Alcatraz Sharkfest

Discussion in 'General Fitness' started by Ross Bogue, Sep 26, 2003.

  1. Ross Bogue

    Ross Bogue Guest

    One small point for the wetsuit/non-wetsuit discussion:

    Last weekend Erica Rose won the Alcatraz Sharkfest open-water swim wearing a Speedo. That's not
    surprising. She could probably have won wearing a barrel - she's that good.

    The next 14 finishers were males wearing wetsuits. 29 of the 38 finishers under 30 minutes wore
    wetsuits. 132 of the 168 finishers under 35 minutes wore wetsuits. Overall, about 5/6 of the 800
    swimmers wore wetsuits.

    So how do you interpret those statistics? I don't know. If you consider only the top 10 finishers,
    then a disproportionate number (90%) wore wetsuits. But if you consider all 38 who finished under 30
    minutes, or all 168 who finished under 35 minutes, a slightly disproportionate number (24% and 21%,
    respectively) did not wear wetsuits.

    The race organizers clearly felt that there would be a difference, as they sorted the results into
    wetsuit and non-wetsuit divisions.

    Ross
     
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  2. >>So how do you interpret those statistics? I don't know. If you
    consider only the top 10 finishers, then a disproportionate number (90%) wore wetsuits. But if you
    consider all 38 who finished under 30 minutes, or all 168 who finished under 35 minutes, a slightly
    disproportionate number (24% and 21%, respectively) did not wear wetsuits.<<

    There is going to be a HUGE selection bias. I'd wager that the people not wearing wetsuits are,
    disproportionately, going to be the best swimmers.

    - Larry
     
  3. Ross Bogue

    Ross Bogue Guest

    In <[email protected]> Larry Weisenthal wrote:
    >
    > There is going to be a HUGE selection bias. I'd wager that the people not wearing wetsuits are,
    > disproportionately, going to be the best swimmers.

    Probably true. Certainly Rose would have been far and away the best swimmer present.

    Maybe we could ask everyone to swim the event twice, once without wetsuits and once with? Then
    we could look for a correlation between their times without wetsuits and their improvement
    with wetsuits.

    Ross
     
  4. Dakitty

    Dakitty Guest

    "Larry Weisenthal" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > >>So how do you interpret those statistics? I don't know. If you
    > consider only the top 10 finishers, then a disproportionate number (90%) wore wetsuits. But if you
    > consider all 38 who finished under 30 minutes, or all 168 who finished under 35 minutes, a
    > slightly disproportionate number (24% and 21%, respectively) did not wear wetsuits.<<
    >
    > There is going to be a HUGE selection bias. I'd wager that the people not wearing wetsuits are,
    > disproportionately, going to be the best swimmers.
    >
    > - Larry

    I think you're right.
     
  5. >>Maybe we could ask everyone to swim the event twice, once without
    wetsuits and once with? Then we could look for a correlation between their times without wetsuits
    and their improvement with wetsuits.<<

    Since you were kind enough to report on your results with "Larry's Kicking Challenge," the least I
    can do is to reciprocate with "Ross's Wetsuit Challenge."

    Hope that we can collect some useful data, analogous to the very interesting and useful data which
    was reported in the "Kicking Challenge."

    - Larry
     
  6. Swanger

    Swanger Guest

    "Ross Bogue" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > One small point for the wetsuit/non-wetsuit discussion:
    >
    > Last weekend Erica Rose won the Alcatraz Sharkfest open-water swim wearing a Speedo. That's not
    > surprising. She could probably have won wearing a barrel - she's that good.
    >
    > The next 14 finishers were males wearing wetsuits. 29 of the 38 finishers under 30 minutes wore
    > wetsuits. 132 of the 168 finishers under 35 minutes wore wetsuits. Overall, about 5/6 of the 800
    > swimmers wore wetsuits.
    >
    >
    > So how do you interpret those statistics? I don't know. If you consider only the top 10 finishers,
    > then a disproportionate number (90%) wore wetsuits. But if you consider all 38 who finished under
    > 30 minutes, or all 168 who finished under 35 minutes, a slightly disproportionate number (24% and
    > 21%, respectively) did not wear wetsuits.
    >
    > The race organizers clearly felt that there would be a difference, as they sorted the results into
    > wetsuit and non-wetsuit divisions.

    Having done the Alcatraz Sharfest Swim for a couple of years I would say that this swim probably
    attracts a disproportionate amount of triathletes who own wetsuits and, therefore, gain useful
    experience from swimming such a race in a wetsuit. A better race to compare is the same swim
    from Alcatraz organized by the Southend Rowing club. This swim club has a number of seasoned
    older school swimmers who have not only swam from Alcatraz 20,30,40 some over a 100 times, but
    also would never be caught dead in a wetsuit no matter how much more comfortable or faster it
    would make them. However, quite a few of them will use a wetsuit if competing in a triathlon
    where all of their competitors are using them, since there is not a "no wetsuit" division.
    Having said that, I don't think you would be able to draw any conclusions as far as wetsuits
    versus non-wetsuit for a swim only event. There are a numerous lot of wetsuited swimmers who are
    entering into swimming because wetsuits are what made a cold water swim, like Alcatraz,
    tolerable in the first place. Plenty of good swimmers who would wear a wetsuit for triathlons
    will decide not to, for swim only, in order to compete with other fast swimmers who basically
    want to see what they can do without the neoprene.

    Rick Swanger
     
  7. Gwydion

    Gwydion Guest

    Well, I've done the SERC Alcatraz swim both with and without a wetsuit. I was faster with the
    wetsuit by 1-2 minutes (no wetsuit, ~35 minutes; with wetsuit 33 and 34 minutes). Having said that,
    however, I don't think it's a highly valid comparison. First, every Alcatraz swim I have done has
    been different. The boat doesn't drop you off in exactly the same place, the
    tide/current/waves/conditions are never quite the same, etc. I'm also someone who has a weak kick
    and get an improved body position from the extra buoyancy.

    Larry Weisenthal wrote:
    >
    > >>Maybe we could ask everyone to swim the event twice, once without
    > wetsuits and once with? Then we could look for a correlation between their times without wetsuits
    > and their improvement with wetsuits.<<
    >
    > Since you were kind enough to report on your results with "Larry's Kicking Challenge," the least I
    > can do is to reciprocate with "Ross's Wetsuit Challenge."
    >
    > Hope that we can collect some useful data, analogous to the very interesting and useful data which
    > was reported in the "Kicking Challenge."
    >
    > - Larry
     
  8. M.W. Smith

    M.W. Smith Guest

    Ross Bogue wrote:
    > So how do you interpret those statistics?

    The water was cold.

    martin
     
  9. Ross Bogue <[email protected]> wrote:
    >So how do you interpret those statistics? I don't know. If you consider only the top 10 finishers,
    >then a disproportionate number (90%) wore wetsuits. But if you consider all 38 who finished under
    >30 minutes, or all 168 who finished under 35 minutes, a slightly disproportionate number (24% and
    >21%, respectively) did not wear wetsuits.

    You've merely proved that the fast swimmers that do Alcatraz without a wetsuit are locals from SERC
    and Dolphin who practice in those conditions every day. With the currents, chop, and the narrow
    entrance to the Aquatic Park, swimming ability is only a small piece of the equation. Familiarity is
    worth a lot.

    --
    Jason O'Rourke www.jor.com
     
  10. Gwydion

    Gwydion Guest

    Larry Weisenthal wrote:
    >
    > >>Well, I've done the SERC Alcatraz swim both with and without a
    > wetsuit. I was faster with the wetsuit by 1-2 minutes (no wetsuit, ~35 minutes; with wetsuit 33
    > and 34 minutes). Having said that, however, I don't think it's a highly valid comparison. <<
    >
    > I was thinking about pool swimming, with and without a wetsuit. I'll try and do this, when I have
    > the chance.

    The problem with that is overheating. You cannot swim in a full wetsuit in normal pool temps w/o
    overheating. My personal experience is that anything over 72F is too warm for a full; after that, I
    start sweating and feeling the effects of overheating. Even 70-72 can be too warm if the sun is out.
    You might get a reasonable comparison using a shortie in a pool, but that obviously will not show
    the full effect.

    I'll try it next time I get a chance, though.
     
  11. Dakitty

    Dakitty Guest

    "Larry Weisenthal" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > >>Maybe we could ask everyone to swim the event twice, once without
    > wetsuits and once with? Then we could look for a correlation between their times without wetsuits
    > and their improvement with wetsuits.<<
    >
    > Since you were kind enough to report on your results with "Larry's Kicking Challenge," the least I
    > can do is to reciprocate with "Ross's Wetsuit Challenge."
    >
    > Hope that we can collect some useful data, analogous to the very
    interesting
    > and useful data which was reported in the "Kicking Challenge."
    >
    > - Larry

    Oh, that reminds me, we did a lot of kicking yesterday, so I had a chance to time my kick. It's
    exactly half the speed of my pull. That same kick, in a backstroke position is some 30% faster.
     
  12. Dakitty

    Dakitty Guest

    "M.W. Smith" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > Ross Bogue wrote:
    > > So how do you interpret those statistics?
    >
    > The water was cold.
    >
    > martin

    Love the common sense here :)
     
  13. gwydion <[email protected]> wrote:
    >Well, I've done the SERC Alcatraz swim both with and without a wetsuit. I was faster with the
    >wetsuit by 1-2 minutes (no wetsuit, ~35 minutes; with wetsuit 33 and 34 minutes). Having said that,
    >however, I don't think it's a highly valid comparison. First, every Alcatraz swim I have done has
    >been different. The boat doesn't drop you off in exactly the same place, the
    >tide/current/waves/conditions are never quite the

    I have three different times on the Alcatraz -> Cristy Field course and yeah, there's no way you can
    do comparisons. 2001- 52 minutes. 2002- 42 minutes. 2003- 64 minutes (definitely longer course).

    Wave conditions vary, tides vary, start points vary, and temps vary.
    --
    Jason O'Rourke www.jor.com
     
  14. Ross Bogue

    Ross Bogue Guest

    In <[email protected]> Larry Weisenthal wrote:
    >
    > Since you were kind enough to report on your results with "Larry's Kicking Challenge," the least I
    > can do is to reciprocate with "Ross's Wetsuit Challenge."

    :)

    Not sure I can claim full title to that challenge, as I didn't start the wetsuit discussion. I also
    can't contribute, as I don't own a wetsuit. But I'd be happy to listen to other people's
    experiences.

    And I think Gwydion, etc, are right: you'd want to time the two swims in a lake or pool to ensure
    conditions are consistent.

    Ross
     
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