The entirety of this plan & the protocols included within will be provided to all Volunteers & Emergency Personnel in advance of the event & again on race day. Swimmers will also receive instructions during pre-race meetings on emergency & communication procedures.
KEY EVENT PERSONNEL
Race Director: Allison Ware
Water quality testing will be coordinated with the Army Corps of Engineers one week prior to race day. Athletes will be notified of any concerns via email prior to event and on race day via announcements.
Additionally, the race setting is in a suburban reservoir with no industrial activity nearby. Water quality is closely monitored by the USACE at the dam area on an ongoing basis. Although the dam is not adjacent to our race area, these measurements are monitored regularly due to weekly swims that are held in the same area.
Safety meetings will be held for all volunteers, on-course monitors and boat operators prior to the event. There will also be mandatory pre-race meetings held for all athletes prior to the start of their race(s).
These meetings will cover how to spot a swimmer in distress, what safety equipment each entity has, communication methods & what the protocol will be for distressed swimmers and/or any necessary evacuations. All safety personnel will have assigned positions throughout the event to provide adequate course coverage. Swimmer meetings will include how to navigate the course, how to communicate with course monitors if assistance is needed, what the evacuation protocols will be should they become necessary & a review of any potential hazards if they exist.
Estimated water temperature is from 70-75°F, Expected air temperature is 75-80°F.
We have requested clear weather, no wind & sunny skies.
Race course will be marked with yellow buoys at every turn, with intermediate guide buoys in between for navigational purposes.
There will be volunteers monitoring the swimming area from both water & land any time there is a swimmer in the water once the warm-up & race periods have begun.
Motorized boats will be positioned outside the perimeter of the course to help control non-event lake traffic (1-2) & aid in the monitoring of swimmers (2-4). Any boats not controlling traffic will be anchored with engines off while swimmers are in the water. Each boat is expected to have a Swim Monitor on board with the sole obligation of watching athletes. Non-motorized boats (kayaks, paddleboards, etc.) will be positioned at intervals throughout the course to provide assistance & guidance if necessary. There will be a designated kayak/SUP to escort the lead swimmer & another designated kayak/SUP to sweep the course behind the last swimmer as well. All positioned craft will stay in place until the course is signaled clear from RaceHQ.
The volunteers positioned throughout the course will contain a strategic placement of emergency medical personnel, lifeguards & trained rescue staff. Communication between these volunteers monitoring the course will take place via walkie-talkie, whistles, flags, EMS radios & cell phone if needed.
Swimmers will start in the water just off the beach area. Race staff will document swimmer’s numbers as they enter the water, this will be confirmed by the electronic timing system as they pass over the transponder to activate their chip. Swimmers will also be manually counted/documented as they leave the water to finish by crossing the transponder under the finish arch back on the beach.
Swimmers must wear the swim cap provided, have their race numbers clearly marked on the cap & arms and must follow all announced safety rules without exception. If a swimmer needs assistance during the event & is able to do so, he/she should stop swimming, remove their cap & use it to signal a volunteer by raising their hand. Any swimmer that leaves the course without finishing or withdraws from competition after checking-in must notify RaceHQ immediately. If a swimmer withdraws from competition while out on the course, the volunteers on the transport boat will notify RaceHQ as soon as possible.
DELAY & CANCELLATION PLANS:
Delay &/or Cancelation is based on weather on race day & is left to the joint discretion of the Race Director & Safety Coordinator. The swim will be delayed or cancelled if there is lightning or any other unsafe conditions. If the swim has begun & unsafe condition(s) develop, the Race Director &/or Safety Coordinator will communicate this to the Emergency personnel & monitors throughout the course. A series of continuous blasts on whistles & horns will be repeated by all volunteers & swimmers will be instructed on how/where to exit the water. When it is safe to do so, swimmers will then be transported back to RaceHQ to be accounted for.
MEDICAL EVACUATION PLAN:
There will be a three-tier structure of observation & response for swimmers. Once a swimmer signals or is observed in distress, the primary monitor will move into position to provide flotation assistance while moving swimmer out of the path of other athletes.
Secondary monitor will maintain visual coverage of Primary’s area & adjacent Primary Monitors will expand their observation areas to overlap. Secondary Monitor will also move into position to relieve primary responder & aid swimmer as needed. Primary Monitor then resumes coverage area.
If evacuation or medical assistance is needed, the Secondary Monitor will signal the Emergency Personnel on a motorized vessel with a series of three (3) whistle blasts. Emergency Personnel on-water will assess the situation & take necessary measures, including transporting swimmer to waiting EMS team at RaceHQ.
If situation requires the swimmer to be transported to a Hospital, EMS at RaceHQ will transfer to the on-site Ambulance & will transport the swimmer to the nearest hospital, Tri-Star Summit Medical Center; 6.3mi/11min away. Depending on the emergency, related activity and demand on Emergency Personnel, Race Director will decide whether to continue or Cancel the event. In the event of cancelation or need, the prescribed evacuation, emergency &/or search plan will be activated.
MISSING SWIMMER PLAN:
If there are any athletes who have not been accounted for at the conclusion of the event or a swimmer is reported missing, either by electronic timing, chip return or upon notification to RaceHQ, there will be a series of concurrent events that occur:
- Swimmer’s name will be announced over the PA repeatedly, requested to report to RaceHQ
- Electronic Timing System & manual records will be checked to verify that swimmer did enter the water for race start
- Electronic System will also be checked to verify swimmer did not exit water. Chips will be manually checked to ensure it wasn’t returned & any video footage of start/finish will be reviewed to see if swimmer exited without the chip
- On-water staff will be notified to check assigned zone & shoreline to ensure swimmer isn’t still in water & hasn’t otherwise abandoned race without notifying officials
- Race staff will attempt to contact swimmer via phone
Assuming the above aren’t successful, swimmer will have been confirmed to have entered, but not exited the water & another series of concurrent events will take place:
- If applicable, subsequent races will be halted until swimmer is accounted for
- All available motorized & non-motorized boats will be dispatched back to the water, if not already
- Emergency Responders and Search & Rescue will activate their search & recovery protocol
- Swimmer’s emergency contact will be contacted to make them aware of missing swimmer