Sunday, October 30, 2016

Should Fog Cancel A Triathlon Swim?

Seems like Ironman are very quick to pull the plug on the swim when conditions get tricky. Athlete safety is often cited as the concern. Although it seems hundreds of often moderately trained athletes cycling and running for over 12 hours in 100 degree heat doesn't classify as an athlete safety risk. There are inherent risks in the sport and changing environmental conditions is part of the sport's appeal. Are organizers doing enough to save the swim when things get tricky?

The Ironman 70.3 Austin swim was cancelled this morning because of fog and in an instant the hours of swim training and preparations of triathletes competing were for naught. 

A video posted by Sean B. Garick (@push_ur_limits) on

Moments before the eventually cancelled swim leg at Austin 70.3

These events aren't cheap so perhaps resources could be allocated to solutions. How about a line a kayaks equipped with flares every 100 yards? Could a fog horn be employed to guide wayward swimmers? Doesn't sound impossible. There are a mass of people. If the leaders are properly led and surrounded with some extra sighting support we should be able to get athletes from A to B.

Agreed, it's not ideal but were triathlons meant to be easy? For once, strong swimmers would have some difficulties to be able to distinguish themselves. And, really, what's the worse that can happen? Some athletes take a wrong turn and wash up on the shore. Is there actually a "threat" especially in a closed water environment of someone swimming to China? Triathletes should take some time to properly prepare in a variety of open water conditions and organizers should honor that work by holding the event whenever it's possible.
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