Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Ironman Announces Changes to Rules Regarding Swimwear at IM and 70.3

Credit to Triathlete Europe

The World Triathlon Corporation (WTC) have today announced a series of changes to swimwear rules affecting both Ironman and Ironman 70.3 races. Although these rule changes only apply to races in the US at the moment, you have to suppose there’s a good chance that this change in regulations will be implemented in Europe and the rest of the world as well.

Full Press Release Below:

World Triathlon Corporation (WTC), owners of the Ironman and Ironman 70.3 Series, announces modifications to several rules and regulations relating to the swim at U.S. races. Effective September 1, 2010, which is the start of Ironman’s 2011 competition season, new rules for apparel and wetsuits will apply at all Ironman and 70.3 events in the U.S., including both World Championships. The amendments were made to further standardize rules in the Ironman/70.3 Series and ensure a fair playing field at events around the globe.

The changes will include the following:

• Swimwear and swim apparel must be comprised of 100 percent textile material, such as nylon or lycra, and may not include rubberized material such as polyurethane or neoprene. Swimwear may not cover the neck or extend past the shoulders or knees. Swimwear may contain a zipper. A race kit or trisuit may be worn underneath swimwear.

• Wetsuits cannot measure more than 5 millimeters thick.

• Wetsuits may be worn in water temperatures up to and including 24.5 degrees Celsius/76.1 degrees Fahrenheit. Athletes who choose to wear a wetsuit in water temperatures exceeding 24.5 degrees C /76.1 degrees F will not be eligible for awards, including World Championship slots. Wetsuits will be prohibited in water temperatures greater than 28.8 degrees C/84 degrees F.

Ironman recognizes the importance of showcasing the competitive element at all events. We believe these amendments place more emphasis on performance and function and less on technology, therefore staying true with the Ironman spirit,” says Ironman’s Head of Officials, Jimmy Riccitello.

Ironman’s rule changes are consistent with rule changes adopted by swimming and triathlon’s international governing bodies, FINA and ITU, respectively.

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I think this is great. Floatation in the swim is out. Rules are more like FINA and ITU. You can try to argue with me all day about "technology", but I don't buy this. This is not about technology use or misuse. This is about making sure the competition is about athlete versus athlete rather than tech suit versus super NASA tech suit.

Swimming, unlike cycling, is NOT a high tech sport. Equipment is, well, your equipment. At least it should be.

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