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How Swimrun went from an adventure to a sport

In line with any new sport development, most of the times the sport starts as an adventure, an idea and a concept of just having fun.

But before you know it, the sport, if successful, places itself together with many other sports under the umbrella of rules, regulations, clubs, sponsorship and price money – $$$

Enter competition, enter rivalry.

Then what happens to the soul, the team spirit, the camaraderie in the community, and will to support and give credit to one another – the way swimrun has always been, or at least was before?

We have previously covered the development in the world, how swimrun slowly but steadily has been drawn towards big organisations and federations, not the least in France, today the leading swimrun country in the World.

Below is a post from our French friends on this very topic, and the original you can find below, written by “akunamatata mba” (a.k.a Jean Marie Gueye) :

/The WoS Team

Stop à la dénaturation du swimrun


Stop the denaturation of the swimrun

The French Triathlon Federation (FFTri) is not only responsible for the triathlon. Thus it oversees many sports with chained disciplines such as raid, bike & run, crosstriathlon etc … and the latest comer: the swimrun. The FFTri officially requested and received the delegation of the Ministry of Youth and Sports at the beginning of 2017 for the management of swimruns. The reasons for such an early integration of swimrun, which only appeared in France in 2015, in the bosom of the FFTri remain obscure.

The swimrun

The swimrun, if it looks like a series of swimming and running parts, is fundamentally something other than the addition of two ingredients such as a mixed phase vinaigrette sauce. The swimrun is a mixture, where swimming and running dissolve in an intimate way, thus forming a single discipline in its own right, homogeneous.

The name of the term “swimrun” took a long time to emerge in Sweden, the term Swim & Run, with the too marked dichotomy, was carefully avoided. [the term was coined by Erika Rosenbaum in 2011 and adopted by the organizers of the ÖtillÖ circuit]

where does the swimrun start, in water or on land?

It took several years of maturation for the Swimrun to take off in Sweden. Michael Lemmel, the designer of the ÖtillÖ circuit with Mats Skott since 2006 (see their ITW in 2018: here and Michael’s video there ), underlines that the swimrun became a real sport when the pairs were able to adopt a “fluid transition” between swimming and running: no more changing equipment, no more stopping at the shore, nothing but movement… Like the shore, where does the swimrun begin, in water or on land?

In 2011 Erika Rosenbaum coined the word “swimrun”, and it immediately stood out as the best description of the activity. One and the same discipline, united teams in constant movement in nature.

swimrun binomial

swimrun DNA

You have well understood the DNA of the swimrun is much finer than the basic “individual discipline” bricks. It is movement, it is autonomy, it is mutual aid.

1st French Swimrun Championship… clubs

In the logic of a sports federation, the FFTri is launching the creation of the first French Swimrun Championship which will finally take place at the Emeraude Swimrun in Saint Lunaire on September 12, 2020 (instead of the Côte d’Azur swimrun initially planned). Some conditions of participation are classic, such as having a license with the FFTri. However, others have raised questions about the ignorance of the practice of swimrun: the pair must be from the same club affiliated to the FFtri * and the pair must declare their classification name under the colors of their affiliated club.

The vast majority of current swimrunner teams are built on affinities of character or circumstances rather than club logic

These last points are very far from the reality on the ground, where the vast majority of swimrunner teams are built on affinities of characters or circumstances rather than a club logic. In addition, many swimrunner athletes escape the geographic network of triathlon clubs. De facto the “club pair” condition propels this 1st French Swimrun Championship into a 1st French Club Championship leaving out the vast majority of practitioners and exclusively favoring triathlon clubs.
Such a decision on the part of the FFTri leaves us perplexed. Why not have included the Raid regulations ( where the notion of club in team building does not intervene in their French championships?

Is co-construction an idea that has had its day?

When we participated, as a member of the Swimrun France association, in the co-construction of the RTS (technical safety rules) at the very beginning of the delegation process, the FFTri presented us with the integration of the raid federation. for example. Why not come back to this spirit before the still fragile legitimacy of the FFTri wanders towards a fate similar to the FFA in trail running?

Extract below from the French Raid Championship regulations

2.2 The teams / team -A team is a grouping of athletes from the same club, different clubs or individual license holders. Each team is free to compose its team as it wishes, with the agreement of the athletes. The Federation does not intervene in the composition of teams, nor in the arbitration of riders who have run for other teams on the heats. The runners are sovereign to validate their participation in a team

Regulations for national events 2020

2.9 French SwimRun Championship (extract)
The French Championship takes place in the M and L formats during the same event M: distance specified between 16 and 20 km – (16 km> steep drop – 20 km> Low drop ) L: distance specified between 30 and 35 km – (30 km> steep drop – 35 km> Low drop)
Depending on the number of participants, the championships will take place in 1, 2 or 3 waves separating the women’s, mixed and men’s teams.
Access to the competition
The championships are accessible to FFTRI licensees. juniors, seniors and veterans, competition licensees (License validated at the time of registration)
The teams are made up of licensees from the same club.The name of the team will be the name of the club. In the event that several teams from the same club participate, a serial number will be specified at registration. As it is a club team, the license holders may be of different nationalities.
Categories and Ranking
Rankings only in all categories (all age categories combined), 3 rankings per championship:
● Women ● Mixed ● Men
Or 3 titles per championship and therefore 6 titles in total.
The winners of the individual ranking of the FFTRI Swimrun challenge. of year n-1 will be invited with the teammate of their choice, from the same club, to the French M championship. The registration fee for the race will be paid by the organizer of the championship.


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