By Mike Mullane aka “Marmadaddy”B.T.com Gear Reviewer
For the beginner triathlete, nothing causes quite as much anxiety as swimming in open water. The stories of being in the “washing machine” and having problems navigating from buoy to buoy aren’t exactly meant to make it sound easy.There’s no substitute for practice and experience, but you also want all the reliable information and advice you can get. Toward this end, trainers Michael Collins and Gerry Rodrigues have created an instructional DVD called Open Water Swimming - Skills, Techniques & Racing Tips. The video opens with Collins making the statement, “This video will help teach you the necessary skills and techniques needed to compete to the best of your ability and enjoy open water swimming in triathlon competition.”The DVD assumes little-to-no experience with competitive swimming and starts off in the pool citing the need to build confidence in a controlled environment. It then goes into a good beginner level explanation and demonstration of the differences between efficient and inefficient swimming. The basics of swimming technique are covered and a series of drills are presented with camera work both above and in the water, sometimes simultaneously.
Open Water Swimming – Skills, Techniques and Racing Tips
A solid overview of the skills and information needed to race in open water.
A short section on Course Evaluation follows. This is a tutorial on assessing conditions before entering the water. We get a comprehensive list of things to evaluate over some great video from races before the swim start. Then comes the meat of the DVD: the actual open water section. You get good descriptions of the most efficient ways to enter the water from the shore in race conditions, followed by different strategies on drafting and sighting. (My favorite part of this section is the detailed description of “dolphining” to get to deep water.)I would have liked to have seen a section on wetsuits, but this was taken care of in the “Bonus” materials with a segment from another Endurance Films production called Racing Faster. Pro triathletes Barb Lindquist and Wes Hobson give a tutorial on putting on a wetsuit, using lubricants, sleeveless vs. full suits, and the like.Also, in the open water section, when they’re talking about sighting, it would have been useful to have some footage from the perspective of someone in the water. Overall, Open Water Swimming - Skills, Techniques & Racing Tips by Endurance Films is a good overview of the skills and information needed to race in open water.
A Note on the Author: Mike “Marmadaddy” is a former couch potato and 2 pack a day smoker, who is now in his 3rd year of triathlon. He is married with 2 young children, works in computer programming, and enjoys helping other new triathletes on BT as much as he does racing. He is one of the official gear reviewers for BeginnerTriathlete.com.
In order of importance: my wife and kids, my own health and well-being, being of use to triathletes via this website, playing music (bass guitar mostly).