Open Water Swim Racing Tips


Some quick fire tips for swim race day

Gain yourself a little time on race day with these open water swim tips. If you are new to open water swimming you might find that some of these pointers save you some valuable time and some embarrassing mistakes on race day.

  • Get your wetsuit to fit comfortably using plastic bags. With a garment that fits so tightly, the challenge is how to get it on without damaging the suit or chafing or trapping your skin.  Watch this video for tips on getting the perfect wetsuit fit including how to make very good use of two plastic bags!
  • Lube up that neck! Use suit lube, arnica, aloe vera gel or other lubricant to reduce chafing at the neck. You can also use some lube on the outside of your wetsuit at the wrists to ease removal of your wetsuit at the end of your swim.
  • Bring along two pairs of goggles. Always take along two pairs of goggles.  If you don’t, Murphy’s Law dictates that the strap will snap on the start line.
  • Layer those hats! Whether you use a neoprene hat or not put your hat on, then put your goggles over the top and then a second swim cap. This keeps your head warm, stops you losing your goggles and it looks a bit pro too.
  • Make sure to note the colours of the buoys in the water and their meaning before you set off. If you know what colour the turn buoys are, and whether they are different in colour to guide buoys you will save yourself a potential race day disaster.
  • Check if the kayak on the water is a safety boat or if it is a lead on the course.
  • In the water, drafting saves lot of energy and reduces the concentration levels needed for sighting when swimming solo. Just make sure your lead is taking you in the right direction!
  • You need to choose your place on the start line in a deep water start. If you are fast and confident or tough you can go on the front directly in line with the first buoy. If you are less confident or slower you may choose to go to the side of the pack and swim longer but in clear water with less risk of being dunked or swum over.
  • As with any race you need to choose your place wisely. Your style will be unique to you, so learn what your style is.  Do you prefer a quick start to get a lead early on, or are you better suited to a calmer pace to get you further with less exhaustion?
  • Practice getting out of your wetsuit. All that time spent swim training to swim faster will come to nothing if you waste triathlon transition time on getting your arms or feet stuck, or because you can’t grab your zip.
  • Since we are talking about zips… When leaving the water, your dexterity is not all it should be and grappling with a zip that is located in the middle of your back can make it all that little bit harder. HUUB wetsuits have a breakaway zip to make getting out of your wetsuit much easier.
  • Removing your wetsuit with a timing clip. If you have cut the legs on your wetsuit short to get it off quickly, will it get stuck on the timing clip? Forewarned is forearmed.


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