Triathlon Etiquette; What Is Dunking and Short Chute? How Super League Triathlon Works

It is possible to have a good time at any triathlon and to have one, there are certain laid down rules to help guide you on how certain things should be done.

This set of rules are known as etiquettes. We can call these etiquettes the unwritten rules of triathlon. To respect the organizers and participants of the triathlon sport, you ought to follow these rules

There are two of these unwritten rules we will focus on, and they include:

–         No Dunking while swimming during the triathlon sport.

–         How to earn and use short chute in the super league triathlon

So, letโ€™s talk about the definition of Dunking and short cute in triathlon.

What is dunking in triathlon? Dunking is a practice that involves pushing another triathlete down in the water during the swim leg using your hands. This interferes with the swimming of the other participant. 

Sometimes swimmers do this to get ahead while swimming, but most times, it occurs unintentionally amongst triathlete swimmers because of the close contact they have with each other while in the water.

You should avoid this as much as possible!

Watch below this video that explains dunking as part of the unwritten rules in triathlon.

What is a short chute in a triathlon? A short chute is a shorter route that triathletes take during the triathlon race. This is only for triathletes who have earned one. This is usually awarded to triathletes in the super league triathlon after they have won one of the early stages of the races. (Source)

The triathletes then decide the best time to use it so, it would be beneficial to their race. Watch below how Vincent Luis demonstrated a short chute in Mallorca.

What happens to triathletes when they dunck while swimming during a triathlon event?

When triathletes duck intentionally or non-intentionally, they are disqualified immediately. It is fair for them to be disqualified because ducking could result in drowning and the death of a participant.

This is possible because of the force used when a participant is pushed underwater. Also check out What Do DNF, DNS, Lap, And Lapped Mean In Triathlon?

The winner of the Olympic gold medals in 2012 and 2016, Alistair Brownlee was disqualified on the 6th of June 2021 for ducking another triathlete, Chase McQueen at the world triathlon series event.

Although he admitted it was an unintentional act, he was disqualified regardless. The act of ducking was described as โ€œunsportsmanlike conductโ€. (Source)

Also, check out What Is Rolling Start And Self-Seeding In Triathlon?

How Does Short Chute Work?

Triathletes who demonstrate short Chute, are seen to cover only a short distance than others. This can only be done by those who have earned it. The time bonuses are awarded for each stage wins respectively. (Source)

The organizers added this feature to make the race spectator friendly as the race unfolds in front of the audience.

How Do Triathletes Earn A Short Chute?

Triathletes can earn a short Chute when they win the early stages of a race in the super league triathlon, such as a triple mix. Triathletes can also be awarded a short chute during the semi-finals in the triathlon race.

Once a short chute is earned, it can be used at any time and for any discipline before the end of the race. Considering that there could be many triathletes who could earn the short chute, you have to be mindful when you use yours to be at an advantage in winning the game.

Which Triathlon Races Can Triathletes Earn Short Chute In ?

Triathletes can earn a short chute in the super league triathlon founded by Chris McCormack, a two-time Ironman world champion in 2017.

He created this form of triathlon spectator-friendly by incorporating short races, changing the order of the disciplines, and allowing the triathletes to earn short chutes during the race. (Source)

The modifications made to this form of triathlon make it so exciting for the viewers to watch.

What is the super league triathlon and how does it work?

Super league triathlon is a nonstandard type of triathlon with rules and features geared to make it more exciting and interesting for the viewers to watch. In this form of triathlon, the best triathletes compete against each other following the normal swim, bike, run format.

The super league triathlon races are usually back-to-back, fast, short, and less predictable. Add-ons such as the short chute make this race very unpredictable, and you canโ€™t be sure who the winner could be until the end.

The super league triathlon is usually held during the international triathlon union off-season. Considering the super league triathlon only allows competition between the best triathletes, there are two levels to this which are:

  • The qualifier series: This level is for the upcoming triathletes organized to test their abilities
  • The championship series: This level is for the professional and elite triathletes organized to determine the fastest triathlete in the world (Source)

What are the Super league triathlon race distances?

The super league triathlon is non-traditional, short, fast, and occurs in 3 stages. This comprises a 200m swim, 4km bike, and 1km run. This order is not always maintained, so it is changed after every stage.

This is to keep the sport unpredictable and interesting for the viewers to watch. Note that for each stage, points are allocated to the winners until the final stage. Then the total points are calculated, and the organizers award the triathlete with the highest point as the winner. (Source)

The organizers of this triathlon could easily switch up the rules of the game in whatever way. This is to keep the triathletes on their toes making it fun for the views to watch. 

Have a look at what the super league triathlon races look like in this video below.

What are the forms of races in a super league triathlon?

The various forms of races in the super league triathlon include:

  • Triple mix:

 This race involves the triathletes participating in all three disciplines but different variations. This first race goes in the order of swim-bike-run, the second-order is run-bike-swim, and the third-order is bike-run-swim.

There is usually a 10 minutes break taken in-between stages based on the finish time of the triathletes. For this form of race in the super league triathlon, the winner of the two first stages is usually awarded a short chute.

  • Enduro:

This form involves three super sprint triathlons done in quick successions. This super league triathlon format is a test of endurance on the triathletes, as they try to maneuver the transition from one triathlon race to another.

This is so because there are no breaks given. You should note that eliminations usually occur here, where the last triathlete is eliminated after each discipline.

  • Eliminator:

This form of super league triathlon involves more eliminations than the others. This race format includes three back-to-back triathlon races just like in the triple mix with a 10-minute break in between.

After each stage, the last/slowest triathlete is usually eliminated, and these eliminations occur like this:

  • For the first race, five eliminations take place, and the first three triathletes who finish well earn a short chute.
  • For the second race, four eliminations take place, and the first two triathletes who finish well get a short chute.
  • For the final race, there are usually six participants left to compete against each other. These triathletes are known as the super six triathletes. Three eliminations take place in this stage. 

A way to succeed in this race format is to avoid the elimination zone as much as possible until the end.

  • Equalizer:

This form of super league triathlon involves just two races. This gives triathletes who are excellent in any one of the disciplines to showcase and make most of their skillset.

The two races involve an individual time trial for either the swim, run, or bike leg. Whichever one the triathlete chooses. This is then followed by a back-to-back swim, bike, and run race.

Here participants are eliminated using the 90 seconds rule. That is, if any triathlete is 90 seconds behind the leading triathlete in the race, there will be an elimination.

How do Triathletes get into the Super league triathlon?

Triathletes who have ranked as professional or elite triathletes can get into the super league triathlon since this triathlon is a competition between the best triathletes in the world.

Regardless age-groupers are still welcome to participate in the super league triathlon.


While having a good time during the triathlon sport, you must respect rules such as avoiding dunking during the triathlon swim leg. If you are to participate in a super league triathlon, make sure you only use a short chute if you earned one.

Failing to abide by these triathlon etiquettes, you could get disqualified.

Also, if you are considering being part of the super triathlon league, you should be aware of its nontraditional, superfast, and unpredictable nature so you could be well prepared.

Bonus articles

If you are a beginner to the triathlon sport, you check out these two articles to help introduce you to the basics of triathlon.

Top 50 must-know tips for every beginner triathlete.

Top 30 Newbie Triathlon Mistakes You Are Probably Doing!


An extreme triathlete who have competed in dozens of triathlons including IronMans and Extreme triathlons.

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