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4626 Views 5 Replies Latest reply: Jul 5, 2010 6:27 PM by KK74 RSS
2old2run Rookie 1 posts since
Jul 26, 2007
Currently Being Moderated

Jul 26, 2007 12:39 PM

Sprint Triathlon - Swimming

 

I'm beginning to train for a sprint triathlon. Is it allowable/ok/acceptable/recommended to do the back stroke along with swimming freestyle?

 

 

  • hangliderchica Amateur 11 posts since
    Jul 23, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    1. Jul 26, 2007 2:11 PM (in response to 2old2run)
    Re: Sprint Triathlon - Swimming

    Acceptable/allowable, yes.  Advisable - maybe, depending on the race.  The problem with backstroke is that you can't spot up to see where you're going (or whether you're about to run over the swimmer ahead of you).  If you're a weaker swimmer and need to flip to your back for a bit to rest, by all means people do that and are allowed to do so.  In longer races, I even sometimes flip on my back for a few seconds to check how far people are behind me... If you can comfortably finish the sprint swim without backstroke, don't use it.  If you're doing a pool swim, also, don't use it because you will likely run into the person in front of you.  I would not advise long periods of backstroke in a short race simply because you can't see where you're going.  If you're swimming in an area with waves, personally I've found it harder to manage backstroke than freestyle when getting rocked by waves.  However, if you're just using it for a few seconds of rest from freestyle, go for it, as long as you're not in a crowded pool.

  • IronPanda Rookie 1 posts since
    Jul 26, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    2. Jul 26, 2007 2:14 PM (in response to 2old2run)
    Re: Sprint Triathlon - Swimming

    Yep.  You're allowed to do anything except be propelled by another person or vehicle.  You can backstroke, breaststroke, float, hold onto a buoy, hold onto a kayak, so long as it doesn't move you. 

     

    From the ITU rulebook: 

    "*

    General Rules

     

    *

     

    a) Competitors may use any stroke to propel themselves through the water. They

     

     

    may also tread water or float;

     

     

    b) A competitor may stand on the bottom or rest by holding an inanimate object

     

     

    such as a buoy or stationary boat;

     

     

    c) A competitor may not make use inanimate objects to gain an advantage;

     

     

    d) In an emergency, a competitor should raise an arm overhead and call for

     

     

    assistance. Once official assistance is rendered, the competitor must retire

     

    from the competition."

     

    From the USAT rulebook: 

    *+

    "Swimming Conduct

     

    +

    4.1 Permissible Strokes. Swimmers may use any stroke to propel themselves through the water and may tread

     

    *

     

    water or float.

     

    *

    4.2 Bottom Contact and Resting. A participant may stand on the bottom or rest by holding an inanimate object

     

    *

     

    such as a buoy, boat, rope or floating object. Excluding the bottom, a participant shall not use any inanimate object

     

     

    to gain forward progress. A violation of this section shall result in a variable time penalty, unless the Head Referee

     

     

    in his/her sole discretion determines that the violation was substantial and resulted in an unfair time advantage, or

     

     

    (ii) the violation constituted endangerment under Section 3.4(1)."

     

     

  • T3charlie Community Moderator 79 posts since
    Jul 9, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    3. Jul 26, 2007 3:24 PM (in response to 2old2run)
    Re: Sprint Triathlon - Swimming

     

    Anecdotally, I have been outswum by a female backstroker in a Sprint event before.  That's saying something as I'm a fast swimmer, so it was laughably embarassing...

     

     

     

    I believe it's quite acceptable and useful to supplement longer swims with stroke variants.  That being said, at a Sprint distance in open water (I'm assuming this race will be so and not in a pool) I would HIGHLY recommend breaststroke rather than back.  It is very difficult to sight a line on your back and you run the risk of disturbing other racers if you aren't aware of what you are swimming into.  I've used breaststroke on olympic and 70.3 races before as a "breather" and believe that's the way to go.  Good luck!

     

    Xraytriguy

     

     

     

  • jinja Expert 42 posts since
    Jul 22, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    4. Jul 26, 2007 9:34 PM (in response to 2old2run)
    Re: Sprint Triathlon - Swimming

    I can't imagine why someone would want to do backstroke in a triathlon swim, but it is allowable.  I would recommend freestyle and breast stroke though.  When you are in the water with so many people swimming around you and arms flailing everywhere, you would be less vulnerable to getting smacked in the face if your face was facing forward and downward.

  • KK74 Amateur 38 posts since
    May 19, 2009
    Currently Being Moderated
    5. Jul 5, 2010 6:27 PM (in response to jinja)
    Re: Sprint Triathlon - Swimming

    This is all very good. Hubby is doing his second sprint tri, but first going to actually finish it. Swimming is his weakest so it was great to learn of the rules even though I told him that as long as he's swimming then he's okay. 5 weeks to go

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