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Time difference open water v pool swimming?

I'm due to do at least one open water event next year. I'm buying a wetsuit after Christmas and will be getting some open water practice in in the spring.

I was curious as to how people find their time differs for the same distance in open water as opposed to a pool? I assume an open water swim would be quicker due to extra bouancy from the wetsuit (assuming you don't do pool training in it) and quicker because of of no turns, but slower (in a race) because of the number of people in the water.

I wondered what the overall effect was?


  • bennybenny Posts: 1,314
    My times in open water are a bit faster than pool times.

    reasons: more bouyancy, drafting!!, no turning(though lots of people gain time in the pool by pushing off the wall hard).

    Good luck; once you get over the first few OW training,You'll love it!
  • It's pretty hard to compare as the open water has all sorts of added difficulties over the pool. Swimming in a straight line can be tricky, getting blocked or having to deal with physical contact. accurately timing the distance. Even accurately measuring the distance.

    If you can tumble turn though, you will lose all that advantage from the big push.

    In general though, unless you have really good balance in the water, using a wetsuit should improve your speed in openwater. What the rest does to you times is anyones guess (and most of the others will have the same increases in time too).
  • BopomofoBopomofo Posts: 980
    Swimming in open water is usually quicker, as you say because of the wet-suit. There is even more of a gain if you have poor swimming technique as the suit will help lift your legs properly - a common problem with weaker swimmers.

    In salt water and a wet suit you may be even quicker due to the extra bouyancy of the salt. Personally I struggle a little with this, as it is almost impossible to kick properly.

    This would all be just for training purposes.

    For an open water race, well, your mileage will vary depending on where you are in the pack. I swim slower in an OW race (25-26-ish mins for 1500m compared to 22:30 in a pool) mainly because it is quite competitive in the top half of the pack, and personally I find that being punched in the back of the head repeatedly and having my goggles kicked off slows me down. [;)]
  • JulesJules Posts: 987
    Bopomofo wrote:

    quite competitive in the top half of the pack

    One problem I probably won't have this year [:D]
  • nivaghnivagh Posts: 595
    aztechnology wrote:

    If you can tumble turn though, you will lose all that advantage from the big push.

    Can you clarify? Surely you can tumble and push hard?
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