from Swim Outlet, it would be a different story (I use the watch sometimes for pool or track workouts where it's more useful). I also have a Garmin 10 but I'm reluctant to use that for swimming as I'm told it could damage the watch....just use that for running. And I doubt I'd be able to see it's numbers either while swimming in open water.

  • ChrisBChrisB Issaquah, WAMember
    edited January 2016

    As a newbie to this site & thread I'm enjoying the debate. I wear a Garmin 920Xt for all swims, especially for pool training. Not because it gives me an advantage in the water but for the feedback it gives me after. Of course, I have yet to participate in anything over 4 miles so I don't have an observer to maybe replace that but honestly I can't see an argument against allowing some sort of device to track your swim as seems allowed with MSF as long as it isn't transmitted to the swimmer.

    Maybe we should require the swimmer to carry all of their liquids and nutrition? I often drag a safer swimmer buoy (sometimes required) which I could throw some liquid and a gel packs in. Could easily design a small streamlined vessel to carry 24hrs+ of liquid & nutrition to drag behind... just a thought if we are truly going for "unassisted".

    Kate_AlexanderBridget
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