Saturday, January 16, 2010

'The Water is Open' - NO TECH-SUTS FOR MASTERS

The fat lady has sung and though she was off key, forgot the words and was roaring drunk, the opera ain't over till the USMS talks about SCY events. I am not optimistic repeat: NOT OPTIMISTIC and in my opinion and if my unscientific poll in the right hand column of this page produces numbers that are accurate, these stringent rules as to how a swimmer is suppose to approach his or her recreation will noticeably impact competitive participation.

Notable points that stood out for open water from The Water is Open:

  • Masters, both in the pool and open water, must abide by the same rules and deadlines as the elite swimmers.
  • From June 1, 2010, swimsuits for both men and women shall not cover the neck, extend past the shoulder, nor shall extend below the ankle.
  • After June 1, 2010 open water swimsuits worn in competition must comply with the FINA Criteria for Materials and Approval Procedures.
  • Until June 1, 2010, the 2009 swimsuits can be used in order to protect the athlete from sunburn, jellyfish and other natural elements and marine life.


Wendy said...

It will be interesting to see how if it impacts the number of swimmers at meets.

Judging by the number of swimmers on our club committed to head out to Nationals in May, there has been no change in the desire of people to compete. (Most of us are not happy about the decision, and there's a good deal of grumbling, but thus far we have almost 60 swimmers intending to compete a 6 hour plane ride away.)

Luckily, there are a lot of open water events not sanctioned by FINA, so I expect we'll see a lot of tech suits there!

Tony Austin said...

I think the loss of those competing at the masters level will be noticeable but not critical. I am thinking a 10%-15% loss.

Ultimately, I don't FINA cares about Masters swimming.

Ahelee said...

I think swimmers swim for swimming.
They aren't out training every day and entering meets because of a swimsuit.

I like the tech suits - A LOT!
But NO WAY am I missing my swimming because of FINA or anyone else trying to block my (fun) way to the sport I love most...

Tony Austin said...

Ahelee, You are an amazing person and an amazing athlete. You have given more to the sport than has been given back to you. (How many hours of volunteering do you do?) Your swimmers love you and so do the record books.

Please know this: more money is spent on swimming each year than the NFL, NBA and NHL combined? Yet, there are only 50,000 members in the USMS and maybe 20% compete? The USAT has 115,000 members and more likely than not 80% compete.

The USAT has those membership numbers by figuring out a way to make a triathlons MORE fun!

When I did the Ironman, sprint TRIs were experimental and a sprint was considered a 2k swim, 25-mile bike, 10k run. Now look at how the USAT has adapted circa 2010: 300-yard swim, 4-mile bike, 1-mile runs! Consequently people want to play!!!

The USAT gets it. Our swimming organizations don't! FINA, USA Swimming, and he USMS have to figure out how to make competitive swimming more fun. I think tech suits were a start.