- Try to sight every 3-5 strokes to make sure you are heading in a straight line.
- If there is someone right in front of you, try to tuck in on their feet to get an effective draft. You can expend much less effort going the same speed if you sit on someone’s feet!
- Practice! The best way to feel comfortable swimming in a group is to practice swimming with a group. Find 3-4 friends and practice diving in the water together, and intentionally swimming close together so that you get comfortable with contact. You can also practice in a pool, swimming side-by-side in the same lane.
- Vaseline! For maximum comfort and less chafing, use vaseline on your neck, and around your ankles so that the wetsuit slips off easily when you’re transitioning to the bike.
-Familiarize yourself with the course. The day before the race, make sure you scout out the turns, the direction of the course, and the entry & exit points. The more familiar you are with the swim course, the less likely you are to panic when there are people all around you.
- Slot yourself in the appropriate start corral. You know what your realistic swim time will be, so starting in the right corral will allow you to be swimming with people of your speed. This will be less overwhelming and more efficient.
- Have fun and stay calm. If you get hit or feel crowded, it’s okay to stop for a minute to catch your breath. Reset, regroup, and then keep going.
- Increase your kicking 200 meters from the finish line. You’re about to stand up and run fast to transition, so focusing on kicking hard for the last few hundred meters will bring some blood flow to your legs, and might even let you pass a few more people!
- Paula Findlay
Follow Paula on Instagram @paula_findlay