World Games – Open Water Swimming Course
Turn Buoy #4
Turn Buoy #3
350 meters
2 loops
175 meters
Turn Buoy #5
Turn Buoy #1
175 meters
15 meters
Turn Buoy #2
On-the-beach Start and Finish
Procession of Athletes to Start
Open Water Swimming Position & Number of Officials
Head Referee
Kayak #2
Lead Kayak
Jet Ski #2
Lifeguard #1
Lifeguard #2
Lifeguard #3
Assistant Referee
Lifeguard #4
Jet Ski #1
Clerk of Course
3 Timers and
POW (Pool Open Water) Course in 50-meter Pool
Swim competition
Swim direction
Four outer turn buoys positioned
near intersection of backstroke flags
and lanes 2 or 7
POW - Pool Open Water Examples
POW - Pool Open Water Examples
POW - Pool Open Water Examples
POW Racing Guidelines
The Start: The start will be in the water where all swimmers must have one hand on the start rope. A
maximum of 12 swimmers are in each heat, but this maximum number can be changed at the referee’s
discretion. If all the swimmers in a heat cannot be line up on the starting rope, then some swimmers will be
start behind the first group. The position of the swimmers at the start in crowded heats will be determined by
a random draw. Each swimmer will select sticks from a bin. Each stick will have a number of it and will
indicate the position of the swimmer at the start (e.g., #1 swimmer will get on the inside on the first row while
#12 swimmer will start from the outside on the back row).
Swim Caps: Each swimmer will wear a numbered cap (i.e., #1 swimmer will wear cap #1, #2 swimmer will
wear cap #2 and so on). In races where males and females are racing together, the caps of the males and
females will be different. The numbered caps enable the swimmers to understand the Referee’s instructions.
Race Countdown: A 1-minute and 15-second warning will be given by the referee. If any swimmer is not in
position by the 15-second warning, he or she will be immediately disqualified and will be asked to leave the
pool. No final countdown is provided. The swimmer simply go at the start signal of the Head Referee. If any
swimmer jumps the starting gun, beep or whistle, he or she will be immediately disqualified.
Turn Buoys: If the POW Race is conducted in the counter-clockwise direction, the swimmers must keep all the
four turn buoys off of their left shoulder around each turn buoy. In the clockwise direction, the swimmers must
keep the turn buoys off of their right shoulder.
Timing: Automatic timing can be used, but placing is the goal of POW Races.
The Bell Lap: As the first swimmer starts the last loop, the Referee will ring a bell indicating 1 loop remains.
Disqualifications: Swimmers can be disqualified for making intentional contact, obstruction or interference with
another swimmer. Such unsportsmanlike conduct is judged either by the referee or assistant referee, who are
located on opposite sides of the pool deck. A warning can be given by the Referees and is indicated by a
whistle and a lap counter indicating the swimmer’s number. At the first rule infraction, the swimmer will be
warned. At the second infringement, the swimmers will be asked to leave the pool.
The Finish: The finish is judged when the competitors either cross the plane of the finish or who pulls
him/herself up and sits on the deck as determined by the referee.

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