Hopefully you've been developing your swim fitness and refining your stroke technique but have you given much thought to your open water skills? If not then drafting, navigating and swimming straight will be the missing ingredient in you having a brilliant swim in open water.
|Swimming in open water is VERY different from swimming the pool - don't believe anyone who|
tells you otherwise! It's a skill you can (and should) work on, just like any other.
If you are nervous about swimming outdoors then working on some of these skills over the coming weeks will make all the difference. Come race day you will swim more confidently, be faster and have a much more enjoyable experience.
3 Key Posts On Swimming Confidently In Open WaterThe Swim Smooth Blog is nearly 9 years old and in that time we've posted out over 425 unique articles to help you improve your swimming. If you are new to the blog that's a lot of reading to catch up on (!) so with the goal of improving your confidence and effectiveness in open water, here's our pick of three key posts since the blog started in 2009:
Developing this important skill makes seeing forwards as you swim much much easier. Become good at it and you will swim far straighter, sighting will have less impact on your stroke itself and you will be much more confident in tracking around the course.
Perhaps you live a long way from a good open water venue or just can't get there easily. Now you have no excuse as we showed you how to work on your drafting skills in your local swimming pool:
This is a lot of fun and when you do get into open water you'll immediately feel more at home swimming in close proximity to other swimmers (which is unavoidable outdoors and very much part of the sport).
Plus there are huge performance gains from drafting other swimmers - it can save you up to 38% of your energy expenditure in fact! 1
Whilst it became popular to try and do this in the 90s, trying to add a pause-and-glide at the front of your stroke actually makes you less efficient, not more! This is even more the case when swimming in open water where waves and chop slow you down even further between strokes.
In fact when you swim outdoors you should aim to maintain good punch and rhythm to your stroke - it will make you much more stable and effective through the water.
Have a great race season ahead - and let us know how you get on through the website, facebook, twitter and instagram!
 CHATARD, J.-C., and B. WILSON. Drafting Distance in Swimming. Med. Sci. Sports Exerc., Vol. 35, No. 7, pp. 1176–1181, 2003.