The once-obscure sport of solo marathon swimming has seen, in recent years, increasing commercialization among organizers and piloting businesses. This is, on the one hand, evidence of the sport’s growth and success. On the other hand, demand for the most coveted swims — especially the channel swims of the Oceans Seven — has driven fees through the roof, sometimes without a corresponding rise in the level of service to swimmers. Since solo marathon swimming is an unregulated sport, there have traditionally been few levers for individual swimmers (especially those without a large social media following) to fight back against unscrupulous operators.
In an effort to shift the balance of power back to the swimmers, we are excited to launch LongSwims Event Reviews – a new built-in feature of the LongSwims Database. On each event’s results page is a pop-up survey that allows swimmers to submit reviews on race organizers and (for solo swims) sanction associations and boat pilots. With this new tool, swimmers can now feel empowered to give deserved praise for hard-working organizers and skilled pilots; and to call out poor service when they experience it.
Thanks to everyone who suggested this feature, publicly and privately. We built this because you asked for it.
A few notes:
- This is a trial release of what we hope will be an ongoing and developing project. Please bear with us while we iron out the inevitable kinks, and feel free to send feedback via our Facebook page or the MSF contact form or the Marathon Swimmers Forum.
- As described in each survey form, you have several options for privacy and anonymity. You can submit a verified review. We ask for your name, email address, and swim date to verify that you did the swim you are reviewing. You can choose whether to publish your name along with your review, or to keep your name private.
- Alternatively, you can submit an unverified review and we won’t ask for any identifying information. However, unverified reviews will (at the very least) be distinguished from verified reviews when they are published. If this option is abused, we reserve the right not to publish unverified reviews or include them in average ratings.
- Reviews and ratings will not be published immediately to the LongSwims Database. Especially in this first phase, we will be gathering and analyzing the data privately, to determine how best to present it. Please be patient, and rest assured — your voice will be heard.
The current list of swims available to review is available at https://longswims.com/event-reviews. Click through to a specific event results page, find the blue “Review this Swim” button, and the survey will pop up.