Gameplan: How to swim better in open water

Jake De Guzman

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Gameplan: How to swim better in open water
Got the jitters? Here are some tips from the pro swimmers

MANILA, Philipines – If doing a triathlon is on your bucket list or has become part of your lifestyle, then sometime soon, you’ll encounter the open water swim.  Swimming in open water has its unique set of challenges. Unlike in a pool, there are no lane lines, the water may have waves and currents and in a triathlon there many others swimming right beside you.

These tips from Coach Moi Yamoyam of the Swim Academy should help anyone in an open water swim triathlon.

1.     Warm-up and visualize a good swim. Pre race nerves and swimming anxiety can be managed by warming up and getting used to the water and the conditions. Visualizing a good swim from start to finish also helps the mind create positive images that manages anxiety.

2.     Pick your starting position. If you’re fast and competitive, starting near the front might be the best. If you’re worried about swimming in the equivalent of a human-powered washing machine, you can start in the back and allow everyone else to go first.

3.     Sight for navigation points. To find your way in open water, scout out navigation points in every turn you have to make. Tall structures that stand out are the best: a mountain ridge, a building, an anchored ship. Once you have those in your mind, make sure you sight for them while swimming. Simply lift your head enough to see in front of you. Practicing this in the pool will help make it feel natural.

4.     Know how to turn.  Turning fast on buoys can give a triathlete the few seconds lead to position well and get more space vs. those swimming beside him or her. If it’s a small buoy, as your lead shoulder passes the buoy, rotate the other shoulder and flip towards the direction you need to go. If it’s a big buoy keep on pointing your lead arm to where you want to go until you clear the turn.

Coach Moi recommends that you practice these techniques in training so that when you get to open water, the skills will feel natural and you’ll have a more enjoyable first leg of your race. –


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