Posts Tagged ‘Sarah Anne’

Advice for Swimming TI in Open Water


This question from a swimmer who completed our Brisbane workshop as preparation for the Noosa Triathlon:

“Is there anything I should be focusing on that is more relevant for the tri swims compared to pool swims?”

Open Water Start


Some responses from the TI coaches:


Steve van Bodegraven (Cairns, QLD)

  • First, preparation. Practice swimming TI lots, explore your swimming using the drills in the workshop booklet, and in time I feel you will enjoy every one of your open water swims – as I am starting to. Practice is important.
  • Preparation will allow you to feel calm on race day. You will know that you have the knowledge and skills to enjoy the swim, and swim the way that fits into your race plan.
  • On the start line, be a body of calm and help other swimmers around you to feel that. Help to settle their concerns if they air them to you (blokes usually don’t do this though, we usually take the piss out of one another – I imagine the girls are a little friendlier though – maybe not). Being calm is important. Knowing that you know something that they don’t know – TI swimming.
  • The pack is going to start out quickly and in a rush with a lot of motion. I like to accept that this is occurring and be pulled along in the draft – just like we practiced – it’s a great feeling and a great energy saver, at a time when everybody else is expending theirs.
  • As the pack starts to thin out, find your own space and settle into your TI swimming. At this time and throughout the swim I start to check-in with each part of my stroke and see if there is anything I would like to change. I can be a little out of shape to begin with, but within a few hundred meters at most will be settled and comfortable with a nice rhythm.
  • If the water is choppy, really focus on:
  1. having wide tracks – which means having your arms on your tracks, in the very least, but possible only slightly wider,
  2. ‘lengthening your vessel’, from the tip of your head down to the tip of your toes, as the more surface area we occupy the more stable we will be, and
  3. r e l a x your neck and shoulders, feel for the catch
  • Swim the swim your way, enjoy it and set-up your bike and run!

I recently purchased the ‘Outside the Box: Total Immersion Program for Success in Open Water‘ DVD which provides a nice perspective of open water swimming, and contains great examples of how to round buoys and sight markers / navigate while maintaining your perpetual freestyle stroke.


Ben Wearing (Manly, NSW)

Noosa tends to get jam packed. Being calm and settling into your stroke as soon as possible is the best way to make the swim feel easy and set up your day!

From memory Noosa is a deepwater start (you start in the water and can’t touch the bottom), it is also a course that goes anti-clockwise. It will help if:

1. You are floating on you belly before the gun goes, this spreads you out in the water giving you more space around you so other swimmers don’t jam you, it also allows a quicker start than treading water as you will already be horizontal. 

2. Start to the far right hand side of the pack. As Steve said the pack rushes at the start. By keeping them to your left you can settle into your own rythm a lot quicker as there will be no-one trying to swim into you from the right.

3. Nearly everyone starts the race like it’s 100m Olympic final, by 200m they are toast. Focus on long, easy breaths, this will bring on your smooth, even stroke at the start. Do it and you will be passing the “toast” and feeling like a dream a few hundred metres into the swim.


Sarah Anne Evans (Manly, NSW)

Having moved here recently from the UK, I haven’t taken part in many Tri’s here as yet, but the water sure is alot warmer here than back home! The guys have given you some fantastic advice and covered everything. I really only have a couple of small things to add:

  • When you’re about 20mtrs from exiting the swim it’s a good idea to start kicking gently to help circulate blood through your legs and get them ready for running to transition and hoping on your bike.
  • Also at this point run through in your head the order you’re going to do things in transition onto the bike. Again this helps you stay focused and calm.
  • Remember to keep that calm zen like feeling from your swim into transition and beyond.

TI is great for setting a level of sublime peace in the swim and that you can carry through the to bike and run, when everyone else is in their own race fog!

Enjoy and GOOD LUCK.
Sarah Anne