Observers when you're 1000's of miles from the nearest "qualified observer"?

IronMikeIronMike BostonCharter Member

So, I want to do some swims here in Kyrgyzstan, the lakes being so beautiful. I intend on following the MSF Rules in all cases, even for the short ones. I'm having trouble coming up with an observer, though.

In the spirit of the MSF Rules, I'm looking for ideas from the community. I can't afford to pay for air and lodging and food for the nearest qualified (and known to the community) observers (@Niek? @Mvg?). I could train someone, but would that look like I'm having influence over him/her?

I have one idea. There is an old Olympian here, Kyrgyz chap who swam for the USSR back in the day, who also happened to cross Lake Issyk Kul in the 80's. He runs a swimming pool near the Lake. I'm planning on meeting him in a month or so, to get his wisdom on swimming the lake, and maybe some help in finding boats, etc. Perhaps he could observe for me?

Any other ideas?

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



  • phodgeszohophodgeszoho UKSenior Member

    Hope I am not hijacking your post but I have a similar question/issue on a 40K swim I am trying to organize for later this year so very interested to hear people's thought's on this.

    To keep the whole thing as lean as possible I am trying to organize a local pilot to also supply a person to provide support. This person would potentially be the only one available to act as the "observer". They would be briefed/trained by me on the MSF rules and traditions and asked to document as much of the swim as possible (photo's, video etc) but very unlikely they will have any observer experience or training. I would have a SPOT tracker on the boat but in theory that would be about it.

    There is also the issue that they have been "hired" to do all this so they are there primarily on a financial basis and not as a volunteer etc. Which I worry, coupled with no experience and no standing in the community, would potentially invalidate them as an observer.


  • IronMikeIronMike BostonCharter Member

    Thanks @Niek, that is a good idea. There is a Kyrgyz Swimming Federation here, so I'll reach out to them.


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

  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    edited April 2015

    In my view, the necessary qualifications/renown of a marathon swim observer are proportional to the magnitude of the swim attempt.

    So Mike, unless you're aiming to break Chloe's record or something of similar magnitude, it may not be necessary to fly someone from 1000s of miles away.

    Potential observers fall along a spectrum of qualifications, just like any other skill or profession.

    I would think, the absolute bare minimum for an observer is that they're familiar with the Rules of Marathon Swimming and intellectually capable of accurately documenting the swim.

    If you can find someone with some background in swimming, even better. A swim official - even better.

    If you're planning a very high-profile swim or making record claims, then be ready to pay up and fly out a well-known observer. Ego doesn't come free!

  • IronMikeIronMike BostonCharter Member

    Thanks @evmo. Very well said. I've got contacts with the Kyrgyz (indoor) Swimming Fed, so I'll contact them.

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

  • SydneDSydneD Senior Member

    A question related to this.
    Is there a section on this site that could be used for observer templates? Something that folks could download and use for a swim and that could make it a bit idiot proof? I have a swim in mind and something like that would allow an observer to be trained quickly because they could essentially fill in the blanks.

  • loneswimmerloneswimmer IrelandCharter Member

    I put a downloadable generic observer template on my site, based on the old CS&PF Observer Log, which I think is a great & efficient use of space (and very well tested). @evmo was working on an MSF one but I can't recall if he finished it @malinaka & @david_barra also had sheets that they used for @emkhowley & @chloemaccardeldotcom 's respective swims.

  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin

    The MSF Standard Observer Report is located here:

    Print out one cover page, and as many log sheets as you need for the duration of the swim. It is a fillable PDF form, so you can, for example, fill out one by hand on the boat, and type it up later when you're back on land.

    This template was used by @david_barra and Brianne Yeates to document Chloe McCardel's world record swim in the Bahamas last year: (warning, 6.3MB download)

  • SydneDSydneD Senior Member

    Excellent! A great resource! :)

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