N.Y.C. triathlon adds swim requirement after deaths
December 16th, 2011
10:21 AM ET

N.Y.C. triathlon adds swim requirement after deaths

Editor's note: CNN's Fit Nation Triathlon Challenge athletes have competed in the New York City Triathlon for the past two years. All of CNN's athletes crossed the finish line in 2011 without incident. In 2012, the newest group of athletes will compete in the Nautica Malibu Triathlon instead, because of the earlier scheduled date of the New York City Triathlon. Want to be a part of CNN's team? Submit your video here by December 19!

Organizers of the New York City Triathlon announced this week that they will add an open-water swimming waiver to their registration process for next year's race. The move comes after two athletes died during the swim portion of the 2011 triathlon.

"Swimming in the open water is different than swimming in a pool or taking a bath," said John Korff, the race's director. "Anybody who's jumping in the river has to have done this once or twice, so they're ready to jump in there."

The race will require applicants to sign a waiver stating that they've swum at least a half-mile in open water in the preceding 18 months, or will swim the distance before race day. They'll be asked to sign another waiver the day before the race, indicating that they've completed the requirement.

The race takes place in a nearly one-mile stretch of the Hudson River, between 82nd and 99th streets. Korff says swimmers often count on the river's stiff current to help improve their swim time, but it's important to make clear that just because the swim leg is "fast" doesn't mean it's easy.

"A lot of people will, if they haven't swam in open water, they get to the Hudson, and they'll start to panic," he says. "We want people to know that you can't just put on a wetsuit, lay on your back and float."

Few, if any, amateur-level triathlons require participants to prove they've done any training, and Korff realizes that policing a requirement like this would be impossible. But he says he's counting on the athletes' sense of responsibility.

"We're relying on people to be honest about it," he says. "Everybody in this race is an adult. They all understand the need for safety."

soundoff (16 Responses)
  1. Nancy Toby

    Unworkable CYA move. It will have zero effect on tachycardia/hyperventilation episodes, mostly a physiological reaction to sudden cold water immersion without an in-water warmup before the start.

    December 17, 2011 at 08:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. cristina

    -Hola soy de Argentina --–quisiera saber como hacer para anotarme en el triatlon-de cnn -y podria ser factible ya q soy desde lejos--no siesto es lugar indicado para hacerlo -–pero lo intento ...Desde ya muchas Gracias Cristina

    December 17, 2011 at 12:16 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jeanette

      Por Cristina en Argentina –


      Perdon, porque o no escrito bien en Espanol, pero esta una cita con informacion de triathlons en Sud America. Mucha gente en todo del mundo puede participar en triathlons. Buena suerte!

      January 9, 2012 at 03:01 | Report abuse |
  3. larry5

    All they need to do is have qualifying events and shorter distances and include an open water qualifier. When I ran Boston I had to run a qualifying event to get in. With this in place people that should not be their will either no go or fail the qualifier.

    December 18, 2011 at 07:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. silent bob

    I cant have a happy christmas Now

    December 19, 2011 at 08:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. elijah carr

    rrngkfrnkg pronably this is sad very sad

    December 19, 2011 at 08:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Penis

    i bet there penis were cold

    December 19, 2011 at 08:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. tommy olena

    they all dead

    December 19, 2011 at 08:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. ChiTriAthlete

    I have always wondered why if you can not swim you would enter one of these events. If you couldn't ride a bike, would you do one? Every single triathlon that I have participated in there are people struggling to even float – the freaking out in open water is a whole other beast. Combine the 2 and you have a disaster. Good for NYC!

    December 19, 2011 at 18:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Dtlc

    Is there such a word as swum? I thought the word was swam.

    December 19, 2011 at 22:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. AlwaysTri

    DTLC- It's "have/had swum" or simply "swam". Both are past-tense, but they're distinguished by the preceding words.

    So, "He swam a mile last week" or "He would have swum a mile" are both correct.

    December 20, 2011 at 10:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. drew

    Ex New York City Police officers collecting a disability pension can still compete, no problem there.

    December 22, 2011 at 22:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Mike

    I love the emphasis on WAIVER.
    They don't actually care if anyone dies, they just want to limit their legal liability.
    Isn't That Special ?

    January 7, 2012 at 02:34 | Report abuse | Reply
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    If you need some fitness supplements to help your training visit http://www.rfsupplements.com

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