Race your best

Men's Fitness - - Features -


“At the start, po­si­tion your­self depend­ing on how strong a swim­mer you are,” says Rooke. “Faster swim­mers should be at the front look­ing for the short­est line to the first turn buoy. Weaker swim­mers should stay at the back and wait un­til they have a bet­ter chance of hav­ing a good, com­fort­able start.” Re­mem­ber, get­ting swum over and dunked will prob­a­bly more than can­cel out the few sec­onds you’ll gain by lead­ing the pack.


Sighting, or fol­low­ing the buoys to stay on course, is just as im­por­tant as tech­nique so prac­tise it ahead of time. In calm wa­ter, like a lake or river, aim to just lift your eyes out of the wa­ter, press­ing slightly down in the “catch” of your stroke and arch­ing your back to min­imise drag. Sight ev­ery other stroke for two or three strokes – first to look for the buoy, then to ad­just your an­gle. Re­peat af­ter 30 sec­onds.


“It’s very easy to start at high in­ten­sity,” says Rooke. “Un­less you can keep that pace up for the en­tirety of the swim race, I’d sug­gest find­ing a good rhythm early and hold­ing that pace. Just be­fore ex­it­ing the wa­ter, in­crease your leg kick – this will in­crease blood flow to your ex­trem­i­ties, re­duc­ing the dizzy feel­ing you may get when go­ing from a hor­i­zon­tal po­si­tion to a ver­ti­cal one quickly. Prac­tise this in train­ing just like any other part of the race.”

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