3 Effective Strategies For Open Water Swimming

July 29, 2015

download (54)Summer is coming and that means it’s time to take those triathlon races outside! I guess the running and biking sections are already outside but with warm weather, the swimming section can head out there too!
Swimming in open water isn’t the same as swimming in lanes in a pool. There are many other factors to consider in order to make sure you’re successful. Here are a few strategies you can apply when you’re open water swimming:
 

It’s cold out there

download (55)First off, swimming in open water (like lakes or the ocean) isn’t like swimming in a pool. The water is usually a lot colder! So you are going to want to prepare for that by spending time in cold water.
Now, just like you can build a tolerance for hot water, you can build a tolerance for cold. But you have to work at it. Try starting a month before your race. If you can, go swim in water that will be similar to what you’re going to face. If not, then try taking really cold baths. It won’t be fun but it will take away the shock and give you an advantage over those who didn’t prepare. Word of warning: make sure you’re watching your body temprature and not going into hypothermia because that would be bad!
 

surf made easy

images (13)The biggest key to any race is preparation. You can often win a lot of races before they even start by learning what you’re going to face and training for it.
That is the case with surf and big waves. If you’re doing an ocean race, it can be intimidating just because it’s the ocean and that’s often unfamiliar territory. Then those rollers come in and it can be bad. So, here is what I suggest you do to prepare:
Practice running in the surf till the water is about to your knees. Then high knee it a little deeper. As the waves start to come in, dive forward under them. This maneuver will get you passed the surf and keep you moving forward. Make sure as you practice that you always swim with a buddy. The ocean is not very forgiving and a friend can always help!
 

Drafting

download (56)This is probably the biggest strategy to learn. The draft can save you a lot of energy. With the energy you save, you can pile it on at the very end for an awesome finish! When drafting, it’s important to figure out where the best line is to follow the lead person. Your best bet is just off to the side and back a few feet.
If you are right behind the lead, you will get a lot a turbulence from his or her kicks. Off to the side, you can stay in his or her wake. Added bonus: as you breathe, you can use the lead as a guide. That way, you don’t have to slow down to look around and see where you are all the time. This can really put you in a good position for a win!
 

One last THOUGHT

Like I said before, the best strategy I can share with you is to prepare as much as you can ahead of time. If you know your conditions and have trained for them, you will have a real leg up on the competition!  If you’re looking for more strategies for open water swimming, check out active.com. Also, when you’re training, don’t forget to take your Waterproof iPod Shuffle from Underwater Audio. Your music will help you train better and go longer than you ever thought you could. Until next time, swim fast and have fun!
 

Chris Cole
Chris Cole


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