Are You Doing a Marathon Swim in Water Ungoverned by a Marathon Swimming Organization?
Posted by Scott Zornig, 29 October 2013
Some marathon swimmers desire to push the boundaries and do their business in virgin water. These people are the trailblazers. Those who have the strength, courage and mental toughness to do something no one on planet earth has ever done.
Unfortunately, there are no sanctioning organizations to see that the swim is done according to channel rules. Of course, you are free to do the swim however you chose, but you will never have the respect of the marathon swimming community unless your swim is well documented and you closely follow English Channel rules. Why leave the door open for others to come along and be able to say “he used a wetsuit and shark cage so I am really the first” or “she rested on the boat at night which is a staged swim so I am numero uno.”
Of course, I also recommend doing the following so you are fully credited for your performance while quieting the naysayers.
- Hire a reputable captain, boat and crew who have done channel crossings previously
- Publicly announce the rules you will be following beforehand
- Invite credible observers who have strong reputations and are well known within the marathon swimming community. The observers should not be close friends. They should be people who will put your safety above all else, follow the rules of marathon swimming and certify your swim. They should be strong minded individuals who are not afraid to disqualify you if necessary.
- Make sure you have enough observers to watch your entire swim. In other words, if you are going to do a swim which could take 24+ hours, you should have 3 observers who are all working 8 hour shifts. You should not have eyes taken off of you for even 15 seconds.
- Document, Document, Document. Insist on a detailed observer report, maps, current reports, logs and nautical charts. Your course should be plotted along a map which shows positioning. You should also have plenty of video. This is your proof which you want to be able to stand the test of time.
- Insist that every person who is on the boat list their name, sign and date the observer report.
- Take a group picture with every person on the boat.
- Immediately make all documentation public upon conclusion of your event
Please take the time to do it right and enjoy the credit you deserve for a lifetime.