Behind Every Smooth There's a Gaggle Of Bloodsucking Swingers

If you're fortunate enough to be a Smooth Swim Type you may have a problem when swimming in open water. From your pool swimming background you've got the ability to go off fast and lead the race. In traditional pool based races this method always worked well for you and more often than not you led from start to finish.

Unfortunately in open water things can be a little different. For a start many of those guys with seemingly ungainly strokes who you can drop in the pool can be really very fast in more choppy open water conditions. These unrefined Swingers have a shorter faster stroke than yourself which helps them punch through the waves and chop from other swimmers at close quarters. Worse still, these guys are often very savvy about the benefits of drafting (up to a 38% energy saving) and have the sort of personality which enjoys the rough and tumble of swimming close to other swimmers. This pack of Swingers will love nothing more than seeing you going off fast and like a group of vultures will jump on your feet and get a free high speed ride (you can almost hear them cackling to themselves).

Our advice for Smooths swimming in open water is to learn to play the game: Become familiar with good sighting technique and practise your drafting skills. Sit in the pack and bide your time to unleash your devastating finish when it's needed. Don't be afraid to modify your stroke, experimenting with a higher arm recovery and a slightly shorter punchier style to power through waves and chop.

Swimming in open water is great fun and with your skill and technical ability you are more than capable of adapting to this new environment. In time you can learn to dominate it too, just watch out for those bloodsucking Swingers.

Swim Smooth!

(If this post didn't make any sense to you, you need to see our new Swim Type system: The power of Swim Types is that it helps you understand your individuality as a swimmer.)


Susan Roberts said...

This is a start, but what about us slow light-weight (and new) swimmers... we get bounced around with swells, buoyancy of needed wetsuit, and pounded by other swimmers. One cannot see the buoys in the swells and sunlight. I do swim away from others but hence increase my time. How do you handle these conditions? You're definitely right: pool swim is fairly irrelevant to open water rough conditions! Teach us to swim there, please....... Thanks and Thanks, Susan

Anonymous said...

speaking as a punchy, unrefined bloodsucking "swinger", I thank you good swimmers for making my swim easier. No, you can't draft me. I am too slow. Until I am behind you.

ian said...

as a round the cans surfclub swimmer the most important things for me have always been quick,high leg running into water,followed by good duckdiving.A big kick on resurfacing matters also.I have generally kept to two beat kick inbetween sets for balance along with a wide arm entry,there is nothing worse than crossing the bodies centreline as it feels like your being rolled over.High stroke rates and even half strokes are very handy in the rough stuff.A good kick will get you onto the waves on the way back also.

Adam Young said...

Hi Susan,

The key for yourself is to develop a good rhythm to the stroke without any dead spots. A little bit of punch and rhythm to the stroke really helps stabilise yourself and move effectively through the waves and wakes from other swimmers in open water.

If you haven't seen it already, check out this video of Hannah who we helped develop such a stroke. Hannah successfully swum the 20km Ocean swim from Perth to Rottnest Island in February:

I hope that helps.

Cheers, Adam

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