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Trent Grimsey, Australian National Open Water Swim Team memberOpen Water Swimming on 1Vigor
Trent Grimsey, English Channel Record Holder

Triathlon Race Day Swimming Tips

by Trent Grimsey, English Channel World Record Holder - 6:55 hours

"Dedication is what you do when no one else is watching."

How Elite Triathletes and Age Groupers can Improve Swim Performance

Here are some tips to help you have a great triathlon swim on race day!

Swim Start

• Start Position: For Elite swimmers, on the start line always position yourself directly beside the fastest swimmer in the field. Age Groupers should position themselves in the crowd with swimmers of comparable ability. Ask the athletes around you what is their expected swim time.

• Get in the Slipstream. For Elite swimmers, when the race begins, get in the slipstream of that swimmer straight away (directly behind him or her) and stay there for as long as you can. Age Groupers should draft behind a swimmer(s) similar or slightly faster than your ability.

• Level of Aggression. Don’t be aggressive (it wastes too much energy)!

• Stay Positive. Keep happy thoughts!

Pack Swimming

• Positioning in the Pack. Because most triathletes swim like spastics, packs will always be very tight and rough. If you’re a strong swimmer you can get away with swimming on the outside of the pack, where there will be a little less drag, however you will have a lot more room to move and will not have to be jostling with someone either side of you the whole way. If you’re a weaker swimmer you’ll just have to get in the middle of the pack and fight like hell not to get dropped.

• Proper Focus. Keep your focus on having a great swim. If someone hits/or is annoying you don’t hit or annoy them back just swim away from them. If you get angry at them it will just take away from your race and take away from your energy. Don’t even try and look at who it is as it will only make you madder, just swim away from them and pretend it never happened.

• Your Energy. Conserve. Conserve. Conserve.

• Sighting. When you’re swimming in the pack you shouldn’t have to lift your head often to sight. The person leading the pack will do that and everyone else just follows him/her.

• Pack Leaders. If you’re leading the pack lift your head every 4 – 6 strokes just to make sure you’re keeping a straight line.

Turning Buoys

Turning buoys are the most important thing in any race. They’re where you can make up a lot of ground or potentially lose a lot of ground.

• Proximity to Buoy. When turning a buoy you want to be the closest swimmer to the buoy as possible (the closest you are to the buoy the less you have to swim).

• Approaching Speed. 15-20 meters before a turning buoy pick up the pace, you want to have fast momentum when turning a buoy.

• The Turning Point. For safety reasons, do not lift your head when turning a buoy.

• Outside of the Rope. For Elite swimmers and fast Age Groupers, all you actually have to swim around is the rope that holds the buoy in place. (Watch some of the surf guys next time you see them racing on TV. They duck under the buoy and grab the rope pulling themselves around it). By doing this you can go from maybe 15th place to 5th place in a couple of seconds.

• The Rough Spot. Things will get rough around the buoys but hold your ground and you’ll be fine.

Last Turning Buoy (home straight)

• Hurting. When you turn this last buoy you will be hurting but you have to remember: Everyone else is hurting just as much as you are.

• Sprint Finish. If it comes down to a sprint finish and your looking to win the swim leg, don’t hesitate to let your competitors know you’re in control of the race, not them. In a tight triathlon finish, your swim edge may be the winning difference.

Things to Remember

• Simplicity. Keep it simple.

• The Basics. When you feel yourself starting to hurt or fall apart whether it be in training or a race, go back to basics. Remember all the small things (the catch, the pull, touching your thumb on your thigh every stroke, high elbows, body position . . . . )

• Your Concerns. Only worry about things you can control . . . . you can’t control your competitors so don’t worry about them.

• Race Smart! In open water swimming the fastest doesn’t always win or come out the water first, the smartest does. Race smart!

Keep swimming, be safe. Trent

Trent Grimsey is the English Channel Record Holder and arguably the fastest swimmer on the planet! Trent also is a member of the Australian National Open Water Swimming Team and one of the best open water swimmers in the world. He is currently Australia's highest ranked male open water swimmer on the current FINA Open Water Swimming world rankings. Trent participated in the 2011 FINA World Championships in Shanghai, China and on the FINA 10KM Marathon Swimming World Cup and the FINA Open Water Swimming Grand Prix series. He won the shortened 2012 Maratón Internacional Hernandarias – Paraná in Argentina. Trent also has the following accomplishments: FINA World Championships 25km (Rome)- SILVER, 2009 FINA World Cup 10km (Sharjah) - GOLD, 2009 Waikiki Rough Water Swim (Hawaii)- GOLD, 2010 Australian Nationals 5km - GOLD, 2010 The Great Australian Swim (Redcliffe) - 1st, 2011 Maui Channel Swim (team) 18K - 1st (Maui, Hawaii), 2011 Optimis Sport Distance Swim Challenge 20km - 1st (Los Angeles, USA), 2011 Australian Nationals 5km - SILVER, 2011 The Great Australian Swim (Coolangatta) - 1st, 2011 Noosa Blue Ocean Swim - 1st, 2011 Cadiz Freedom Swim (Cape Town, South Africa) - 2nd, 2012 Capri-Napoli Marathon - 1st, set course record - World Record English Channel Swim set August 28, 2012 of 6:55 hours.
Trent attended Genesis Christian College, completed his Diploma of Remedial Massage, is now completing his Diploma of Fitness, and lives in Brisbane, Australia.
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