Flavio Bomio, the Chairman of the LEN Technical Open Water Swimming Committee, summed up the new 5K time trial format at the European Open Water Championships best, "You simply have to swim at full speed from start to finish."
"We had to do something to save the 5K event, because both the 5km and the 10km have always been tactical races which were decided in a sprint finish. There can’t be any tactical moves in 5km time trial," explained Bomio.
Like cycling, the swimmers start in 1-minute intervals from the starting pontoon (see photo above) in the 5K solo race.
In the team trial event, 18 three-person teams also start in 1-minute intervals. The time of the last of the 3 swimmers at the finish determines the team's official time. Each team must have at least one woman and will start together. "Most of the time there will be two men who have the task to push the woman to the fastest possible time," predicts 10K champion Thomas Lurz of Germany. "The third individual time is valid for the ranking. So the team has to work and to swim together," reiterated Bomio.
The initial response from the swimmers seems quite positive. "This is a fantastic start to these European Championships for Italy. I like this new time trial format very much, because you are swimming alone and have to do your own race and to decide the correct route by yourself," said 5K bronze medalist Alice Franco of Italy.
Upper photo shows start of women's 5K time trial, taken by Giorgio Scala of Deepbluemedia.
Lower photo shows Flavio Bomio of the LEN Technical Open Water Swimming Committee, taken by Giorgio Scala of Deepbluemedia.