Triathletes participating in the Herbalife Triathlon Los Angeles Sunday will experience a different starting process as they run from Venice Beach to the Pacific Ocean.
Instead of using the traditional "wave" start, Pacific Sports will launch its new start process, SwimStream, in which competitors enter the water in a continuous stream of "pace" groups through an access point. Each competitor's time will start when they cross a timing mat, according to race officials.
Competitors will not be grouped by age, gender and/or weigh category at the start of the race. Instead, the SwimStream start is intended to be similar to the start of many marathons that position runners by their anticipated pace-by-mile at the start.
HTLA participants will self-determine their starting time in the swim portion of the race. Those with the fastest anticipated swim times will be encouraged to start in the earliest grouping or stream, said officials.
For the Olympic Distance, the time would be below 22 minutes; for the Sprint, it would be below 11 minutes. Race personnel will hold signs indicating pace times and swimmers will line up in their appropriate anticipated time group, according to a press release.
“This process will help swimmers feel as much comfort and relaxation as possible when entering the ocean,” said race director Jack Caress. “It will also allow some variability if friends, members of a triathlon club, co-workers from a company or family members want to swim together. The traditional wave method does not allow this.”
In addition to swimming with competitors of similar skill levels and/or swimming with friends, the SwimStream allows for a continuous flow of athletes across the timing mat, say race officials.
Each stream will consist of approximately 100 swimmers. Streams will launch continuously until there are 400 participants in the water. Then, athletes will be allowed into the water as earlier streams of swimmers finish and arrive on the beach.
Los Angeles County Lifeguards and event swim coordinators will help control the flow of the swimmers.
Once the Olympic distance racers are in the ocean, there will be an approximate 10-minute gap before the Sprint under-11-minute swimmers start. The pace will continue until all the competitors have left the beach.
The Sprint starts once the Olympic swimmers are past the turn buoys heading south.
The event, now in its 14th year, began in 2000 and is comprised of amateur and professional athletes from 35 states and 11 countries.
Competitors can choose between two distances – an “Olympic” distance consisting of a .9-mile swim, a 24-mile cycle and a 6.2-mile run and a “Sprint” distance of a .4-mile swim, 20-mile cycle and a 3.1-mile run. There will also be a 24-mile bike only segment, 3-person relay teams and a 5k race downtown.
The race begins at 6:50 a.m. Sunday with the men pros starting at Venice Beach, followed at 6:55 a.m. by the women pros, then the under 22 minutes competitors launch at 7 p.m.
The 5K race starts in downtown at 7 a.m.
An awards ceremony will be held at noon at L.A. Live!
Pacific Sports LLC, a premier sports consultation firm specializing in event production, management, and corporate sports marketing development, is producing the Herbalife Triathlon Los Angeles.