Open Water Swimming Tips For Triathlon Racing
Open water swimming is one of the most feared parts of a triathlon. Conditions can often test the most experienced pool swimmer. There is only one way to improve though, and that is to get out there and practice.
- Ensure you are confident swimming in a pool and have practiced sighting and swimming longer distances.
- Swim with a buddy in open water- always!
- Choose a location which suits your ability and the aims of the session.
- Know the local conditions such as wind, wave and current strength & direction, other water users, water quality & temperature etc.
- Choose markers eg. buoys or poles to mark out a course.
- Fit your wetsuit (if applicable) carefully. Ensure that it is not too big to take on water & is pulled up with maximum amount of neoprene around your shoulders & back for improved mobility.
- Wear lubrication around your neck, shoulders and any other place it may rub on your skin.
- Wade carefully into the water to avoid sea life, rocks, glass etc.
- Choose a object to sight and swim to, if it is a small object consider sighting something larger on the land to assist you.
- Sight every 4-6 strokes by lifting your head so just your goggles are out of the water during the catch phase of your stroke. Breathe to the side after sighting.
- Swim with your buddy and frequently check each other’s location.
- Breathe every 2-3 strokes to maintain adequate oxygen levels.
- If you are anxious, panic or begin to hyperventilate either roll onto your back, swim a few strokes of backstroke or freestyle until you regain regular breathing patterns.
- Ensure you exhale fully under water with each few strokes. Humming or singing can assist this.
- If someone decides to swim on top of you in a race- try and relax, kick a little more to help get them off you, sight and move away from them.
- Practice drafting either on the feet or hip.
- Practice swimming in swell, wind chop, under waves and catching waves into the beach
- Do efforts or time trials (time or distance) focusing on finishing stroke all the way through to leg and higher cadence strokes
GPC Squad offer over 5 swimming sessions per week including pool swim squads, stroke correction and open water swims (bay and ocean). Contact Stephane for more information.