This video was mentioned in another post, so here it is:
This would appear to violate both the letter and the spirit of the swim leg. Anyone racing NYC have a firsthand report?
That is some bitching current.
Nice current too. All you really need to do is float downstream - really need a noodle and a wetsuit?
This totally justifies my wanting to show up to the swim start with arm floaties and a rubber duckie tube.
I'll throw in a swim cap with lycra flowers sewn on.
He's one of my online tri acquaintances. He said that people can finish the 1500m "swim" on that course in under 30:00 just by floating. Maybe even faster this year. He has finished the NYC Tri in the past. He didn't participate this year because of an injury.
Clearly the pool noodle is an unauthorized flotation device. She should have been DQ'd. The field was very large, but you'd think that she would have been spotted at the swim start or at the swim finish. A pool noodle isn't as easy to hide as a pair of swim fins are. (The infamous "Fin Man" tried to get away with using fins at IM Florida a few years ago.)
Someone commented on the YouTube video that she was a paratriathlete. That could be verified by the swim cap color, I think. Even if she were a paratriathlete, would a pool noodle be appropriate? It still indicates that she couldn't swim. There are some very fast swimmers in the Paralympic Games. None of them use pool noodles, even the Chinese swimmer who was born without arms. (I was amazed to see on TV how fast he swam at the 2008 Paralympic Games.) Natalie du Toit of South Africa qualified for the regular 10K swim marathon Olympic event as an amputee. She had lost a lower leg after a car hit her while she was riding a scooter after a swim practice. She did so without using a pool noodle or any other flotation device.
Update: There were 3 swim waves with fluorescent green swim caps:
The pool noodle swimmer appeared to have a ponytail bunched up under the swim cap, so I think it's either the W 25-29 AG or the ParaTriathlete AG. (Some men have long hair, but not very many in most triathlons.)
Most of the other swimmers that were passing her had lt. blue and orange caps (both W 30-34). Those were the colors of the 2 waves after the W 25-29 AG. I also saw more ponytails under swim caps in the lt. blue and orange groups. The colors of the 2 waves after the Para AG were yellow and lt. purple (both M 45-49). So I'm going with W 25-29 and not a paratriathlete.
Thus, there was no acceptable reason for her to be using the pool noodle.
I guided a blind athlete in that race last year. Just as with able-bodied athletes, floatation devices are not legal for the para division. And yes... the current is crazy strong! You have to hold onto a rope for the in-water start or you'll get swept down river!
I guided a blind athlete in the race this year, and I can assure you it wasn't a paratriathlete with the noodle. There was an almost 30 minute break between the waves of women and the start of the para waves, so the course was completely cleared of age group women by the time the paratriathletes entered the water. The woman in the video with the noodle is clearly surrounded by age group women.
As noted, the current is incredibly fast. The course record is 9 minutes and some change.