Open Water: Practice Starting from a Dead Stop

There is nothing like the chaos of a mass swim start. Elbows and feet are flying. People have grossly misjudged their abilities in the water. You’ve got faster people in back and slower ones in the front. Oh my gosh, did that guy just kick you on purpose? 

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Suddenly, your goggles are full of water and all you can see is a mess of bodies and bubbles. You have to stop. You have to adjust your goggles or get rid of them. But how? The water is too deep and you can’t touch the bottom. How can you prep for a scenario like this so you don’t panic when it actually happens?

One way is to practice in a pool before it happens. If your goggles need to be adjusted during a race, you’ll have to be able to start from a dead stop. That means without pushing off the wall or bottom of the swimming pool. To feel more comfortable with this, make a point of starting your main set in the deep end or even the middle of the pool (great in 50 meter pools). Before starting, move a few feet away from the wall and tread water (or float in the middle of the pool without touching the bottom).

When your rest time is up, start moving without pushing off the wall or bottom. Do a couple extra hard kicks to get your momentum going and then settle into your stroke so that you’re swimming each part of the set at the correct speed/effort. For added challenge, don’t change your intervals to allow for the extra time it takes to get to speed. If you’re not ready for that, add :15 seconds to each interval to adjust for the extra time and effort it takes to begin each part of the set. You can also take your goggles off/on before beginning the swim. If you practice with other people, you can take turns splashing one another to simulate the choppy water and chaos of a mass swim start. Just don’t be mean about it.

Don’t kick anyone on purpose!

Categories: Open Water

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