This follows up Part 1 and Part 2 of common triathlon swimming techniques and remedies, and Evan’s tips on the best use of a public pool for training and a simple effective front crawl stroke tip.
I’ve written various How To’s about different aspects of open water swimming in detail. This post is intended to be a general round-up of maybe useful advice for triathletes (based on substantial open water swimming experience).
- Open water practice is different and separate to pool practice, and equally essential. You need both.
- Breathing and sighting are two SEPARATE activities. Breathe to the side. Sight from LOW over the water (think of it as crocodile eyes).
- Getting through large breaking waves is simple and quick (once you’ve practised it). Dive under them. Don’t try to go over or through.
- Different wind strengths and directions (to your swimming direction) change the water conditions in different ways. Practice in all weather conditions.
- My idea of cold and your idea of cold are different because you are wearing a wetsuit. I prepare for my temperatures, you MUST prepare for yours, even with a wetsuit.
- Practice in open water well in advance of your event, and practice repeatedly.
- Navigation is a learned skill. Pick something above the water and work out how often you need to sight forward to swim straight. Expect the number to be low at the beginning.
- Few people are as good at sighting as they think they are. Most are worse. There are too many variable to always be certain you are swimming straight.
- Practice turns around buoys.
- Common technique causes of drifting off-course are crossing over the body centreline with your arm and breathing to one side (where it unbalances the swimmer). Address these in your pool training.
- Controlled breathing is important. Don’t hold your breath.
- Don’t concentrate on lowering your stroke rate, or gliding. (Yes, I know many of you try to do the opposite).
- Do increase your stroke rate. And train for this.
- Forget Total Immersion.
- Don’t kick hard.
- Don’t sprint at the start.
- Don’t wear new goggles for a race.
- Don’t start at the front of a race wave if you’ve never done so before.
- Expect full contact with other swimmers. To avoid contact start slightly behind the pack.
- Swim to the side of the pack.
- Don’t trust that the pack knows where it’s going.
- My sport is more extreme and dangerous than yours but yours is more popular and with a higher fatality rate. That can be reduced by better understanding of and preparation for open water.
- Just because water is soft, doesn’t mean it’s easy. Train appropriately.
- The best safety decisions are made outside of the water.
- Your wetsuit is NOT an open water safety aid. Don’t use it as such to enter a swim you are not sure you are capable of completing
- “How much do I need to swim for – x – open water distance?” (loneswimmer.com)
- HOW TO: Swimming in rough water (loneswimmer.com)
- HOW TO: Open Water breathing patterns (loneswimmer.com)
- How To: “How much do I need to swim for – x – open water distance?”
- Swimming for beginning open water swimmers and triathletes is like planting a tree. Twenty common beginner triathlete questions answered.
4 thoughts on “How To: Open Water Swim Tips for Triathletes”
Great Tips for swimming racer! thank you.
Reblogged this on the5krunner and commented:
The best post I’ve read so far with OWS tips. Great summary and insight
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