Preparing for Open Water Competitions

85 entries have been received so far for the SW [and Dorset] Open Water Championships 2017 which take place in Weymouth on 24 June. Kelly Podbury has sent confirmations to those entries where payment has been received up to and including 2 May

Unfortunately not many swimmers have signed up for the introductory Open Water Swimmer Development course which is now at risk of being cancelled.

Your coach may already have discussed with you race tactics such as dolphining, drafting, bodysurfing, impeding, negative splitting, railroading, sheltered-side breathing, slip streaming and more. You may already be putting other specialty moves unique to open water racing into your training preparations in open water conditions ahead of the competition.

Or you may have considered just turning up to swim without such knowledge, not practised in open water conditions, which is inadvisable, or never swum in a wetsuit.

So if you, or someone you know, would like / need to attend, please email Kat Percival ( urgently. A decision will be made on Sunday so there is no time to waste.

As wetsuits must be worn this year, you may find the following information useful, at the bottom are some links to websites where wetsuits can be purchased or hired.

View entry information for the 2017 SW and Dorset Open Water Championships which close on Friday 2 June 2017.

From: Officials News
Sent: Tuesday, March 7, 2017 15:29
Subject: British Swimming Guidance on Wetsuits

Following discussion by the British Swimming – Swimming Officials Group, I have been asked to circulate the following guidance in respect of wetsuits at open water events:

It has been brought to the notice of the British Swimming – Swimming Officials Group that there appears to be doubt as to the style of wetsuit permitted to be used in Open Water swimming. To put the matter into context I will reproduce FINA rules and guidance known to date.

In August 2106 FINA issued the following rule changes

BL 8.4 For open water swimming competitions, with water temperature from 20 C, swimsuits for both men and women shall not cover the neck, nor extend past the shoulder, nor extend below the ankle. Subject to these specific shape specifications, swimsuits for open water swimming competitions shall further comply with all other requirements applicable to swimsuits for pool swimming competition.

BL 8.5 From the 1st of January 2017, for open water swimming competitions in water with temperature below 20 C, men and women may use either swimsuits (BL 8.4) or wetsuits. When the water temperature is below 18 C, the use of wetsuits is compulsory. For the purpose of these rules, wetsuits are swimsuits made of material providing thermal insulation. Wetsuits for both men and women shall completely cover torso, back, shoulders and knees. They shall not extend beyond the neck, wrists and ankles.

In the intervening period to date it has been realised that an insufficient number of wetsuits have been submitted for FINA approval to provide a worldwide choice to athletes. On 11th January 2017, further information was circulated by FINA as follows:

Therefore during 2017, control of wetsuits at the Open Water Swimming competition will be done directly by the Technical Officials prior to the competition. The wetsuits should meet minimum requirements for coverage – wetsuit must completely cover torso, back, shoulders and knees, and shall not extend beyond the neck, wrists and ankles. In addition, the outer surface of the used wetsuits shall not include outstanding shapes, such as ridges, fins etc. Details on exact procedure for control and confirmation of wetsuits at the FINA competition will be available from the official FINA Technical Delegate prior to the competition.

This rule change has been brought about to increase safety for competitors in water between 16¢ª- 18¢ª (compulsory) and 18¢ª – 20¢ª (optional). In accordance with other swimsuit rules British Swimming will conform to the intention of the rule. We do not provide interpretation of FINA rules – only FINA as the governing body can interpret their own rules.

However, to provide guidance, the discussion to date has been around what would constitute coverage of the shoulder. An informed view is that to ensure complete coverage of the shoulder the wetsuit must include a sleeve, as a minimum polo or ¡®T¡¯ shirt length covering the full shoulder and upper arm in order to maintain shoulder cover during swimming, full arm to wrist has been suggested although elbows do not feature in the rule, whereas coverage of knees as a mid-limb joint in respect of leg length of a wetsuit is.

It is expected that officials will apply common sense when dealing with references to neck, wrists and ankles. As in all OW events held in the home countries of England Scotland and Wales the Chief Referee will have responsibility for the overall management of the rules.

Website links to wetsuits: