Coaching, Training, Camps.

by B.E.S.T. Master Coach Tom Manzi


Open water swimming

As a coach I see many athletes feeling nervous about open water swimming, especially that in a race the swim is in the beginning. When race day finally arrives and the gun goes off, your worst fears are realized: there is a massive churning and frothing of water as the battle for position at the first buoy begins. The water is cold and there’s a heavy chop. “How do I get through this?”
Open water swimming is never boring. Whether you are an accomplished swimmer or a first-timer, there is never an easy open water swim. The variables are always changing. Water temperature, air temperature, current, river speed, wind, waves, and perhaps two-hundred bodies starting at the same time and trying to get to the same end point make for an interesting, if not frightening, experience. Here are a few swim pointers that may help to alleviate some of your race-morning anxieties.
Swim Effectively
Proper stroke technique can only help. The more efficient you are in the water, the less energy you use to get to a certain point at the same rate of perceived effort. Find a coach or a master’s swim program to correct your swim technique. It is also good to get videotaped to see yourself swim and thus get a visual image of what you are doing. The main principles we stress for the freestyle stroke are:

*Arm Turnover
*Head Position
*Hand entry

If new to swimming it’s a good idea to join a master’s swim program or have a swim coach work with you .

Know the Body of Water the Race will be held
Triathlon swims can be in very calm lakes, rivers or bays with current, or in the ocean with large waves. A few weeks before your race get into open water to get used to the elements, such as dark water, where you can’t see a lane line, swim into, and with a current, if race is in ocean get practice diving under waves to get past them and to get to first buoy. Practice sighting while doing open water practice, using a landmark to sight on. Be sure to swim in open water with a partner, never alone, and hopefully have a partner who is familiar with open water skills.

If you have any question contact me (contact info below). I conduct open water swim clinics in Arizona and in the ocean at the Jersey Shore. I also organize 2 weekly, sunrise, ocean practice swims – June through September in Bay Head, NJ where we get 30 to 60 athletes participating.

Get out there and enjoy the open water, but be safe!!
Tom Manzi
B.E.S.T. Master Coach