Ironman offers opportunity to skip the swim at European races

Athletes hit the water at Ironman Mont-Tremblant in 2019. Photo: Kevin Mackinnon

Due to limited swimming options, Ironman is offering a no-swim option for all of its races in Europe this year. Those who forgo the swim, however, will not be eligible for age group awards, or have a chance to qualify for the Ironman World Championship in Hawaii, or the Ironman 70.3 World Championship in Utah and Taupo. 

Ironman is responding to the continued limited swimming opportunities due to the COVID-crisis by modifying its race format and offering a bike and run only alternative for its races in Europe. “Over the past 14 months, swim training options have been severely limited for many athletes in Europe due to COVID-19 and its impact. We are aware that this has made it very difficult to prepare for triathlon races in 2021,” Stefan Petschnig, managing director for Europe, Middle East and Africa regions at Ironman, wrote to registered athletes today. “Many of you have contacted us expressing a desire to race this year, but at the same time expressing concerns about the lack of swim training. We take that feedback very seriously.”

For this reason, he said, Ironman is offering the unique option of allowing athletes to decide for themselves whether or not to swim during a race. “Each athlete should decide for themselves what is the best option based on their personal situation,” Petschnig said. The possibility to race including a swim still remains.

Athletes should receive a message about four to six weeks before their race and can then decide on one of the two options up to 14 days before the start.