Weirs/Rapids – a technical perspective...

owenswims93owenswims93 Fermoy, IrelandMember
edited January 2013 in General Discussion
Over the last 2 yrs, I've done a few swims that involved sliding down weirs (or walking around them) and dragging one's self across (or walking across) stretches of rapids. Does anyone have any thoughts on how having to do this affects the validity of a swims? Does having to stand up and walk 25 m down a weir invalidate the swim or does it split it into two separate swims? Any opinions greatly appreciated... – Owen O'Keefe (Fermoy, Ireland)


  • owenswims93owenswims93 Fermoy, IrelandMember
    Thanks for that @Niek! I've seen in other races too where the swimmers have to run onto the beach between multiple circuits of the same race. In terms of a solo marathon swim, do you think that the swim could still be considered as such if I had to walk down a weir or two during it? – Owen O'Keefe (Fermoy, Ireland)

  • SuirThingSuirThing Carrick-on-Suir, IrelandMember
    edited January 2013
    often in mountain bike or cyclo-cross races there can be a section that is actually impassible on a bike (or at least impassible if you are not in the first few cyclists) .... even in the famous Paris-Roubaix classic we can see cyclists throw the bike up on their shoulder to pass some of the cobbled sections .... these events do not then become stage races (or even duathlons for that matter !!)

    i would suggest once a swimmer doesn't cross the waters edge on either bank that they are still technically "in the river" so therefore haven't "exited the water" as such, and it should be classed as a successful continuous swim


    I tried to convince myself, but, orange flavour electrolyte, mixed with hot chocolate,
    tastes nothing like Terry's Chocolate Orange ....

  • owenswims93owenswims93 Fermoy, IrelandMember
    Thanks @Niek and @SuirThing. The swim that I have in mind is 60 km (on the map) but is current/tide assisted... Perhaps if the swimmer spent no more than X minutes/seconds traversing the weir/rapids and did not leave the watercourse during that time then it could be a continuous swim?

    To me, a staged swim is where the swimmer actually finishes one swim and exits completely before restarting a number of hours or even days later... – Owen O'Keefe (Fermoy, Ireland)

  • SuirThingSuirThing Carrick-on-Suir, IrelandMember
    my intention was not to suggest that someone crossing the water's edge to pass a weir was automatically instantly disqualified from referring to their swim as a continuous one, (that's not my call, and for example aren't swimmers pulled out in MIMS if there's lightning?), but rather pointing out that if you are (geographically speaking) still "in the river", then there is definitely a pretty strong case for referring to the swim as a continuous one

    out of interest, for the Krommerijn zwemmarathon do the swimmers dry off/get dressed or do they just hop out, help with the kayaks and jump back in again?

    don't know if i'd bother putting a time-limit on it. here in Ireland at least, there is no benefit to a swimmer taking any longer than necessary doing this. having walked over weirs myself, ankle deep in cold water, stones cutting the feet off you and the wind whipping the heat from you, the sooner your back swimming the better

    again all jmho

    I tried to convince myself, but, orange flavour electrolyte, mixed with hot chocolate,
    tastes nothing like Terry's Chocolate Orange ....

  • MunatonesMunatones Charter Member
    Owen, it depends how to want to define your swim. If you want to define your swim as a marathon swim, the rules are quite clear. The moment that you touch a person or land or any fixed object (pier) or moving object (boat, kayak), your swim is declared over and is no longer recognized by the observer as a marathon swim. Now there is an exception to this rule.

    A two- or three-way crossing allows - and in fact demands - that you touch land and clear the water with a maximum amount of time allowed out of the water.

    But you and Niek are correct: your swim can be defined as something other than a marathon swim. Because you get out of the water and on land does not invalidate your swim under a non-marathon swimming perspective. There are plenty of swims - competitive races and unprecedented solo swims - that are remarkable in themselves and require many of the same characteristics that marathon swimmers demonstrate (e.g., endurance and mental strength). Like your swim, these swims are unique, fun and memorable - and can be interesting and motivational to the general public. These swims include many stage swims (of various types) and distance swims (e.g., Distance Swim Challenge in Los Angeles or Five Lakes of Mount Fuji in Japan) that are greater than 10 km but that require swimmers to get in and out of the water for various reasons. The open water swimming world includes a vast number of different kinds of swims and comprises of a wide number of definitions, parameters, enthusiasts and rules.

    Enjoy the planning and execution of your swim. It is innovative and sounds like fun.

    FYI -

    Steven Munatones
    Huntington Beach, California, U.S.A.

  • owenswims93owenswims93 Fermoy, IrelandMember
    @Niek @SuirThing Come to think of it, swimmers doing English Channel 2-way swims MUST exit the water completely on the French side to complete the first part of the swim. However, once they are back in the water within 10 mins the swim continues and it is not considered a "staged" swim. Can I suggest rules below?

    "Where the swimmer encounters water that, at any point in a cross section of the river, is deemed not to be of sufficient depth to allow them to continue swimming, they may use any form of terrestrial locomotion in order to reach the nearest water (in terms of forward progress) of sufficient depth to allow them to continue swimming. If the swimmers has not returned returned to a position such that his or her entire weight is supported by the water within ten minutes of last being in such a position, the swim is considered to be discontinuous."

    What constitutes sufficient depth will need to be clarified. Any ideas? – Owen O'Keefe (Fermoy, Ireland)

  • owenswims93owenswims93 Fermoy, IrelandMember
    Thanks @Munatones. Do you happen to know if the CS&PF or CSA consider English Channel multiple crossings to be stage swims or continuous swims? – Owen O'Keefe (Fermoy, Ireland)

  • owenswims93owenswims93 Fermoy, IrelandMember
    @Niek For the particular swim that I'm considering, there's no weir or riffle that would take more than 10 mins to traverse. There are long stretches of swimable water between each of these also. I'll have to talk more with my observer about it. – Owen O'Keefe (Fermoy, Ireland)

  • owenswims93owenswims93 Fermoy, IrelandMember
    edited January 2013
    Good point re the forward motion, @Niek! I'll definitely be incorporating that when writing the rules for this particular swim. FYI, here's a photograph of me sitting atop one of the weirs in question before sliding down...
    Arik – Owen O'Keefe (Fermoy, Ireland)

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