How Do You Swim Straight in the Open Water?

by Pool Builders on 06-14-2007 in Articles

Swimming straight is a major challenge to open water swimming (and even swimming
in a pool with lane lines!), and the key lies in one of our other fun challenges in swimming: breathing!

Here's a quick guide to swimming straight:

1. Simply doing alternate (or bi-lateral) breathing would go a long way towards making you swim in a straight. If you are comfortable with this, breathe every 3 strokes and you will be much more in line with where you want to go.

2. If you cannot get enough oxygen while breathing bilaterally, this can be a big problem on a distance swim. Practice swimming and breathing 2 strokes on the left, 2 on the right, then go to 3 breaths left, 3 right. Then try 2 on the left, 1 on the right, 3-1, etc. Find what works for in keeping you in line and stick with that plan in your race.

3. Practice sighting less often, as this will disrupt your stroke rhythm and balance. If you tend to sight every 4 strokes, lower this to 6, then 8. See if you can get to 12 strokes head down and one peak up. You can do some of this in a pool but getting in the lake or ocean will be essential before you race!

4. Keep your strokes long and extend that arm out in front on each stroke and drive it forward.

5. Practice the One Arm Drill (in the Complete Guide), and pay attention to your arm pull, making sure you are not crossing in with your hand.

6. Practice open water swimming. Just being used to the environment will get you more comfortable, and you will intuitively pick up on swimming straight out there.

Notice the use of the word "practice" consistently throughout these tips. Keep that in mind as you learn this new skill!

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