LOST AT SEA?

Triathlon Magazine Canada - - SWIM BIKE RUN TRANSITION -

OCEAN SWIM­MING

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Prac­tice a straight arm re­cov­ery.

Your bent el­bow re­cov­ery is fine in the pool or calm lake, but when wave af­ter wave is wash­ing over you, you’ll find your re­cov­er­ing hand con­tin­u­ally get­ting slapped down. Each time it hap­pens you lose a stroke. It adds up. Try in­creas­ing your roll slightly, then whip that re­laxed arm straight up and over.

Re­con your es­cape.

Prior to the start of the race swim out from the swim exit sev­eral hun­dred me­tres, turn around and take in the shore. Find some­thing big to sight off – like a moun­tain, tree or build­ing. Do not count on see­ing buoys ev­ery time you sight. With the roll and the waves, more of­ten than not, when you look up to sight, you’ll find your­self star­ing at more wa­ter. Which leads us to tip num­ber 3.

Stick with the crowd.

If the ocean is rough and you’re get­ting tossed around, sight­ing can be a real chal­lenge. You look up only to get slapped in the face time and again, but, no mat­ter how rough it is, you will prob­a­bly be able to see a me­tre or two in front of you. Get in with a group and trust the di­rec­tion of those in front of you more than you would in a lake swim.

Keep your mouth shut.

It’s true you al­ways want to avoid drink­ing while swim­ming, but drink­ing ocean wa­ter can ruin your day. Be espe­cially con­scious of this.

Go with the flow.

Be con­scious of the wave pat­tern – espe­cially as you approach the beach. Fif­teen years ago I watched from the shore as Chris Mccormack slowed down in the last 100 me­tres of a swim leg. He kept look­ing be­hind him as the pack slowly pulled away. It was a draft-le­gal race. I thought he was throw­ing it away. I was wrong. He was look­ing for a wave. A good one came and he was up and on top of it. He shot past the com­pe­ti­tion, many of whom got washed un­der, was first on his bike and first to the fin­ish. You can’t fight waves. Don’t try to pick up your ef­fort as you’re be­ing moved in or­der to hold your line. Move with them. There is a caveat though. Read the next tip for that.

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