7. Do I need a swim safety device in a race? Aren’t there lifeguards watching me?
A. Yes. According to USAT, every race is required to have 1 lifeguard for every 35 participants in an Ocean Swim and 1 lifeguard for every 50 participants in a fresh water swim. While this is comforting, it does not guarantee that a life guard will recognize your distress and act in a timely manner. Additionally, volunteers in kayaks or paddle boards are a valuable set of eyes, but they are not open water trained and equipped to save a life. The volunteers can offer a legal rest station for the tired swimmer, but in an emergency they can only alert first responders and offer minimal assistance to a swimmer in distress or worse. All first responders are trained to respond to a bright yellow life jacket (aka: deployed Swim IT) in a race. The yellow lifejacket serves several purposes. Immediate relief from the drowning, safety assistance capability for distressed swimmer and trackable signal to emergency personnel that assistance is needed.
2. Is the Swim IT Race Legal?
A. Yes. The Swim IT is legal in all USA Triathlon sanctioned events, including Ironman races. Additionally, The Swim IT is legal in Challenge, Federaciòn de Triatlòn in Mexico and other races throughout the world. Because the Swim IT does not provide a competitive advantage or disadvantage prior to deployment, IT is legal, but once deployed, the use of a buoyancy device is in violation of USAT rule 4.9 and would be cause for disqualification.
8. Aren’t most fatal swims due to a heart attack? What good is a Swim IT if I had a cardiac event?
A. According to the 2012 USAT Fatalities Incident report, the cause of death is rarely diagnosed due to a lack of autopsies or the subsequent release of information. Speculation is usually attributed to an undiagnosed medical condition, but actual cause of death is usually a mystery. According the USAT report, in the event that you experience symptoms of a heart attack, like heaviness in the chest, numbness of your left side, shortness of breath or chest pain, you should “stop swimming” and seek medical attention. Admittedly, without a buoyancy device, this is a problem. In the USA, most heart attacks are symptomatic and survivable if you have immediate access to medical attention. The reason that very few fatal heart attacks occur on the bike or the run is obvious. In the event of a heart attack, you can stop; however, a heart attack while swimming requires continued exertion to prevent drowning. Having a Swim IT and deploying IT at the first sign of a cardiac event will provide immediate relief from exertion and continuously signal for help without drowning. Simply put, The Swim IT buys time for the first responders to react, instead of looking for a drowning victim. This is why it is so important to have a device that you control and can deploy easily that may save your life in the event an undiagnosed medical condition prevents your ability to swim or signal for help.
4. Can someone else accidentally or intentionally deploy my device?
A. No. The short answer is at Swim IT we're triathletes, Ironmen, and swimmers too, so The Swim IT was designed with 3 features that prevent accidental deployment. Since ITs approval into USAT Races in 2012 and tens-of-thousands of swims, there has never been an accidental deployment; however, there have been 5 intentional deployments that rescued someones life.
10. Should I practice deploying the Swim IT or just save it for emergencies?
A. Yes! Practice makes perfect. We strongly recommend you deploy your Swim IT at least three times on your first open water swim. The first deployment is done to remove the mystery about “what happens”? The second is to convince you that your repack skills are adequate. The third deployment reinforces the process of deployment and donning the life jacket. After this, you can deploy your Swim IT as needed or just for fun! Note: always deploy your Swim IT in the water. Dry land deployments should be avoided and may void your warranty.
1. I am a good swimmer, do I need a swim safety device?
A. Yes. Wearing The Swim IT triathlon swim safety device is independent of skill or experience. Every year good swimmers suffer fatal swims due to cramps, fatigue, changes in weather, medical conditions, SIPE (Swimming Induced Pulmonary Edema), cardiac events, allergic reactions to stings, arrhythmia, entanglement, panic, or attempting to assist a distressed swimmer without flotation. Wearing a Swim IT is not about ability or fear, but rather, offering swimmers a Race Legal emergency flotation device for their survival and Peace of Mind when self rescue is a needed. The Swim IT is safety you control!
Swim Safety You Control
6. Do people ever die in the swim at a sanctioned and guarded race?
A. Yes. In 2012 there was a fatal swim every weekend from Memorial Day to Labor Day, in USAT sanctioned races in the USA. In 2013-14 the fatal swim statistic improved slightly, but they do occur with alarming regularity. We’ve already had one fatality in 2015 in Lavaman, HI.
3. Is the Swim IT reusable?
A. Yes. After every deployment, you will need a new 16 gram threaded CO2 cartridge. These are easily purchased at any bike shop for about $3. Please see the RePack Page for instructional videos and a downloadable PDF.
5. Will the Swim IT slow me down?
A. No. We’ve tested the Swim IT in the pool and in lakes, with age groupers and professionals. Not one of them noticed any measurable drag or adverse effect on their swim times. When worn correctly (on the back of the right leg), The Swim IT is out of the flow of water. Additionally, swimming is an ultra-low speed fluid dynamic environment. World class athletes swim 4 mph. At these speeds, parasitic drag is the primary culprit for resistance. Wearing the Swim IT on the back of the lag removes the device from the flow of water and any measurable parasitic drag. At these low speeds, induced drag is not detectable. Without exception, everyone who has used the Swim IT has declared that IT is comfortable and does not interfere in the stroke or speed of swim. The only side affect is Peace of Mind!
9. Will I float upside down if I deploy the Swim IT?
A. No. The Swim IT auto inflates once the Jerk to Inflate tab is pulled, and exits the pouch. The inflated life jacket is tethered with a 5 ft cord to your leg.