Swim Segment, Where To Start?
The nerves begin weeks before the race. You are worried
about the beginning of the triathlon, the swim. There can
be as many as two hundred people in a wave start. The ironman
distance races start as many as 1500 people at once. The
gun goes off and there is a massive churning of bubbles.
So where should you start?
If you are a beginner and you dont have much confidence
in your swim, then you should start behind other competitors.
In doing so, you reduce the possibility of being swum over
or pummeled with others elbows, hands and feet. You
are probably unfamiliar with open water swimming so you
can follow the trail of bobbing heads to each turn buoy.
However, look up every once in a while to make sure those
swimmers are going in the right direction. I have known
some people to swim as much as 500 meters off course in
a 1500 meter swim.
If you are a swimmer who has great stroke technique and
you dont like to get tangled up with other bodies,
then you should start on the side of the wave. In doing
so, you have clean water where you can use your
swim technique to get you in or near the lead. The disadvantage
to this is that you may have to swim a little further to
the first turn buoy. However, if you avoid the mass of bodies,
then you might go faster than the main body of swimmers.
If you are a quick starter and you have the endurance
to maintain your pace, then the center and most direct route
to the first buoy is the best position. A person can save
as much as thirty percent of his energy by drafting off
a person who is equal to him in ability. If you know your
competitors, then try to start next to someone faster than
yourself. That way you can get on that individuals feet
and draft off him throughout the swim at a faster pace than
what you could do yourself.
One thing to be prepared for is to accept the possibility
that another person will probably accidentally hit you.
If you are prepared for it, then you wont be so shocked
if it happens. A great drill for a swim start is to get
three other swimmers at swim practice. You all line up in
the same lane and sprint to the other end after starting
at the same time. This close contact is pretty close to