Staying on course and current

70.3, triathlon, marathon, half ironman, open water, swimming, current, tide, sightingThis coming weekend is the inaugural half ironman in Mandurah, Western Australia.

The event in Mandurah is set in a gorgeous area in my home state which will quickly become a favourite. The race begins with an open water swim in the Mandurah canals that I swam in in my childhood. There is no better way to enjoy Mandurah than swim/race in it.

While its depth

s rarely exceed 3 metres and its surface is usually as calm as a lap pool, its placidity may lure unprepared triathletes, like many of you, into a false sense of security. Although I have not raced there since my childhood, I need you to not forget the effects of both tide and current.

Like many competitors, many will go into the swim thinking that issues that usually affect open water swims like the current and choppy waters would not be an issue.

So please plan on going down early on race day to go in and check on the current. Check with the organisers if the tide is on it’s way in or out.


Why? Factoring in wind conditions with tide and current; you may find yourself being swept off course.  In all my meticulous race planning, I made it part of the pre-race preparation with my coach to include the tide and current into my calculations, and as a result, to ensure I was never left struggling.

While the current of many triathlons and open water swimming events is not significant or non existent, for lighter athletes and weaker or experienced swimmers; of which there are many, here are some tips to avoid a similar situation for you:

  • Know where the current is on the course so that you are ready for it (You do not want to rely on other people to know the course!)
  • Sight more often than usual and use sights that are stable like a tree, a house or a rock on the shore instead of a buoy or kayak which have a tendency to move
  • Do not try to fight the current but “flow” with it to conserve energy
  • During training, get in open water swims that have a current so that you can practice
  • When dealing with a current, change your direction a bit and try to go at an angle.

Although you may feel like you are heading more to one side, you are actually swimming in a straight line.

I know that when you show up to your next race this season, you will be staying “current” with the course and the conditions of the race!

And remember: If you don’t quit, you will make it!


Final Words from Head Coach Shelley 😎

“To achieve great things, two things are needed: a plan and not quite enough time.”  -Leonard Bernstein

Many triathletes are finding out that a good way to keep improving their swim, and their swim, and to stay tuned up, is to join the Open Water Tuesday program, held every Tuesday morning at Matilda Bay in WA from 6-7am.

Get on board at weekly “Personalised swim stroke analysis” and “Break Your Bad Habits” trainings.

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