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Four Tips for Racing in Open Water

Goggle choice

On a bright sunny day a pair of mirrored goggles can help eliminate glare and make sighting easier. Polarised goggles will block the light off the water and make under water seem much clearer.


Learn the course and imagine swimming it

Plan your route before you train. Get into the habit of looking at the swim course. Take a mental note of land marks and immovable objects on the shore – the OWS training location differs each week. Visualise before getting in and even run through the motions. Using imagery and visualisation techniques before racing will really help you prepare, alleviate pre-race anxiety and give you confidence in your ability.


Spacial awareness

Reduce the head lift when sighting. Lifting your head right out of the water will cause your hips and legs to drop, which creates drag. Sight frequently using the crocodile eyes technique but don’t expect to have a clear visual every look. Sighting then breathing will reduce head movement and increase spacial awareness. Breathing bilaterally will even up your stroke and give you a view right and left. Try to get in the habit of ‘seeing’ when you move your head


Drafting tactics

Some people say that drafting in open water can save 30% of energy. You need to be tactical in your choice when drafting other swimmers. Consider their current swim speed, consider their direction, ask yourself if you should draft behind or off to the side for a better view ahead and don’t be afraid to either drop back or swim on if you are not totally happy. If you get your tactics right, drafting will give you an advantage and often a faster time.




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