How To “Number Off” At The Beach

by Can Too Foundation 14 Nov 2016

The ocean can be an unpredictable environment. When we’re training big groups like the Sydney Ocean Swim, it’s important we regularly check the group is all together. One way we do this is by “numbering off” at the beach every time we leave the water.

Get the right number for your distance group

We split into two groups at the beach – a 1km swim goal or a 2km swim goal. Team captains should be split into two separate lines to make sure you get the right number for your group.

There’s a lot going on at the beach, and groups sometimes get mixed up getting in and out of the water as often as we do. To help you understand which group you belong to, we start your number with your goal swim distance:

  • If you’re training for the 1km swim your number will start with a 1. If you sign in sixth to the 1km group you will be 106.
  • If you’re training for the 2km swim your number will start with a 2. If you sign in sixth to the 2km group you will be 206.

If in doubt, look around. If your number starts with a 1” and the swimmers next to you have numbers starting with “2” then head over to the other group and join your 1km swim buddies.

Manly only: 1km and 2km groups swim at different times and will just receive their number.

Get a number before leaving the meeting spot

You have to get a number before the swim briefing starts. Try and sign in and get a number as soon as you arrive at the beach. And make sure you have the right number for your distance. If you’re a 1km swimmer make sure your number starts with a “1”!

Team captains mark your number against your name on a list that’s kept safe and dry at the surf club. In the very unlikely case of an emergency, we use this list to know exactly who is missing and who to contact. The list is left safe and dry at the surf club. So for safety reasons, if you’re late to training the group has already moved down to the water or closed off the numbering, you’ll be asked to sit that session out.

A team captain or mentor will always be the first and last numbers at a training session, so we know everyone is accounted for.

How to “number off” at the beach

To make sure everyone in the group is accounted for, once the group has left the water and back on sand, coaches will ask the group to “number off”.

Starting with a team captain or mentor, swimmers call out their number in order: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 etc.

Some examples:

Your number is 202. Someone in your group calls out “1”. You put your hand up and call out “2” clearly so everyone can see your hand and hear your number.

Your number is 241. A participant in your group calls out “40” with their hand in the air.. You put your hand straight up and call out “41”. The person after you would then put their hand in the air and call out “42”.

Only call out your number when you’ve heard the number before you called out!

Simple tips for "numbering off"

Know your number. The quicker we number off, the more swim training we can get in!

Raise your hand straight up in the air. It helps the person before you see progress through the numbers.

Call your number loudly. It can be windy on the beach, and the person after you can’t call their number out until they’ve heard yours.

Only call out your number. Never call out a friend’s number. It’s a safety check to make sure everyone is physically there and accounted for every time we leave the water.

If in doubt, ask someone! Your safety is our most important concern at all times. You have experienced professional coaches, qualified water safety crew, and your team captains and mentors have been through the swim program in previous seasons. They all want you to be safe, happy, and above all enjoying your experience.

We know it’s a lot to take in sometimes. If you’re at all concerned or unclear about something, please make sure you talk to someone.

Happy swimming!

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