4 Open Water Secrets for Age Groupers!
Most triathletes learn to swim in pools, where there are walls to push off from and lane ropes and black tiles to guide swimming in a straight line. However, the swim leg of most triathlons is held in open water, where there are none of these things. There’s also the current to think of!
Two of the fastest Pro swimmers in Super League Triathlon this season, Tommy Zaferes (USA) and Danielle de Francesco (AUS) were on hand this morning at Ayodya Beach to give some pointers for Age Group athletes testing the swim course for this weekend’s BCA Super League Bali. Here are four tips and tricks you can use on your next triathlon!
1. Learn to sight. You can look down and use the black lines on the bottom of the pool to swim straight, but swimming straight in open water means looking forward and up to orient yourself. This uses different muscles particularly in your neck and shoulders, so you should practice as part of your pool sessions. The water polo drill (swimming front crawl with head above water) is very useful.
2. The more you sight, the better. Watch a video of elite triathletes on the swim course and you’ll notice they look up every two or three strokes. This helps them minimise going in the wrong direction too long. “Five strokes wrong is five strokes too many,” quipped Zaferes during the swim session.
3. Running into the water and doing “dolphin dives” help you move faster during a beach start. Running is still faster than swimming, so if you are able to run through shallow water it can shave off seconds from your swim time and put you in a good position. Run until the water is knee-deep, then dive forward putting your arms above your head. If you can still plant your hands on the sand underwater, bring your feet towards your hands, plant them down, and push off into another dolphin dive. Repeat until the water becomes deep enough to swim in.
4. Use the current to your advantage. If you know where the current is going, you can use it to help you move faster. If the current is going from right to left, start right so you naturally get pushed left, and vice-versa so you don’t fight the current too much.
Best of luck to our 2,500 participants who get to race on the same course as the pros this weekend!