Norway full IRONMAN to use floating “tubes” to guide swimmers in S-curve icy waters

IRONMAN HAUGESUND

Easier navigating makes a faster swim

HAUGESUND: After several years of Ironman 70,3 the pristine and coastal town of Haugesund now steps up its game and prepares for its first full distance. Far from sunny Hawaii the Norwegians aims for Cold KONA. Situated on the stunning western coast of Norway both scenic landscape and pure nature should give that hardcore Viking-vibe and classic ironman-feeling.

Now Ivar Jacobsen and his team prepares for an even better competition, focusing on improving every detail of the course. Ironman 70,3 in Haugesund was awarded Global Athlete Satisfaction Award 2015.

But Ivar and the volunteers always strive to improve. One athletes feedback sums up the core of an Ironman-competition in Haugesund: I felt like being part of a local race, but with the impeccable organization of a full Ironman.

“I have been thinking a lot about how the swimming-experience can be even better. One of the annoying things with open water swims is that you have to adjust your course constantly. If you have to stop and raise your head looking for the next bouy in the water you will loose quite few seconds every time”, Ivar Jacobsens said.

Just forget swimming in the icy North Sea. The Ironman Haugesund-swim is performed in Skeisvatnet, a freshwater lake right outside the city center. In Norwegian smalltown-scale that means just a few blocks from basically anything.

Check the whole course here.

-We have now developed a new system that solves two obstacles for a good and fast swim. First of all, with a high number of swimmers in the water you can risk that the old bouy-system will move a little bit and may confuse the swimmers.

Mr. Jacobsens solution is simple, clever and obvious.

“We will simply use a tube that is semi-submersible. We inflate it with air and water that will make light enough to float and heavy enough to stay in its position during the whole swim. It is almost like an oil-lense system used by the oil industry”, Ivar explained.

Instead of gaps with no markers or course-helping objects for the swimmers they can now follow a consecutive line all the way through. The tube will give guidance for direction all the time.

Read Mary Beth Ellis emotional experiences in Ironman 70,3 in Haugesund, 2012.

Like doing lapses in a pool
“Since this is a lake we do not have any waves or currents. Just follow the tube-lines in the water and you will get through, Ivar said.

The swimmers will go in the water by a rolling start and swim in an enormous s-shaped turn. The Skeisvatnet Lake is deep but not big enough for straight lengths.

-We really look forward testing the tubes out. Most likely the lake will stay ice-free this winter and we will have plenty of time for testing and adjustments, Ivar Jacobsen said.

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