The discipline of swimming can be overwhelming, but when you add on open water swimming – many triathletes falter. Here is a survival guide of tips to open water swimming from an Ironman Finisher.

 

1. Be aggressive.

I have been elbowed, kicked, pushed, and literally have had someone swim over me (REALLY scary). Something I have had to learn to do is be more aggressive during OWS. If someone is putting your safety at risk, don’t be afraid to push them away. Now don’t go and endanger their safety, but it’s a dog eat dog world in the water.

If someone is putting your safety at risk, don’t be afraid to push them away. Now don’t go and endanger their safety, but it’s a dog eat dog world in the water.

 

2. Sight often.

You do not want to waste time and energy swimming off course. Practice in the pool sighting every third breath or so.

Practice in the pool sighting every third breath or so.

 

3. Start slow. 

Look, this is just the first stage of your race, don’t expend all your energy early on. Conserve your energy and find your rhythm. I cannot tell you how many races I have passed people on the bike and run that swam their hearts out.

Conserve your energy and find your rhythm. I cannot tell you how many races I have passed people on the bike and run that swam their hearts out.

 

4. Practice in the water temperature

Practice in water that is similar to what your race will be. I did an olympic distance where the water was so cold I suffered from shock and could barely swim. I had to breast stroke the entire 1500 meter swim. I was not prepared for the ridiculousness of the cold water that I was in. Do not make the same mistake as I did.

I was not prepared for the ridiculousness of the cold water that I was in. Do not make the same mistake as I did.

 

5. Practice swimming in your wetsuit.

I have a girl friend who did not do well in her wetsuit, she felt she couldn’t breath. That is a not a good way to start your race… breathing is rather important.

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About Author

Team USA Athlete. Lawyer. Business Consultant. She current competes in multisport events and lives in Virginia with her five kids, Military Veteran husband and two rescue puppy dogs.

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