Swimrun development in the world is going at a fast rate and now Germany is next in line for some major revisions and formalisations, as you will see below.
The major question now is if swimrun is about to suffer the same fate as triathlon, with a formalised structure and specific rules and regulations under a major federation, and with a stand-alone private and parallel organisation like the Ironman?
2020 might be the year when we get this question answered.
/The WoS Team
Since January 2020, as in France some years ago (FFTRI), the Sport SwimRun in Germany has also been added in the triathlon association.
The “hurray” and enthusiasm about it is split. While some athletes and organizers are happy about it, the majority however is not very enthusiastic.
Under the German Triathlon Union (Deutsche Triathlon Union, DTU), official championships can now be held at state and federal level. There are already first state championships in the state of Niedersachsen. Fine, but how many Swimrunner are there at all?
Some organizers expect more participants through these championships or league competitions. SwimRun really needs an increase in the number of starters in Germany, but should all of them be triathletes?
Uniform regulations (Abschnitt 19: SwimRun), should make it easier for new organizers to organize high-quality races. But how much regulation does SwimRun actually need? As common in Germany there exists a huge document of rules and regulations how to act in every single situation – weather, water temperature, nature itself.
Communication with the already existing races and their organizers was poor on the part of the DTU. They made the decision to include SwimRun without first contacting them. We – the organizers of the most SwimRun races in Germany – heard about it through rumours and hearsay and tried to find a step towards the DTU. That, in turn, went very well and openly. We were given the opportunity to play a key role in developing the sporting regulations and to protect our sport as far as possible. Again, the question – why do we need a sporting regulation at all? SwimRun is a sport of free spirits and nature lovers that gets by with a few simple rules.
Now SwimRun in Germany is a subject to the triathlon sporting regulations. There are many exceptions and modifications that make the whole thing more complicated than simple. We therefore also ask the DTU why SwimRun cannot get its own regulations, parallel to the triathlon, instead of being included as a subspecies. We are looking forward to the answer.
The first approval procedures are ongoing. Organizers of already existing races should apply in writing and ask for permission for their events. Fees are to be raised – depending on the size of the race and the number of participants. For that the event organizers get judges. About doping or adhering the 10m rule it makes sense, but how do the judges want to travel over a SwimRun route such as Allgäu SwimRun or even ÖtillÖ 1000 Lakes?
Are we as organizers obliged to be approved as a SwimRun Event by the DTU? No, we aren’t. But if a DTU athlete participates in an unapproved race he may be banned from all triathlon events. Is that legal? Even if not the proceeding may be long for more than one competition season. Which triathlon athlete will take that risk? And which organizer will take the risk of less participants as well?
A lot of the organizers in Germany are not happy about the takeover of SwimRun in the DTU. We would like to see our sport freely, e.g. is trail running. After all, SwimRun is not “a triathlon without a bike”, but rather “trail running on water and land”. But unfortunately, we missed the time. Now it is a matter of finding a good consensus in communication with the DTU.
Photo: Robert Krampczyk, vitaminberge.de