Swimming for many triathletes is the most challenging part of a triathlon. Here are a few pointers to help you get through the swim. Using your brain when you swim will help you exit the water sooner.
Practice drafting. Doing a triathlon is great for this. So is getting a few same speed swimmers together at the local swimming hole. Use every opportunity to practice, even if it is in a race.
Look forward in the water to find the bubbles coming off the feet in front of you for a draft. There isn’t much need to lift the head to find the feet when you can follow the bubbles by looking forward.
The more you look to see where you’re going the harder the swim is. Sight once every 20-30 strokes not every 4-6.
If you have a long, slow swim stroke, ride someone’s hip. Not as good as their feet but allows you to swim in cleaner water.
Start the swim riding a hip. You can always take a few easy strokes to get back to their feet once things sort out. Lose their feet, often times there is no getting back on.
Don’t be a Lemming. For many people, getting to the outside of the pack will enable you to swim faster then struggling within the pack to find decent water.
Use the surroundings to help navigate. Is there a shoreline you can sight off of, trees, a pier, boats or other swimmers? Get landmarks in your mind before the gun goes off. Use these things for gross navigation. Lift your head to fine tune where you are going.
Know someone who is just a bit faster then you? Line up right next to them, after the initial drag race, slot in behind them.
If you start in the second or later waves, there is usually a line of colored caps to follow. If you breath left, move to the right of this line. If you breath right move to the left. You can use the earlier waves to sight without lifting your head.