Open water swimming tip – Sighting and Navigation

Can you swim in open water in a straight line?

Did you know that you can add 20% or more to your overall open water swim race distance by not sighting effectively or often enough? We often see GPS swim tracks where swimmers have gone further than they expected by 10% or more!

Sighting every 6-8 strokes and checking on your navigation reference regularly is key to swimming and sighting effectively.

It’s best to sight on something higher like a darker tree, building, or spire, than a buoy in the water!

You can test how balanced your swim stroke is by swimming in a pool with lane ropes either side with your eyes closed. Firstly, before doing this count the number of strokes you do per length, and make sure the lane is empty. Then, for example, if you do 25 strokes per length, keep your eyes closed for 15. Do you bounce off the lane ropes or swim straight?

Sometimes not swimming in a straight line can be due to imbalances in your stroke, from arms crossing over the midline to over rotating to breathe. If you're only sighting every 20-30 strokes then it's not enough! Stick to every 6-8.

Have you swum further than your race distance, undoing all those months of swim training? We’d like to help you to swim straight and navigate effectively so you achieve your personal best!

This swimmer swam 800m more in the sea from not sighting enough and navigating correctly. Race distance 1.9km. Actual distance swum 2.7km

Open water skills and drills we can teach you in the pool

The open water skills and drills needed to be confident and to race, include:

• pontoon dive starts, beach starts, and deep water starts • positioning at the start and during the swim • exiting the water quickly and efficiently • how to handle sighting effectively and at race pace • mass starts practice • pacing awareness and control in open water • the most effective methods for turning around swim buoys • drafting and navigation, and how to lose other swimmers off your feet if they're drafting

Nick has 12 years experience in open water swim coaching of triathletes and open water swimmers of all levels

Call this number to book your sessions or sign up below! 07958635142

When is your next triathlon or swimming race? We'd love to help you achieve your personal best.

For more info on training sessions, tips etc, get in touch

The next open water tip will be on how to improve your core strength for triathlon swimming

Nick de Meyer is a level 3 British Triathlon Coach and STA Level 2 swim teacher and a Master Endurance Coach with Training Bible Coaching UK. He recently helped to plan the new STA Open water coaching course with a number of other coaches.

He is an Open Water swimming coach. He has completed 2 Ironman Triathlons, and the Dart 10km swim to name a couple and has been training competing and coaching triathlons for 20 years.

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