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First open water swim race - top tips req'd !

ok guys, It's the big one for me my first open water race with a mass start going in waves of aprox 50 people .
I'm confident in the open water but never had to face the melee of bodies during the race, I need some top tips to get me through it relatively unscathed so I can make to T1 safely.

Thanking you in advance


  • ZacniciZacnici Posts: 1,385
    Get in the water ASAP and totally immerse so that there are no more nasty shocks and have gotten that first trickle of cold water over. Just spend some time floating on your back turn over face down in water, blow bubbles - just get used to being in a big pond. Use this time to ensure your goggles fit. I put them on first and then the cap as it makes them harder to dislodge and more hydrodynamic.

    If you are at all nervous then start out to the side, as you progress you may surprise yourself as to how well you are doing and become more confident.

    Forget about everyone else, as you say it is a means to get to T1, sighting will be a problem so it is important that you know the layout of the buoys.

    Concentrate on your stroke, a more efficient stroke is faster than rapid arm movements and splashing. You may find yourself getting a bit short of breathe just decrease the number of strokes between breathing, there is no point getting into oxygen debt right at the start.

    Those are my thoughts and I am a crap swimmer. Don't worry you will be OK.

    Good luck
  • andyb99andyb99 Posts: 229
    grand master conehead gave me the best advice. swim your own swim.....and swim it as slow as you can....once you find your pace you'll forget the nerves and be just fine.

    which race are you doing?
  • andyb99 wrote:
    and swim it as slow as you can
    Not sure this is a sound piece of advice really............it is a race after all.

    Just go out there and smash the crap out of it.............
  • jamewahjamewah Posts: 113
    Thanks guys, some usefull tips I will bear in mind.

    The race I'm doing has been organised by the local triathlon club in the area, I know one of the members so he managed to talk them round into letting me enter, looking on thier website it looks like it's going to be one of their biggest end of season races so I gues I won't be the only ringer !

    oh, one more question, what lube is recommended to put around your wrists and ankles ? I know there are specific lubes out there made for the job but are there any cheap alternatives in the household that won't wreck my suit such as beef dripping or lard ? only joking, Tim Don reckons baby oil ?

  • transittransit Posts: 163
    For lube I use some J&J baby oil type stuff, it doesn't have petroleum jelly in it.....and when I do triathlon I use....

    First time I did a OW tri, the whistle went and I got a boot in the face! - my tip would be to get in a flat position ready to start swimming as the guy calls you to order eg legs floating behind you, not underneath you - it means you don't waste time getting into a swimming postion and therefore wont' get flattened by someone behind.

    Other tip would be to draft someone where possible. the odd peek to sight where necessary but the rest of the time I just follow someone else.

    Good Luck
  • JulesJules Posts: 987
    First mass start? Start at the back. That way you'll miss the "aquaruck" at the start. Everyone will spread out after a minute or two and you can work your way through people.

    Alternatively, if you think you're quick enough, start at the very front and get clear of everyone!
  • andyb99andyb99 Posts: 229
    i was gonna say that to elaborate on what i'd wrote but i couldn't do the quote thing on this shite forum so left it
  • willtriwilltri Posts: 436
    It was more of a swim you're own swim (as a rookie) and don't try and break the 50m world record at the start, leaving yourself hyperventillating and breast-stroking the rest of the swim.
    Which is what i've done on both my mass starts so far.... not sunday though - nice and easy and get quicker at the end!!
  • If you breath to your right then start with everyone to your right and vice versa if you breath on your left.
    Don't start in the middle whatever you do unless you are a 18 minute 1500m swimmer. Starting at the side you can see how close to people you are with no one or hardly anyone on your non breathing side that may come over the top of you.
    Remember in open water there is no black line or lane rope to keep you perfectly straight and the same applies to other swimmers, you will swim at a slightly different angle to other swimmers from time to time therefore swimming into others or others swimming into you, but it is alway's best to have swimmers on your breathing side in view.
  • If you are a confident and farely decent swimmer then personally I think that the whole open water swim thing is over hyped and you will be fine. It's a fun experience.

    Agree with quite a few of the comments in a nutshell I would recommend:
    - Goggles strap should be under your swim cap. That way they are secure if someone accidentally kicks/hits you.
    - Get into the water as soon as you can. Get used to the cold water - put your head under the water a few times so that ALL your body is COMPLETELY submerged. You may find yourself breathless when entering your head into the water the first few times.
    - Lay flat on your back/stomach to claim your space otherwise you may get a kick in the face when the whistle blows
    - Make sure that you have access to the zipper leash so that you will be able to access it when you exit and want to remove your suit.
    - Make sure you know where the turn around/cornering buoys are
    - If you are a confident swimmer start farely strong and then find your pace. If you are less confident then stick to the side/back and go at an easy pace to build your confidence.
    - Last but certainly not least - your time chip should be UNDER your wet suit not above it. Sounds obvious but in all the excitement there are always people who get it wrong.

    Good luck!
  • - Make sure that you have access to the zipper leash so that you will be able to access it when you exit and want to remove your suit.
    I've really struggled with unzipping my wetsuit in the past because of this, then read a tip about tucking the end of the zip under the back of the swimming cap, and since then I've not had a problem - out of the water, grab the leash in one hand, un-velcro the tab with the other, and then pull down!
  • +1

    My London photos comprise me in an every increasing state of panic trying to find the bloody thing.
  • ShaggyShaggy Posts: 140
    if you are confident then why not get in the middle and make the most of an experience to get battered about and see what it's like. 50 in a wave will spread out quite quickly, byt then next season you'll be ready for the ruckus. Depends what you want from the experience.

    don't need anything to lube ankles/wrists really, but make sure back of neck is comfortable or use bodyglide here. Saw a couple of bleeding gashes on the back of necks running out of IM, that's got to sting later.

    definitely anti-fog your goggles

    just before you stand up to get out of the water, pull the front of the neck open and let water flood into the chest. When you stand up it runs down your legs and your suit pulls off much easier (thanks to Mr Kiddle)

    good luck
  • jibby26jibby26 Posts: 261
    Shaggy wrote:

    don't need anything to lube ankles/wrists really, but make sure back of neck is comfortable or use bodyglide here. Saw a couple of bleeding gashes on the back of necks running out of IM, that's got to sting later.
    Definately lube the neck, not just under the suit but a bit higher too. I forgot to do this for the Bournemouth 3.8km swim and my neck got rubbed raw, hurt like hell (and bled) for nearly 2 weeks afterwards.

    Check the course out when you get there if it is sunny and early morning then there is the chance one of the buoys may be under the sun (if it's yellow too it will be impossible to see) so try to find a tree or something behind it on shore that can be used to sight on.
  • jamewahjamewah Posts: 113
    hi guys

    Sorry for the late reply but just a quick thanks for the all the tips, they really helped.
    I know your all waiting in anticipation for the result so here goes
    Swim split for the 400m was 6:51 (11th overall)
    Bike split was 34:26 for 14 miles (6th overall)
    Run split for 4 miles was 28:20 (16th overall)
    total 1:09:37 8th overall

    was really pleased, and the swim set me off for a crackin good race
    Full of confidence for the Humber sprint Tri this weekend, pool swim though
    Boo !

    cheers guys !
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