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Navigating The Swim

ADRENO Tri’s Olympic Triathlete, Lizel Moore, share an important lesson on swim navigation – not just following someone’s feet! 

Race starts, happy, sitting on feet.  Not bothering to look up as I am more than happy to delegate the navigating to whoevers feet I am sitting on.  Exit the water together.  I am well back.  That is ok, that is what I expected.  Had a pretty good ride, had a great run.  I was one happy girl.  I survived my first triathlon.

It was not until after the race that I got my first race tip.  My swim “navigator” came up to me and laughingly told me how we went right of course.  I sacked him on the spot and from that day I learnt the importance of looking up and seeing where you are going (not always with great success).

Don't just follow the person in front of you, learn to orientate yourself during the swim.
Don’t just follow the person in front of you, learn to orientate yourself during the swim.

As part of your normal swim training you need to learn to orientate yourself.  When your leading arm goes in the water, push down and lift your head out of the water.  You should do this every 3-4 strokes in tricky conditions (rough water or when buoys are small).  If the conditions are great and as you become more confident you can increase this up to 14 strokes.

What will help with navigation are goggles suitable for the conditions.  For bright days tinted goggles will reduce the chances that the sun will prevent you from seeing the buoys.  In foggy or low light conditions, it is best to use clear goggles.  Have both sets in your race kit in case conditions change.

By Lizel Moore

2000 Olympic Triathlete

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