So what SHOULD the Media guidelines be for reporting marathon swimming?

loneswimmerloneswimmer IrelandCharter Member
edited October 2012 in General Discussion
From an excellent suggestion by @JenA...

* How should the media report marathon swims?

* Should the starting position be to state what the generally accepted English Channel rules are, and how they relate to global marathon swimming?

* What are the local exceptions to EC rules that apply for specific swims?

* The person reporting should state any vested interest in the swim as observer, (whether independent or otherwise), or organiser.

* Independent observers must be actually verified to be independent and what criteria they are operating against.


  • JenAJenA Charter Member
    If the intention is to do this publicly, it may make more sense to create a "Guidelines for Reporting a Marathon Swim" document on OpenWaterPedia, and have the discussion collected on the [discussion] tab there. I suspect it would involve less scrolling and better idea tracking to have all the, say, "official distance" discussions collected under a similar heading.

    Hmm... would love to see a "Qualifications, Duties, and Restrictions of an Independent Observer" document, too. :)
  • WaterGirlWaterGirl Scottsdale, AZCharter Member
    The media should offer a categorized list of whatever artificial aids were used. Assume everyone uses a cap, goggles, lube, sunscreen, and a support boat. I think we could also ignore nose clips and ear plugs. After that, list what they used. For example:

    Performance aids
    -Speed suit

    Protection from the elements
    -Suit that provides additional protection from the elements (sun, jellyfish, etc.) without providing extra warmth, buoyancy or speed advantage
    -Wetsuit (also included in the performance aid section)
    -More than one cap
    -Neoprene cap
    -Pouring hot water on the swimmer

    Pacing aids
    -Pace swimmer
    -Tandem swimmer
    -MP3 Player
    -Tempo Trainer
    -Garmin on the swimmer

    Touching solid "ground"
    -Touching the boat
    -Hanging on the boat
    -Pushing off the boat
    -Standing up in shallow water
    -Touching another person
    -Getting in the boat to wait out a shark sighting
    -Getting in the boat for medical attention, sunscreen application, changing suits, etc.
    -Swimming in stages (i.e. sleeping on the boat)
    -Tethering the swimmer to an anchor so he/she can sleep in the water without risk of drifting away.


    There's no need for the media to make a big judgement on whether these things are kosher. Just give people enough information to know exactly what was the athletic feat being accomplished.

    In addition to artificial aids, the media should report
    -Water temperature
    -Air temperature
    -Point-to-point distance
    -Weather conditions
    -Start and finish time. Make it clear if all or part of the swim took place in the dark.
  • JenAJenA Charter Member
    @Niek: while I *do* live right on the Atlantic Ocean and have tremendous passion for OWS, I'm in Canada. :) Bit of a commute, that. :)

  • JenAJenA Charter Member
    edited August 2012
    Niek wrote:
    So shouldn't be there a standard fact sheet provided containing the following facts:
    Name/age swimmer(s), swim stroke, name observer(s), name pilot, name boat, sanctioning organization/rules, distance as the crow flies, (average) water temps, (average) air temps, (average) current(s)/tide, weather, with/without wet-suite, marine live encountered, stroke rate, feedings.
    The person reporting should state any vested interest in the swim as observer, (whether independent or otherwise), or organiser.

    I think reporting distance is more complicated than measuring A to B "as the crow flies".

    Currents can be timed to give a tremendous advantage that makes the "as the crow flies" distance misleading. Take, for example, the inaugural Little Red Lighthouse Swim (1998) where all swimmers finished the 7.8 miles between 1h07 and 1h40. Pretty impressive, unless you know the Hudson. :)
  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    @WaterGirl - great stuff.

    I agree it's important to educate journalists who report on open water swimming - especially about the very context-specific meaning of words such as unassisted. But I also think swimmers - especially swimmers who are themselves members of the media - bear some responsibility in describing their own feats.

    If you want to make up your own rules, fine - just be honest about what you're doing. It's not an "unassisted" swim if you're hanging on your support boat.
  • malinakamalinaka Seattle, WACharter Member

    I don't wear a wetsuit; it gives the ocean a sporting chance.

  • JenAJenA Charter Member
    I know I posted this link in some other thread, but here it is again. I took many of the ideas people put forward in terms of documenting a swim, and collected them in a document.!119&authkey=!APNtdPAmSu2hCGA

    (It should have 5 pages; if you only see one, try a different browser.)

    I think I ran it by some in the OWS community, but I don't recall who! (This was nearly a year ago.)
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