The open water swim in a triathlon can be a scary and uncomfortable experience, but with
the proper preparation and mental attitude, it can be the easiest part of your race. Below is a list of tips to help you kick of your day relaxed and race-ready!
If the water temperature is below 78 degrees or below, the race directors will allow athletes to wear a wetsuit. Usually if the temp is border-line, it will be announced on race morning. A wetsuit can improve your swim time 20% or more due to the buoyancy that it creates and the drag that is decreased. A wetsuit will help keep you warm in colder water. If it is a warmer day, remember that you will sweat under your wetsuit, so sipping your favorite electrolyte replacement drink before the race is a good idea. You can also use cooking spray or wetsuit spray on the outside of the suit (forearms and shins) to aid in removal. (Don’t use petroleum base spays or lubricants, due to the detrimental effects on the suit)
Head for the Beach
In most races, the race director allows athletes to warm up in the water. As you enter the water let some water to enter the suit, this will allow your body to warm the water and thus keeping you warm for the rest of the swim. Just swim easy–some easy, gliding strokes (100 yards or less—stay close to the shore) towards the first buoy will help with warming up your swim muscles and help to calm your nerves.