mask, fins, and snorkel?

pigeonpigeon Member
edited May 2012 in General Discussion
I am getting ready for the beach to beach power swim on St. John, USVI. We had a practice swim today. I was one of the only swimmers who swam for real. Everyone else wore fins, and used a snorkel. Luckily, there were only about 20 of us in the water. My complaint is, those wearing all the equipment seem to have trouble navigating the course. They don't feel the need to look up and see where they are going. So, I get fins in the face, or they just swim right into the real swimmers. the first mile, consists of trying to get away from assisted swimmers. I was just wondering if other races around the world, there is a category for assisted swimmers, or is that a Caribbean thing? I find it annoying.


  • IronMikeIronMike Bishkek, KyrgyzstanCharter Member
    I did a 2-miler in North Carolina that was organized by triathletes. I was passed at the last turn buoy by a guy who had a pull buoy between his legs. Yet, as he ran up the beach with his swim aid in his hand, he wasn't disqualified.

    But fins and a snorkel? Incredible.
  • pigeonpigeon Member
    the mask fins, and snorkel people actually have their won category. I guess i was being a cranky pants on the swim practice. i was just wondering if other races do whatever they can to get people out swimming. but it seems like more and more people are using aids and not actually swimming for real..
  • Hundreds of swims around the world allow fins, snorkels, buoys, etc., although most tend to be in the Pacific and Caribbean. In my opinion, the best organized ones put the assisted swimmers in the last and separate heat so conflict is minimized. From a race director's perspective, there are specific advantages to allowing equipment. But I fear/hesitate mentioning these advantages in this Forum for this is a non-equipment focused group. If you do not want assisted swimmers in your swims, then I recommend being very vocal - both written and face-to-face with the race director. At least, tell the race director and his/her organization committee that the assisted swimmers should be set off separately and behind the non-assisted swimmers. Race directors need to know the disadvantages of mixing in assisted and non-assisted swimmers - some of them may not realize that crashes between swimmers, faces kicked by fins, and snorkel gouges in the gut (while going around turn buoys in a crowded event) occur (much more than they imagine) and this can create liabilities for them.
    Steven Munatones
    Huntington Beach, California, U.S.A.
  • pigeonpigeon Member
    thanks munatones for the comments. i am curious what the advantages might be for a race director to allow equipment? They allow equipment here to get more people in the water, because there are so many people who do not know how to swim. But now the trend seems to be, the real swimmers are using equipment to go faster and place in that assisted category to win a prize. the race is coming up, i actually don't remember if the race director asks the assisted people to seed themselves to the back...we'll see. thanks again.
  • WaterGirlWaterGirl Charter Member
    My first thought after I read @Munatones post was that these sound like a great way to get people interested in open water swimming, as long as they're run properly. Five years ago, I wasn't swimming, and I'd never heard of open water swimming. I would have jumped on one of these as a fun thing to do, and after watching and talking to the unassisted swimmers, I probably would have joined a Masters team.

    And then I read

    But now the trend seems to be, the real swimmers are using equipment to go faster and place in that assisted category to win a prize.

    Ick! They give prizes for the assisted category?!?
  • pigeonpigeon Member
    hopefully, the trend will only last this year. and yes, they do give prizes for assisted, at least three races that i know of. i admit it did cross my mind for 2 seconds to wear those fins, and win a great prize. ( beach to beach power swim prizes are great). But it does seem like a step backwards, and i have worked really hard to swim for real...
  • NiekNiek Member
    edited May 2012
    In Italy there is a huge organization for fins assisted swims. Pool and openwater. Openwater Events with fins (mono and/or duo fins) are very popular there.
    Italian calendar - Cold, wind, waves, sunburn, currents, jellyfish and flotsam! Hop in and join the fun!
  • bobswimsbobswims Charter Member
    Whenever I venture out into the big surf for a swim or to bodysurf I always wear fins (with leashes). However, I have never worn them in a race. I do wear fins in practice at times to work on balance and stroke issues. I refer to them as my Michael Phelps feet. It seems only fair since he gets to wear them all the time.
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