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Race Conduct: Wave Starts

By USA Triathlon | Feb. 09, 2014, 5:05 p.m. (ET)

The wave start rule, 3.4m — Wave Starts, requires that each competitor start the event with his assigned wave and not before. 

Athletes who start early could get a significant time advantage over those in their assigned group, so the penalty is always disqualification. No allowance is made for those who might be confused and make the mistake of the wrong wave.

The rule also excludes anyone starting in an open wave from receiving awards designated for age group waves.  That part of the rule was enacted so everyone in each wave is racing for the awards designated for that particular wave and no one gets an advantageous early start.

The rule states:

3.4m. Wave Starts.
When the beginning of any event is commenced by starting designated "waves" or groups of participants at different times, all participants shall start in and with the proper wave or group. Any participant who violates this section by starting in an improper and earlier wave or group shall be disqualified.  Any participant who starts in an open or elite wave in an event with age group waves shall be ineligible for age group awards and USA Triathlon national rankings.

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