Safety precautions in open water must be strictly observed. For violation of any of the following rules, the athlete faces immediate disqualification. But this is not the worst outcome, since a person can pay with his life for non-observance of the technique!
Who can participate
There are strict age limits for open water competitions. The participant must be at least 14 years old. Younger children can only participate in the pool. There are competitions that limit the age of participants by regulations and it starts from 18 years old.
Open water swimming involves swimming in rivers, lakes, oceans or waterways. A special area with rescue towers should be equipped at the championship site. At the time of the competition, the reservoir must be released from free bathers, third-party boats, surfers, and so on.
The swimming area must be certified. This is confirmed by a special certificate of conformity. The test proves that there are no foreign substances or pathogenic bacteria in the water.
Competitions are held in places with low tide and small waves. Water can be either fresh or salty – at the discretion of the organizers. The minimum canal depth at any point is 1.4 m.
Water temperature is also important. At temperatures below 12 degrees and above 31 degrees, the championships are canceled. It is measured 2 hours before the start at a depth of 40 cm. For the safety of the participants, the judge must periodically re-measure it.
During swimming, athletes are strictly prohibited from swimming behind the buoys. Pushing off the bottom is allowed only at the beginning of the circle, if the competition involves the passage of several circles. If any rules are violated, the athlete receives a “red” flag. He should immediately get out of the water and get into the boat.
You can transfer food to athletes only with the help of special fishing rods no more than 5 m long in the unfolded state. The use of ropes or wires is strictly prohibited. Also, containers cannot be dropped from the platform.
During the competition, participants can rest, standing on the bottom or holding on to stationary objects – a buoy or standing boats. It is prohibited to approach moving objects, touch or hold on to other swimmers in any way.
If during the swim a person became ill, he should wave his hand or shout, asking for help. Some personal buoys and wetsuits come with signal whistles.
The list of permitted equipment differs in different types of competitions. However, due to safety in open water, participants are entitled to:
- Triathlon and open water wetsuits . Their use is prohibited at temperatures above 24 degrees Celsius and mandatory at temperatures below 16 degrees Celsius. An exception is children’s swims, in which the lower bar rises to 21 degrees. Suit allowed neoprene gloves and neoprene socks at low water temperatures. In most competitions a neoprene helmet is also required. In this case, the suit must be full, you cannot use only the lower part.
- Nose clip, triathlon and open water goggles. Glasses of this type are more durable and have a higher viewing angle. They protect athletes’ eyes from sun glare and water ingress.
- Personal security buoy. For a number of competitions it is mandatory, while in others it is used as desired. The buoy will make you more visible on the water surface. Sports nutrition or small items can be stored in a special waterproof pocket inside.
- A swimming cap. Contrasting hats are often handed out by the competition organizers. It is allowed to wear a personal one under them.
- Chip holder that fits snugly around the athlete’s hand. A waterproof chip is a must for triathlon and open water competition. It helps to synchronize the swim time and also contains all the information about the athlete. His loss means disqualification.
In order to prepare for the competition, a beginner needs training with a coach. The person involved in swimming or preparing for them professionally will explain the rules of conduct on the water and help you choose a wetsuit and accessories for open water.