Open Water Swim Tips For Triathlon

by Pool Builders on 05-17-2009 in Articles

Practise. Practise with other experienced athletes before competing in an open water triathlon.. It can be a daunting experience to swim in open water. Triathletes who have many years experience often have apprehension in their first early seasons preparation swims in open water, this is perfectly normal.

Weaker swimmers who are practised at swimming in open water can beat faster pool swimmers by being confident and good at navigation. The ability to draft behind a faster swimmer can save energy and allow you to finish in a quicker time. Anyone can beat a swimmer who is slightly better by being more confident and concentrating, the second you do not concentrate you can easily go off course.

The difference between a nice warm swimming pool and open water is comparable with crazy pitch & putt and a championship golf course similar but not specific. In an indoor pool you can see where you are going, often able to stand up, use the black lines to swim in a straight line. Compare this to a large expanse of water, cannot see the bottom sometimes not even your hand in front of you and have to navigate around a route. Swimming pools have no wind (unless outdoor) no big waves no currents no floating debris and no buoys to swim around. You have to learn to swim in different conditions to learn personally. Continuous swimming in open water can be tiring because there are no ends to stop and turn.

In open water you have sometimes weed to contend with and jelly fish if swimming in the sea. Even in a wetsuit you can get cold swimming outdoors.

There may not be a current but a head wind can make it difficult and top drift can push you off course. Every time you make one wrong stroke that takes you off line it takes at least another one to get on track .If you only swim an extra 3% in 1500m you have covered an extra 50m which for a swimmer taking 30 minutes is an extra 1 minute wasted effort.

Swimming of the three sports is the event you can waste the most amount of energy not going in a straight line.

Fresh water always seems colder than seawater at equal temperatures. In our experience the sea can be 5 degrees lower and feel the same as fresh water.

Indoor swimming training tips. Open Water swim tips for triathlon Tread water then start swimming to get use to deep-water starts and turning around in preparation for swimming around buoys in open water. Get use to turning at the end either treading water or doing a u-turn without touching the end. Aim for a point and swim diagonally across the pool rather than up and down.

Learn to look up every 6-14 strokes aim for your water bottle at the opposite end or a clock. Swim water polo style, or doggy paddle keeping your head out of the water it uses different muscles and can cause fatigue. Learn to look up every 6-14 strokes aim for your water bottle at the opposite end or something else like a clock.

Another drill to do is if you have a friend swimming try the following at your swimming pool. Swimmer A swims one length as fast as they can. When they turn at the end and have to look up to see where Swimmer B has placed a plastic drinks bottle. Or agreed object any where along the width so Swimmer A has to swim back to that point. While swimmer A recovers while swimmer B repeats what A just did.

Swim at busy times get use to swimming around others and wavy conditions, the more you do this the easier open water swimming will seem.

Some pools have wave machines use this as practise, some adventurous triathletes try and do lengths when the fun sessions are on, they are wavy and lots of people to swim around.

Once you have accomplished sighting then venture to open water with a friend.

Open Water Warm-up If you are unable to get in and warm up before an event or the thought of getting in to warm up then out again puts you off. Jog gently for 5-10 minutes then do 10 arm swings forward 10 arm swings back with each arm 10 shoulder shrugs back and forwards. 10 punches alternate with each arm. Learn forward and imagine your are swimming turn your head to mimic breathing to make sure your swim hat is not rubbing on your neck, do this for 30 seconds. You are now ready to start.

Mark has crossed the finish line in over 400 triathlons in 15 countries.

For more info click onto Spreading the word of triathlon since 1983

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