Always wanted to compete in a triathlon, but daunted by the thought of ocean swimming with all those sporty types and who knows what lurking beneath the surface? When your practice has taken place in the safety of a swimming pool complex, open water swimming can be a stark contrast.
With these handy hints, your first open swim event won’t be so much of a culture shock.
Invest in the right gear
A borrowed wetsuit two-sizes-too-small will feel like it is cutting off the circulation to your brain and is likely slow you down changing between stages, as you contort yourself like a pretzel in an attempt squeeze into the rubbery contraption. Purchase a correct-fitting wetsuit, it’s a great good investment you’ll be able to use it when you take up surfing, paddle boarding or even snorkelling.
Good anti-fog goggles with an adjustable headband will ensure a good fit, that won’t leak or exasperate you by slowing your pace.
Don’t forget to try out your gear prior to the race, even if it’s in a bathtub of cold water.
Easier said than done when you’re thinking about all the nasty things in the ocean that bite and sting If your fear is sharks, remember there are race officials keeping an eye on all the swimmers and sharks are less likely to attack a group of swimmers. If a healthy fear of sharks isn’t motivation enough to keep pace with the rest of the pack, we don’t know what is!
Use Freestyle stroke
Freestyle is the stroke of choice for endurance swimming. Keep a constant rhythm with a kick every two strokes. Inhale and exhale, nice and slowly. Rapid breathing will make you feel panic-stricken. If you start to tire, flip over on to your back and float until you feel able to continue.
Watch where you are going
There aren’t floating lane markers to keep you swimming in a straight line. Be sure to pick out visual landmarks to avoid drifting with currents. Time tracking your landmarks to coincide with your stroke will help you swim in a straight line.
Once you have your ocean swimming down pact, you can focus on your running and cycling stages.