How to Navigate the Tides in Open Water Triathlon Swimming

by Pool Builders on 10-15-2010 in Articles

When you're easing through the water in a training pool, swimming seems fairly simple and straightforward. But when you attempt open-water swimming for the first time, you will find the experience totally different. All of the conditions that make it open-water (waves, temperature, current, and wind) will be very noticeable and distracting, especially until you learn to manage the tides.

Some race days will turn out wind-free, calm, beautiful, and perfect - but then, you might also get stormy weather, rain, or high wind gusts before or during your competition. All of these factors will affect the water you'll be swimming in.

How to Prepare for Tides

You'll never get used to swimming through the tides on race day unless you practice swimming through the tides. While training, add in swims in a variety of different water conditions - swim in the rain, in the cold, in the wind, and during stormy weather. This will prepare you and build the skill sets necessary for you to be successful during the swim portion of your triathlon on race day.

How to Swim through Waves

The human body is programmed to pull out of the water when we swim into waves, to avoid swallowing water. Unfortunately, this is the exact opposite of what you should be doing during a swim race. Your shoulders often come out of the water when your head is raised - and the water could push you backwards when it hits you. This will destroy any progress in your swim. To avoid this, keep your head down and ride the waves as naturally as you can. By doing this, you don't fight against the natural motion of the waves and you will make progress, even though it might not seem like it at times.

Proper training and knowing what challenges to expect during a triathlon will help you to be successfully prepared for your upcoming race.

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