Kona swim starts

Looks like it’s moving away from a mass start to age groups with 5 minute gaps, might cut down some drafting but not much.



Andrew Messick On IMTalk?

Seems like they are doing what EveryManJack proposed, be interesting to see what waves they’re planning…


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Just seen it on SlowTwots.
I was listening to IMTalk on the drive to work this morning and they had Andrew Messick on talking about it.

I saw it on their Facebook post

Females got proper done over there :scream:
They’ll be swimming over old men, then weaving between slower older Male riders for the first 60km of the bike - then they can latch onto the earlier men and ride a stunning bike leg!

Everyone complained about the drafting but someone (Brett Sutton?) proved the density of athletes in the 1:00 - 1:10 window made it impossible to spread out sufficiently. Now everyone’s complaining about this…

They have attempted to order the waves in approx speed order which is good. I had massive issues at the 70.3 worlds when as a M50-54 I had M25-29 behind and older AGs ahead. 3 speeds of rider, effectively.

I’m doing legacy - last wave - and am ok with it. I won’t get bashed up at the swim start and then when the fast ladies come through. Bike congestion will be less so I can race fair, not having to keep surging/soft pedalling to avoid drafts. We’ll get the worst of the wind on the bike, and a bit of a tail end Charlie feel to the day.

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TRO, I’m all for it, although I actually think 10 minute gaps would be better but would stretch the day out quite a bit.

Does this not favour the weak swimmers who are strong bikers? If they miss the fast group from their AG, they can pick up the group behind?

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Inthat case I’m not going!

I agree with Jeff, 5 minutes seems a bit short for a proper gap.

ETA: Listening Messick on IMTalk could the swim exit not be on the other side of the pier, which I believe it used to be years ago? Dunno why it changed.

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Think it was this article that led to the changes, along with the years of athlete feedback:

teamemj . com/ ironman-world-championships/

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Yeah dunno why they stopped using the Slipway. Probably logistics related to squeezing more bikes onto the pier!

Like Pacha, I refuse to go there now; it’s just not the same :wink:

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Probably 2 groups behind, but it will be a pain - not that i can get to Kona!

I am a slow swimmer and fast biker

I basically spend the whole race passing through drafting zones. The speed differential is such i dont need to surge.

In the wimball 70.3 i passed over 1000 bikes. I don’t think one passed me. I had a great bike split and had a draft motor bike follow me for about 10 mins. I just kept passing the folk in front after about 10 mins he just came up next to me gave me a thumbs up and rode on.

So being a slow swimmer and a fast biker does mean you spend a lot of time in the draft zone, but never enough time to be drafting if that makes sense?

Makes sense and that’s often me as well. Kona is a different puppy though, as any ‘slow’ swimmers are likely to be Uber bikers otherwise they wouldn’t have Q’d.

Most of the field will be swimming 1:00-1:10 then biking 4:50-5:00 (or some fairly narrow time slot). Field doesn’t ‘spread’ like other IMs.

I think this system will work, they’ve seeded faster waves ahead like M30-39 and most of those will stay ahead. Should massively reduce bike congestion, hopefully they’ll be then able to really get after the deliberate drafters.

The only bit that’s not immediately clear to me is how easy it will be to arrange all the waves at the start line with only 5 minute windows. Isn’t the start line quite a bit out in the ocean? They always seems to have all the canoes going back and forth and stopping people encroaching. There’s not much time to get everyone lined up, in position, and set-off, before you have to do it again.

It’s not like wave starts in small events, where half the time the distance from the entry point to the start line is less than 50m. But even in races I do over here where that is the case, the wave gaps are normally more like 10mins (113 for example).

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It’s an idea, I can’t see it solving drafting properly, but it may help. Fundamentally there’s just too many people at Kona, combined with fact they are all same fast times hence they qualified.
Only thing they can do is split days - (island authorities won’t do), or drastically reduce numbers, which IM Corp won’t do as it’s their big money maker.

They cannot do split days.
People who have been (podcast folks!) have said how much effort and volunteer time goes into the setup.

Wanda Sports International are looking to grow the race. About 50-100 per year, though this might be through legacy and the executive programme.

Also…they’re looking into an IPO

Yeah that too, sheer scale of it compared to 70.3.

I feel in which case they/we have to accept its becoming part of the sport/certain events. Mathmatically you can’t have that number of people coming out the water within 30 minutes and have a way for them to stay 10/12m apart

And whilst we accept it at some events, it would be nice for Kona to have kept some magic purity about it

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Answer to that is regional championships feeder to Kona.
Two year cycle…qualify at home IM for Euro Champs.
Qualify at Euro Champs for Kona.