Ironman SwimSmart Initiative = 3% to 4% Faster Average Swim Splits

As anyone who's been through it will tell you, starting the swim simultaneously with 2500 splashing, thrashing and smashing triathletes is unpleasant at the least. In response to the increasing challenges of mass swim starts, Ironman has introduced the SwimSmart Initiative in North America to eliminate many of the hassles and even the dangers of starting all athletes at once. The initiative has many very sensible elements, the most important being a self-seeded gradual swim start. Details here.

The Big Question: Will the SwimSmart Initiative Lead to Faster Swim Splits?

The answer, based on the initiative's debut at Ironman Coeur d'Alene 2013 is: a 3% to 4% faster swim, or 2.5 minutes faster, on average, compared to IM CDA's 2010 to 2012 swim splits; 5% or more if you just compare 2012 and 2013. More important is the improvement in results by age; many of the younger, and typically faster, age groups saw improvements in the 5% to 6% range. That's a 4 or 5 minute swim split improvement.

Safer swim starts and faster swim splits. Can't beat that. Here's our analysis comparing swim splits by age group at Ironman Coeur d'Alene 2012 and 2013.

For more, see our complete IM CDA 2013 Results Analysis, our Stats/Results/Analysis Archive or Home Page/Index.

For more on SwimSmart results, see the Triathete Magazine article featuring our analysis.