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.
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Comments

  • 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
    www.worldopenwaterswimmingassociation.com
    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 Heiloo, NetherlandsMember
    edited May 2012
    In Italy there is a huge organization for fins assisted swims. Pool and openwater.
    http://portale.fipsas.it/ Openwater Events with fins (mono and/or duo fins) are very popular there.
    Italian calendar
    http://openwaterswimming.eu - 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.
  • I believe The Swim around Key West has an assisted division. I did the Alligator Lighthouse Swim this year (8 miles) which is a very relaxed event and several people did use fins or some sort of aids. What I noted though was that those folks did not win awards and were quick to point out to lot of people that they did use fins. I'm not against equipment, but I appreciate when users of such equipment are aware of the advantage it gives them, and understand that they are not exactly in the spirit of the event.

    For my first Ocean swim (4 miles) I thought about using fins, as they were allowed. I ditched the idea because I never train with them, but I was really afraid that I would fatigue out in the middle and have to be towed by my kayaker... So I kept thinking, "Fins, fins will save me" I was fine actually and fins unneeded, but I can see how someone with low confidence (like I was) would like the added security of fins.

    All that said, if one chooses to use fins, especially, they should be most aware of how they stick out and can injure someone. but the only OWS injury I got was a face fracture form being kicked by a regular foot in a lake practice swim...
  • HollyT said:

    I believe The Swim around Key West has an assisted division. I did the Alligator Lighthouse Swim this year (8 miles) which is a very relaxed event and several people did use fins or some sort of aids. What I noted though was that those folks did not win awards and were quick to point out to lot of people that they did use fins. I'm not against equipment, but I appreciate when users of such equipment are aware of the advantage it gives them, and understand that they are not exactly in the spirit of the event.

    For my first Ocean swim (4 miles) I thought about using fins, as they were allowed. I ditched the idea because I never train with them, but I was really afraid that I would fatigue out in the middle and have to be towed by my kayaker... So I kept thinking, "Fins, fins will save me" I was fine actually and fins unneeded, but I can see how someone with low confidence (like I was) would like the added security of fins.

    All that said, if one chooses to use fins, especially, they should be most aware of how they stick out and can injure someone. but the only OWS injury I got was a face fracture form being kicked by a regular foot in a lake practice swim...

    The Original Key West swim (directed by Randy Nutt) had a fin wave as part of the race from its inception. This is wave where the Navy Seals from NAS Key West would enter to show the fat guys (me) what a real swimmer looked like (gotta take my jabs when I can). I wouldn't sweat swimmers wearing fins in longer events. The Navy fins were super-stiff and broke ankles. The softer training fins that many of us use will break your ankles just the same, but tear into the skin as well making the last 11 of the 12 mile swim suck hard. I would bet that every "winner"'of the Key West fin division pulled them off at some point. At least they still had six-packs.
    evmo
  • HollyT said:

    I believe The Swim around Key West has an assisted division. I did the Alligator Lighthouse Swim this year (8 miles) which is a very relaxed event and several people did use fins or some sort of aids. What I noted though was that those folks did not win awards and were quick to point out to lot of people that they did use fins. I'm not against equipment, but I appreciate when users of such equipment are aware of the advantage it gives them, and understand that they are not exactly in the spirit of the event.

    For my first Ocean swim (4 miles) I thought about using fins, as they were allowed. I ditched the idea because I never train with them, but I was really afraid that I would fatigue out in the middle and have to be towed by my kayaker... So I kept thinking, "Fins, fins will save me" I was fine actually and fins unneeded, but I can see how someone with low confidence (like I was) would like the added security of fins.

    All that said, if one chooses to use fins, especially, they should be most aware of how they stick out and can injure someone. but the only OWS injury I got was a face fracture form being kicked by a regular foot in a lake practice swim...

    The Original Key West swim (directed by Randy Nutt) had a fin wave as part of the race from its inception. This is wave where the Navy Seals from NAS Key West would enter to show the fat guys (me) what a real swimmer looked like (gotta take my jabs when I can). I wouldn't sweat swimmers wearing fins in longer events. The Navy fins were super-stiff and broke ankles. The softer training fins that many of us use will break your ankles just the same, but tear into the skin as well making the last 11 of the 12 mile swim suck hard. I would bet that every "winner"'of the Key West fin division pulled them off at some point. At least they still had six-packs.
    I didn't make it clear that i was talking about the Alligator Lighthouse swim, not the Swim around Key West. I just know Key West has a Fins division, but having not done the event I don't know anything about the people in the fins division.
  • dpm50dpm50 New Member
    I swam with Zoomers in a recent practice to see if they really helped speed. Not really. And in fact, my toes began chafing, so I took them off. I had earlier a heavier pair which felt awful during kick sets. The Zoomers are lighter and despite the toe chafing problem (mostly I remember to use vaseline before swimming for that reason), they're overall more comfortable than the other ones. But I still wouldn't want to wear them in a race. Rather than help, I think, they'd be a hindrance.
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