You’ve put in the hard work and preparation to get you ready for open water swimming, but what should do once the starting gun goes? ELT’s Head coach writes up her top tips here.

If you haven’t read the first set of tips, ‘Getting Ready for Open Water Swimming’ you can find it here.

Remember the route

Having planned in advance, you should be clear on the most direct route to take around the swim. It is worth sighting every 6-8 strokes to avoid veering off-course. Few people swim in a perfectly straight line and less frequent sighting can lead to an unnecessarily long swim.


It is legal to draft in the swim section of races. This is achieved by swimming alongside another swimmer with your hand entry at the knee position of your chosen ride. This can reduce the amount of effort you put in by up to 15%. It is important not to touch the other swimmer, as once they realise what you are doing they are unlikely to be very happy about it!

You should rely on your own sighting, as an easier swim may not be a faster swim if the swimmer you choose to draft off has no sense of direction.

Focus on your stroke

In the heat of a race it is easy to give no thought whatsoever to your stroke However, focusing on this can take your mind off the cold and will also make your swimming more efficient. It is a shame to make all that effort in the pool working on your stroke and making your swim faster, only to let it all go during the race. Longer and more powerful strokes will allow you to reduce the number of strokes you take over the race, which in turn, should make you less tired on exiting.


Categories: Training