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Kayakers at Nation's Tri - How many needed?
CREATED: 09/16/09 by rmacalpine REPLIES: 1
rmacalpine    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 15
Kayakers at Nation's Tri - How many needed?
POSTED: 9/16/09 6:30 PM

Articles being mentioned in other discussions.

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The comments at the end of the article mentioned by Dave Biss brings up an interesting question:

What is an acceptable ratio of kayak supporters to swimmers in a triathlon?

Last Saturday we had about 20 kayekers to about 4000 swimmers. That's a ratio of 1 kayayer to 200 swimmers. Is this enough? What do people think?


Article in The Examiner, September 15, 2009
"Kayakers among the hundreds supporting Nation’s Triathlon in Washington, DC"


Tommy Kitty's biggest fan says:
I have to agree with TK. Many thanks to the kayak support that was there. However, ss a participant, I felt there wasn't enough kayak support given the number of inexperienced swimmers. Luckily, disaster was avoided. Also, course was not well marked as in other races. Thanks TK for your cheers! It was purrrfect!
September 15, 5:34 PM

Charlie Limpet says:
I concur with Tommy Kitty that there needs to be additional support at water level. Clearly the swim poses the greatest potential risks of a tri and only 20 kayaks over a mile course spreads these well meaning but probably amateur rescuers too thin. Ive attended local clinics by the US Open Water Swimming Association that had as much support over a 500m course with only about 125 participants. Nations Tri is a fantastic event and and I would hate to see it canceled due to an avoidable tragedy.
September 15, 5:12 PM

Tommy Kitty says:
I agree with Jeanne . . . great article, Ed. As an observer watching the swim portion of Nation's from the Memorial bridge, I have to admit that I was shocked (and somewhat horrified) to see that there really weren't that many kayakers out there (as compared to other races I've been to (e.g., NJ State, NE). Those that volunteered certainly were needed, did a fantastic job, and deserve much credit -- but, I believe there's a dire need for more next year. Especially, if I'm going to actually participate!
September 15, 4:26 PM

jeanne says:
great story Ed. I haven't seen triathlon reported on from this angle before. I'm so very thankful to the kayakers, since I was one of those who was having a hard time in the first 100 meters, hung onto a kayak, and almost called it quits. But after a rest and a few encouraging words, I managed to finish. These volunteers perform a critically important function and can help nervous swimmers conquer their fears. Well done.
September 15, 4:09 PM

Matt Blakey
Yellow P&H Capella
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Joined: 23 Feb 2004
Posts: 287
Location: Falls Church, VA
Posted: Wed Sep 16, 2009 11:34 am    Post subject: Swimmers and kayakers

It is an interesting question and in my opinion the number of kayakers to swimmers varies with conditions, skill level, event type etc.

On Sunday, I pulled out/assisted more swimmers during a 1 mile swim in the Potomac than I ever had in the 4.4 mile Bay Swim. That is because people have to qualify for the Bay Swim and they are swimmers. Anyone with $125 can enter the triathlon. Often these people excell at running or biking but not necessarily swimming. Many have never swam in open water and, as the article pointed out, when they do they freak out.

I thought we had pretty good coverage on Sunday. Besides a few additional boaters I saw two things that could have been improved. First, there needed to be more jet skis to take swimmers from our kayaks to the resuce boats. There were several times I saw a swimmer in need but I was already dealing with two and waiting for a jet ski to come take them away.

Secondly, we can get more milage from the swim support paddlers we have if we patrol during the swim. What I mean is we should paddle up and back in a certain area rather than staying stationary in one spot. This allows you to see more, reach more people, and help delineate the race course if you are paddling along the edges of the course.

I wish that rather than complaining that there aren't enough kayakers maybe triathlon promoters and participants should think of ways to get out and practice in open water to less the "freak out" factor.

Anyway, that is a very long winded way of answering "it depends" to the question of "how many boaters to swimmers" question.
Cyndi J.
Paddling any number of boats ... Fast!

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To fairly quote the source, I found this on the Chesapeake Paddler's Association website.

rmacalpine    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 15
RE: Kayakers at Nation's Tri - How many needed?
POSTED: 9/16/09 6:44 PM

>Last Saturday we had about 20 kayekers to about 4000 swimmers. That's a ratio of 1 kayayer to 200 swimmers.

There would only be 4,000 swimmers in the water if they all started at the same time. This statement paints an inaccurate picture of the situation.

There are some pics of the swim posted here:

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