Swim Tips

Topics Covered:

  • Nerves & attacking the swim
  • Sighting – how to swim straight

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Attacking the Swim


Right before the start at West Point Tri!

Nervous about attacking the swim portion of a triathlon? If you’re new to the sport and the swim scares you (or it’s not your strongest point), build in steps. Find a buddy who’s a bit more experienced, and go to the pool with them. Have them teach you their favorite strategies if needed.

Build in small waves – try working on technique one day, and adding laps as time goes on. Use your friend or family member as a way to rid yourself of nerves from taking the next step in your swim – like moving on to the open water!

Right before the swim start at West Point Tri!

Practice Sighting for the Swim…

Whether a New or Experienced Swimmer!

Practice sighting (in the pool or in open water) to improve your swim time on race day!

Practice sighting (in the pool or in open water) to improve your swim time on race day!

An important aspect of the swim portion of the race is learning how to sight. The term sighting refers to using sights in the distance to swim straight (to avoid swimming in zig zags and adding time to your swim). If you’re a new swimmer, (or even an experienced one who has trouble swimming straight!), be sure to practice sighting before your next race.

I had no idea what the term “sighting” meant until I went on an open water swim two years ago with a YoungTri friend. He let me know that I was zig-zagging A LOT while swimming and taught me how to sight by picking my head out of the water and looking straight ahead at a large or noticeable object. It helped a great deal!

If you don’t have an experienced friend to help you out, you can always try on your own! Even if you’ve been racing for years but haven’t practiced your sighting skills in awhile, it can never hurt to fine-tune them – it can help shave time off of your swim, and you can always pass on the knowledge to a friend!

Check out this video for advice on how to sight, and try it in a pool first if you’re not comfortable trying it in open water yet.

Good luck!

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