With an increase in deaths in the swimming portion in triathlons, Revolution3 is taking a proactive approach and taking new steps to ensure a greater safety and education for athletes and staff. Revolution3 has produced national triathlon events around the US since 2009 and has expanded to producing adventure racing and running events for 2013.
REV3 is increasing its training for staff, offering pre-event heart screenings and adding additional professional staff to its swim courses. They are also utilizing its years of events to tap the racing professional athletes for tips on open water swimming.
“Have you ever tried to rescue someone and perform CPR from a kayak? Not doable. Lifeguards need to be in a position to rescue if needed.” said REV3 founder Charlie Patten. “We want to educate both our athletes and staff and improve the safety as well as the experience at our races.”
REV3 will be prioritizing the recruitment of open water professionals for safety on the water, over certified pool lifeguards. The swim coordinator is also taking additional training and getting certifications for open water training. All other staff is also receiving enhanced training.
“Being proactive is a key in this growing sport. We are working with local cardiologists at each event to try and offer heart screening leading up to the event and during the expo,” Patten added. “Knowing about pre-existing conditions is key. If negative results are found, those athletes who feel the need to withdraw will be given a 100% refund.”
With the recent life loss at triathlons, many are questioning how prepared athletes are for triathlon events. In today’s world, there are many resources to be found when one decides to enter a triathlon.
Swimming adds a dimension to the athletic challenge in a triathlon, with running or biking if something doesn’t feel right, the athlete can stop, sit down. One of the popular answers when athletes are asked what their “plan” is if they are in trouble in the swim leg is “reach for a safety boat.”
Professional triathlete Cameron Dye had some sound advice for amateur athletes regarding the swim. “If you get uncomfortable or nervous, flip over on your back and do some back stroke until you calm down,” Dye said. “Know, don’t think that you can swim the race distance. Practice and prepare for the race, and this includes covering enough distance to KNOW you can make it.”
Triathlon allows a variety of abilities to race side by side. Typical triathlon waves are based on age, rather than on predicted time or ability.
“Have a starting spot that you are comfortable with, know the pace you want to start at, practice it. You don’t want to sprint when the gun goes off, if you haven’t practiced that pace before,” Matty Reed said. Reed is a professional triathlete of 18 years and a 2008 US Olympian.
Leading into each REV3 event, Malaika Homo, a professional athlete, will be writing a four-part series on swim safety and best practices. These articles will be posted on our website, disseminated via newsletters and will be included in the athlete guide for each and every race.
Again, education is key. To follow up on those articles, Homo will be holding a swim clinic before race day to go over some tactics that may help swimmers, beginners and experienced athletes.
“Always practice in your wetsuit before a race,” Reed added. “They can be restrictive and make you panic. You want to know exactly how you will feel in the suit prior to the race start. Wetsuits can change your body position as well which can make you feel very different.”
REV3 events vary in distance and for Patten, the diversity of competitors is growing.
“Triathlon is one, if not, the world’s fastest growing sport. Individuals are being introduced to the sport and enjoying it. With that comes a responsibility as a race director to educate the participants on how to prepare for a race, not just provide them a platform to participate,” Patten said.
For more information on REV3 events and clinics, www.rev3tri.com