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Rolling wave starts, worst idea ever or ..?
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At IM 70.3 Switzerland this was introduced this year. Previously it was AG wave start each wave starting as a mass start.

This year rolling within each AG with self seeding, 4 at the time with approximately 5s intervals.

As FOP swimmer I thought it is going to be a total cluster f**k, since basically the entire course was filled with swimmers (we were the last AG). I was surprised it didnt actually feel that bad during the swim, even though I did catch up with the previous wave some 300m into the swim instead of closer to 1k. Maybe it was more nicely spread out.

However, my time was more than 2 minutes slower than last year and by more than a minute my slowest ever. Based on pool times, this should not be the case, so somehow this constant passing made me settle for a slower pace or something....

Any similar experiences? Does such start make the swim more comfy if you are MOP or BOP ?
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Re: Rolling wave starts, worst idea ever or ..? [markko] [ In reply to ]
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Rolling start within Age Group waves? Yikes. I can understand why, but doesn't seem to make sense.

Rolling starts based just off swim times are much better.

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Re: Rolling wave starts, worst idea ever or ..? [markko] [ In reply to ]
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This swim start format was used at Hawaii 70.3 earlier this month after previously advertising a rolling start. I'm a BOP swimmer and a FOP cyclist. I didn't like the overtaking waves of swimmers behind me, but the bike wasn't much different than what I deal with during the regular rolling start.
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Re: Rolling wave starts, worst idea ever or ..? [markko] [ In reply to ]
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I don't really see the advantage in doing a rolling start within age groups versus one big rolling start that includes everyone but having done both on more than one occasion each, I've found them both preferable to a mass start. I'm MOP overall, with the swim being my weakest discipline.
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Re: Rolling wave starts, worst idea ever or ..? [markko] [ In reply to ]
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I don't know about the swim, but that race is on my Swiss 'to-do' list. I've checked off Powerman Zofingen and IM Zurich. I doubt I'll be able to run up those steps all the way, but I will try.
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Re: Rolling wave starts, worst idea ever or ..? [Brandes] [ In reply to ]
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Brandes wrote:
Rolling start within Age Group waves? Yikes. I can understand why, but doesn't seem to make sense.

Why? I can't think of any good reason. You can't race someone "first to the line" if they start 5 minutes ahead or behind me and you'd still have to deal w/ BOP swimming in the AGs that start ahead of you. Seems like a worst of both worlds.

Brandes wrote:
Rolling starts based just off swim times are much better.
This makes much more sense to be swimming with people close to your own speed.
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Re: Rolling wave starts, worst idea ever or ..? [mgreer] [ In reply to ]
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The reason for any rolling start is safety, if its within an AG or based off swim time... is one more safe then the other? Absolutely. I didn't say i agree with a rolling start within AGs I just said i understand why they would over a traditional wave start.

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Re: Rolling wave starts, worst idea ever or ..? [mgreer] [ In reply to ]
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And lets be serious here. There really isn't much "racing" going on in 70.3. There may be in the upper % but in reality that type of racing doesn't exist. Its very apparent that IM doesnt really care about anything outside # of participants so lets get prepared to see much more rolling starts. You do what you do and it will place you where it does.



mgreer wrote:
Brandes wrote:
Rolling start within Age Group waves? Yikes. I can understand why, but doesn't seem to make sense.

Why? I can't think of any good reason. You can't race someone "first to the line" if they start 5 minutes ahead or behind me and you'd still have to deal w/ BOP swimming in the AGs that start ahead of you. Seems like a worst of both worlds.

Brandes wrote:
Rolling starts based just off swim times are much better.

This makes much more sense to be swimming with people close to your own speed.

Inside The Big Ring Podcast

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Re: Rolling wave starts, worst idea ever or ..? [Brandes] [ In reply to ]
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Brandes wrote:
Rolling starts based just off swim times are much better.

I cannot agree more.


Rolling starts make for slow, slow times if you are medium to fast swimmer.

And rolling swim starts and "time trial" swim starts are also fundamentally unsafe

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Re: Rolling wave starts, worst idea ever or ..? [markko] [ In reply to ]
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How were the fastest times of the pros compared to last year, just comparing your time is useless unless you know if the courses were similar...
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Re: Rolling wave starts, worst idea ever or ..? [Brandes] [ In reply to ]
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I think the reason is (pure speculation), they wanted a rolling start, but the swim entry is quite tight and there is not really enough space for people to arrange themselves for a rolling start with the total number of athletes (2600 ?).

To me it is also worst of both worlds, but it was not as bad as I feared, except the time of course.
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Re: Rolling wave starts, worst idea ever or ..? [monty] [ In reply to ]
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monty wrote:
How were the fastest times of the pros compared to last year, just comparing your time is useless unless you know if the courses were similar...

Pro's had a same system as last year, ie wave mass start from water. Times were similar as far as I looked.
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Re: Rolling wave starts, worst idea ever or ..? [HuffNPuff] [ In reply to ]
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HuffNPuff wrote:
I don't know about the swim, but that race is on my Swiss 'to-do' list. I've checked off Powerman Zofingen and IM Zurich. I doubt I'll be able to run up those steps all the way, but I will try.

I like the race, the area is very nice, its located in a ice-hockey venue, so locker rooms etc. are available, it is "downtown", there is even a zoo next door for kids. Bike course is nice and tough and run goes through town.

Those stairs are not that long, but better be careful in them, if not falling on your face, you can certainly cramp up pretty easy with such change in the middle of the run.
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Re: Rolling wave starts, worst idea ever or ..? [markko] [ In reply to ]
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So I just had a look at the pro times and they are not really the same as last year. Kind of a mixed bag really, looks like the lead men were only about 30 or so seconds slower than last year, and then you have Ryf who won both years races and went 2 minutes slower than last year in the swim.

So some or most of your time differential could just be from a slower(or longer)course. That is why before you ever do any comparisons, you need to go back and check the winning swims in the pro divisions. They are the best indicator of what went on in the water that particular day..Then you can overlay that onto your times and have a decent base in which to make comparisons now..
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Re: Rolling wave starts, worst idea ever or ..? [DarkSpeedWorks] [ In reply to ]
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DarkSpeedWorks wrote:
Brandes wrote:
Rolling starts based just off swim times are much better.


I cannot agree more.


Rolling starts make for slow, slow times if you are medium to fast swimmer.

And rolling swim starts and "time trial" swim starts are also fundamentally unsafe

Why are they unsafe?
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Re: Rolling wave starts, worst idea ever or ..? [SBRcoffee] [ In reply to ]
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SBRcoffee wrote:
DarkSpeedWorks wrote:
Brandes wrote:
Rolling starts based just off swim times are much better.


I cannot agree more.


Rolling starts make for slow, slow times if you are medium to fast swimmer.

And rolling swim starts and "time trial" swim starts are also fundamentally unsafe.


Why are they unsafe?

Rather then having a seeded or self-seeded swim start (one that is seeded by swim ability of course), the rolling start has much faster swimmers starting behind many many groups of much slower swimmers. The result? The slower swimmers are getting swum over (often literally swum OVER) by much faster swimmers during the entire swim leg. Crazy and totally unsafe.

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Re: Rolling wave starts, worst idea ever or ..? [markko] [ In reply to ]
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I really like the several-second rolling wave starts.

I'm a MOP swimmer, so I'm constantly dealing with the giant pack of similar-speeded swimmers in every race that make it annoyingly difficult to swim at full pace since I'm constantly getting boxed in or pushed to the sides (I'm perfectly fine at OWS - I'm just not fast enough to outpace 90% of the field on the swim to get totally free until late.) Having the rolling sendoffs every 5sec greatly reduces that huge MOP mass of bodies that are all swimming around 1:45-1:55/100m in OWS, which is a really, really big group of guys. I don't mind swimming with/around bodies - it's getting locked into a giant mass of bodies that you literally can't move at pace through, for 100+m that is seriously annoying.

I however could see how a typical FOP or FFOP swimmer would be annoyed at this format though, as they obviously will have a lot more people to swim through, and also lose the obvious front group of good swimmers to draft off of the entire way, as well as the fun of dropping 90% of the field in the first 200m. Def less clear water for the fishies as a result.
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Re: Rolling wave starts, worst idea ever or ..? [DarkSpeedWorks] [ In reply to ]
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DarkSpeedWorks wrote:
SBRcoffee wrote:
DarkSpeedWorks wrote:
Brandes wrote:
Rolling starts based just off swim times are much better.


I cannot agree more.


Rolling starts make for slow, slow times if you are medium to fast swimmer.

And rolling swim starts and "time trial" swim starts are also fundamentally unsafe.


Why are they unsafe?


Rather then having a seeded or self-seeded swim start (one that is seeded by swim ability of course), the rolling start has much faster swimmers starting behind many many groups of much slower swimmers. The result? The slower swimmers are getting swum over (often literally swum OVER) by much faster swimmers during the entire swim leg. Crazy and totally unsafe.

Sorry, I'm probably being thick......
But for example, I believe the Tremblant 70.3 this coming weekend is an 'all age group rolling start' (as stated in the race guide). Doesn't that mean that you do in fact seed yourself based on ability, thus you'd be behind the faster swimmers?
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Re: Rolling wave starts, worst idea ever or ..? [SBRcoffee] [ In reply to ]
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I have no idea how Wanda / WTC does it. If they offer a true swim ability seeded start (even if it is a rolling start), that is awesome. But I doubt that they do that.

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Re: Rolling wave starts, worst idea ever or ..? [DarkSpeedWorks] [ In reply to ]
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I think there's some inconsistencies in the terminology being used.

I agree that a free-for-all rolling start could result in what you're talking about, but I've never seen a time-trial or rolling start where that's been the case. They've all been a self-seeded fastest enter the water first and slowest enter last. My experience is that this generally works pretty well and is generally my preference. I've been at some races where there's an "elite mass start" followed by a swim speed seeded TT start.

The idea of ordering the rolling or TT by any method other than swim time (whether this is by AG or date of registration or random or something else) seems to me to have no positives.

The alternatives being a mass start (all males start at once or everyone starts at one depending on the size of the race) or an wave start (all M40-44 start together, then 5 minutes later all M45-49 start then....).
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Re: Rolling wave starts, worst idea ever or ..? [SBRcoffee] [ In reply to ]
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At IM Madison 70.3 a couple of weekends ago, it was a swim speed based rolling start. They had people with signs with different expected swim times and people grouped up around. All self seeded. At the race start, it was 1 by 1 into the water every 1-2 seconds. My experience there was people were pretty good about realistically seeding themselves.

They also made a big point that you would get a DNF if you didn't finish 1:10 after you entered the water regardless of when you started to swim and not 1:10 after the last person entered the water.
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Re: Rolling wave starts, worst idea ever or ..? [DarkSpeedWorks] [ In reply to ]
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I have had the fastest amateur swims at many WTC events.

My swims times are fastest for rolling starts, 2nd fastest for age group waves and slowest for mass starts.

There IS a slingshot that can be achieved by swimming past slower swimmers.

It is true that time can be lost swimming around large clumps of slow swimmers.
(This is worst with age group wave starts).

But why bother swimming around?
Just swim right through the clump and over the top of the individuals. (Slow swimmers (in bunches) don't own the race. If the didn't want to get bumped around, they wouldn't be swimming slowly up the center of the course in large groups).
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Re: Rolling wave starts, worst idea ever or ..? [Velocibuddha] [ In reply to ]
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Velocibuddha wrote:
Just swim right through the clump and over the top of the individuals. (Slow swimmers (in bunches) don't own the race.


Yes, I have seen this many many times.

Effective for you? Perhaps if a fast time is your only goal.

But is it safe or decent for the slower swimmers? (fyi, slower swimmers who are not in any way at fault, they were forced to start ahead by the race organizers.)

Nope.

That is why I say these type of starts are inherently unsafe. And I am not a slower swimmer, but I want this sport to flourish. Being literally swum over by 10-30 swimmers in a race is can easily force a beginner, tentative, and/or slower athlete to throw in the towel with this sport. Or possibly drowned.

And where does that get us?

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Last edited by: DarkSpeedWorks: Jun 19, 17 12:14
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Re: Rolling wave starts, worst idea ever or ..? [markko] [ In reply to ]
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I was at the Hawaii 70.3 race this year where they used rolling age group starts. I've done the race 8 times, so I've seen everything in the swim, from one mass start to separate mass starts for men and women, to age group starts, and now this.

This was for me by far the best experience, not just in the swim but also on the bike - it really spread the field out such that I saw next-to-no drafting. I'm a MOP swimmer (31-minute best in a HIM, usually more like 33-37 depending on course, wetsuit).

The only downside was sometimes I caught *very* slow swimmers who take a lot of space in the water (breast-stroke kicking, etc), but in Hawaii they're pretty easy to avoid both because of the spread-out field and the very clear water, which makes them easy to spot.

My 2 cents. I'd definitely like to see it again in that particular race.

Ian
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Re: Rolling wave starts, worst idea ever or ..? [monty] [ In reply to ]
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In dont disagree, but Ryf is hurt and out of shape, relatively speaking. Her run and bike times are also way off. She normally beats me by 10 mins on the bike, this time I was faster. She's been my reference, we've both done the race 4 times.
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