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Do you swim faster in the pool than in a wetsuit in open water?

You should be seeing swim speed gains of between 7 to 10 secs per 100m when swimming in a wetsuit

If you answered yes, something is a bit amiss, and we would love to help you fix it!

Often, swimming faster in the pool means one or more of the following:

  1. Pushing off the wall: Particularly if you're used to swimming in a 25 metre pool.

  2. Your wetsuit might not be fitting correctly: It needs to be pulled up high enough so as not to pull on your legs as this reduces efficient movement and disadvantages your biomechanics.

  3. Navigation and/or not swimming in a straight line.

  4. Inefficient sighting: By lifting your head too high or incorrectly it causes your legs to drop (drag and resistance both slow you down). Not sighting regularly enough can also throw you off course (literally!).

  5. Incorrect pacing: We see so many triathletes who slow down in open water or do their zone 2 training in open water and not race specific interval efforts.

  6. Slowing down: Especially around swim buoys / not sighting straight away after a turn / not kicking around a buoy turn.

  7. Failing to acclimatise: Not acclimatising to the open water temperature or not swimming regularly enough in open water.

  8. Not warming up: It is important before any triathlon or open water swim to warm up (especially important if you are not given the chance to warm up in the water).

  9. Not drafting: It is good to draft on the feet or hips of another swimmer if you can.

  10. Your swim technique: In open water your technique changes especially when its cold, for example a shorter stroke at the rear, breathing shallower, fingers opening up, not catching the water like you would in the pool.

  11. Breathing; From your chest instead of your diaphragm slows you down as does taking lots of short breaths because you start building up levels of CO2 in your lungs and therefore go into oxygen debt quickly.

  12. Kicking too much and bending your knees: This uses up precious oxygen needed by your upper body and arms.

  13. Not rotating enough from your hips on a long axis: This stops you from maximising your distance per stroke.

If you want to fix some or all of these issues, book a swim session with Nick our STA Nowca Open water swim and British Triathlon Level 3 coach.

Book a Swim Analysis with Nick Today


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