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Ironman Introduces “Swim Smart” Program To Events

Posted by: on May, 9 2013

As seen on Ironman.com

IRONMAN pilots alternative swim starts and other enhancements to swim courses at select North America events.

In an effort to improve athlete satisfaction and reduce athlete anxiety during the swim portion of the race, IRONMAN will test different swim race starts and other course enhancements in 2013.

“IRONMAN and IRONMAN 70.3 events have always been operated at a level above the industry standard and we are continuously looking for ways to improve and adjust,” says Jeff Edwards, IRONMAN Vice President of Operations, North America. “Minor changes can make a big difference as it relates to reducing athlete anxiety in the water.”swimsmart

Changes/enhancements for 2013 will include:

Modified Swim Starts at Select Races

  • IRONMAN will pilot several alternative race starts at select events to further enhance athlete experience and reduce swim anxiety. Three events in 2013 will feature new swim start formats – IRONMAN Coeur d’Alene, IRONMAN Lake Placid and IRONMAN Mont-Tremblant – while two other 2013 events, IRONMAN Lake Tahoe and IRONMAN Florida, will feature modifications in how athletes start their races.

Pre-Race Swim Warm-Up

  • North American IRONMAN events will include a pre-race, in-water warm-up whenever possible.

Swim Temperature

  • Water temperature below 52 degrees Fahrenheit or above 88 degrees Fahrenheit will result in cancellation or shortening of the swim portion of the race

Swim Course Additions

  • Numbered course buoys to assist in positioning of water assets/personnel and provide more accurate communication for locating and rescuing distressed swimmers.
  • Anchored resting rafts to be strategically placed along the swim course (please note that athletes will NOT be disqualified by resting on these floats).
  • Increased professional swim course personnel to enhance the overall athlete experience.
  • Additional rescue boat and personal watercrafts (PWC, kayaks, paddleboards, etc.).

”We are constantly striving to improve our athlete experience by listening to the feedback of our athletes,” said Andrew Messick, Chief Executive Officer of IRONMAN. “As part of our industry leading commitment to our athletes, we are piloting operational changes to the swim portion of our races in North America and launching an education plan to help ensure our athletes are prepared for the swim.”

The second phase of the initiative will feature a comprehensive effort to educate athletes about reducing anxiety associated with the swim portion of IRONMAN events, focusing on pre-race screening for potential health issues, pre-race training and race-week preparation. Such efforts will use all IRONMAN media platforms and will include a checklist and on-line videos. Swim-specific educational communications will begin at the end of May.

“It’s rare to see a race series confront the challenges of open water swimming in a systematic, robust way,” said Dan Empfield, founder and publisher of Slowtwitch.com. “This initiative touches key pressure points faced by athletes during the swim leg and should be the new normal for our sport.”
Originally from: http://www.ironman.com/triathlon-news/articles/2013/05/swimsmart-initiative.aspx#ixzz2Snz0Ijvu