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If you really want to drop someone who’s draſt ing try surging ahead aſt er a turn while their momentum is disrupted or moving quickly to one side. One fi nal point about draſt ing: don’t leave it too late for your fi nal surge to the front.

YOU GET BOXED IN Relax and stand your ground. Even if you feel the pace is too slow when stuck behind another swimmer the draſt ing benefi t could well mean you’re swimming faster than you could alone. Save your energy for a sprint fi nish. However, if you feel really claustrophobic try moving slowly to one side or even consider surface diving below the swimmer next to you and coming back up in clear water.

If you start to panic, exhale smoothly and freely

YOU GET KICKED OR PUNCHED Unfortunately, this is par for the course in tight-knit big-fi eld swims. Most swimmers won't be out to 'get' you and the occasional knock is usually an accident. Just ignore it and carry on. However, sometimes the best thing to do if you're being repeatedly knocked is to drop back and sit on the toes of your assailant and draſt your way to the fi nish, sprinting past at the last moment. Avoid get ing caught up in a big broil  it's just not worth it.

A DRAFTER IS TOUCHING YOUR TOES EVERY STROKE Firstly, good on him or her; this is probably saving them up to 38% of the energy you are expending to swim at that pace, although it’s bad etiquet e to repeatedly tap someone’s toes and is in fact less effi cient than dropping back an additional 50cm. Draſt ing is an integral part of open water racing, whether you like it not, so your best approach is to work on your own draſt ing skills and avoid get ing stuck at the front doing everyone else’s work for them. Drop back and let someone else do it.

YOU FEEL PANIC COMING ON This will usually occur in the opening fi ſt h of the race and is oſt en brought on by swimmers holding their breath due to the anxiety and commotion of the start. Exhale smoothly and freely like you're sighing in the water, which should help you relax. If you do go into meltdown mode, roll over onto your back, take a few deep breaths, re-compose and continue.

YOU GO OFF TOO FAST? Preferably, don’t do it! Learn what pace you can maintain for distance during training, tune into what it feels like and ensure that the adrenaline does not let you get too carried away at the start. Everyone surges at the start, but be careful to try and set le in within the fi rst 45- 60 seconds of the swim. Let ing it go to 2-300m will be game over for your potential fi nishing position. If you do go off too quickly (we've all done it) try to recognise this as soon as possible, tone it down and look for some feet to draſt off to get you around the course.

YOU GET A STITCH Try nice deep exhalations and avoid holding your breath, which can bring a stitch on. Also avoid excessive consumption of food or drink in the 30 minutes prior to the start and keep whatever you eat or drink in the few hours before the start relatively plain and simple.



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