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Challenge Roth to ban swim drafting

German race seeks to ensure athletes don't drink too much water during the swim

Photo by: Kevin Mackinnon

According to a post from the organizers of Challenge Roth, the world’s largest full-distance event, athletes will have to swim 4.5 m behind the competitor ahead of them at Challenge Roth this year.

“Many athletes have come to us and complained that they swallowed a lot of water while swimming,” organizers wrote on Instagram. “In order to avoid athletes having to deal with additional waves from the person swimming directly in front of them, we will respond to this. For this reason, there will be a mandatory distance of 4.5 meters (roughly the size of a kayak) when swimming in the @challengeroth.”

Competitors will also be fitted with Race Ranger devices that will signal when an athlete is swimming too close.

“If someone is caught drafting in the water, the penalty must be served at a specially installed penalty buoy directly in the water,” the statement continues. “Out of a duty of care, we will hand out a swimming noodle on request. Our aim is to significantly reduce the amount of water swallowed so that the amount of water in the canal is not unnecessarily reduced.”

It should come as no surprise that today’s announcement is dated April 1.