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2010-09-17 11:11 AM

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Subject: swimming against a strong current
I'm doing a tri this Sunday, and there is a good chance the swim will be against a strong current.  In these conditions, is it best to just plow straight into the current, or has anyone done more of a zig-zag pattern?  I'll probably be going a little zig-zag whether I want to or not, it's my first OWS race. 


2010-09-17 11:28 AM
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Melon Presser
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Subject: RE: swimming against a strong current
Which race? How strong of a current are we talking about here, if you have that information? How wide is the body of water?

You pretty much just plow ahead. Zigzagging won't help and it will make your race a lot longer and tire you out faster.

If you're in a river, the current will be considerably less strong at the sides.

If you find that you're really not making any headway, you could try swimming in as big an arc as you can from start to finish.
2010-09-17 11:36 AM
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Subject: RE: swimming against a strong current

Whatever presents a more streamlined profile into the current will be your fastest (and that answer is straight)

2010-09-17 11:54 AM
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Subject: RE: swimming against a strong current
streamlining makes sense I guess.  It's the Sandman Triathlon in VA Beach, it's in the ocean and the swim goes one way, whether the current is going with or against us.  One BT'er did a practice swim yesterday, usually does 20 min 1000M (the length of the swim) and it took him 36 minutes to do about 800 M, against the current.   Cry

I watched a sailing documentary the other night and they talked about how they zig-zag when the wind is directly ahead or behind them, and it got me thinking.  Thinking a little too much I guess. 
2010-09-17 12:02 PM
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Subject: RE: swimming against a strong current
Zig-zagging only works if you have a sail.

See if you can find a line that has less current (close to shore most likely).   Other than that don't change anything - everyone else has to swim the same route.
2010-09-17 2:31 PM
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Subject: RE: swimming against a strong current
Straight is better for sure, and I would try and find someone to draft behind to save some energy. Also if you notice a temp change in the water, colder water means is a stronger current.


2010-09-17 3:56 PM
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Master
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Lake Oswego, OR
Subject: RE: swimming against a strong current

Straight. Focus on going as straight as possible. It's going to be very important, more so than in a still water race.

One thing to keep in mind. You must swim into the current at least as fast as it's going or you will never get there. Seriously. I have seen people abandon an OWS because they were making so little headway that they realized they would burn out before they would reach the finish line. If it's a loop, take it easy on the down current leg. On the up current leg don't be worried if you seen objects along the shore that seem to be there forever. Positive self talk.

2010-09-17 4:21 PM
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Subject: RE: swimming against a strong current
I'm sure there will be a riptide warning out too with Hurricane Igor out there.  We have it here in FL already for throughout the weekend. You could be fighting some serious wave action.  If it took the RD 35 min are they going to raise the 45min swim time limit?  Pay attention the best you can becasue if a riptide forms while your out there you can be pulled off course.  I've experience that several times swimming at the beach.

Hopefully its wetsuit legal!

best of luck.
2010-09-17 4:30 PM
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Master
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Subject: RE: swimming against a strong current

And if there is good sized surf don't be shy to wait outside the break line for a good wave to ride in. I've seen OW races won that way.

2010-09-17 8:01 PM
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Subject: RE: swimming against a strong current
Hi there-

I'm doing Sandman, too.  In previous years they would go out the morning of the race and determine the direction of the current and decide the swim direction.  The swim last year was difficult WITH THE CURRENT, but with heavy surf.  They rescued many people from the water.  This year if we have heavy surf coupled with swimming against the current, it could be a recipe for disaster!  

Anyway.. I swam in just tri shorts and top last year, but will wear a sleeveless wetsuit this year regardless of water temp for safety reasons (buoyancy).

I know this didn't address your question, but I just wanted to say good luck to you on Sunday.

2010-09-18 12:55 AM
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Subject: RE: swimming against a strong current
sand101 - 2010-09-17 10:02 AM Zig-zagging only works if you have a sail.

See if you can find a line that has less current (close to shore most likely).   Other than that don't change anything - everyone else has to swim the same route.


Exactly


2019-09-09 9:48 PM
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Subject: RE: swimming against a strong current
Originally posted by E=H2O

One thing to keep in mind. You must swim into the current at least as fast as it's going or you will never get there. Seriously. I have seen people abandon an OWS because they were making so little headway that they realized they would burn out before they would reach the finish line.



Hi, the race I'm doing is a point-to-point race and it is predicted that the current will be against us pretty much the whole way. The race will be on mid-autumn festival, i.e. spring tide. What's the suggested strategy to race against the current? I'm also a sailor but it was mentioned that zigzagging only works with a sail.

Edited by miklcct 2019-09-09 9:54 PM
2019-09-23 1:07 PM
in reply to: miklcct

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Subject: RE: swimming against a strong current
If the current is pushing you left or right adjust for that... if you see the first wave of people take off and get pushed way left for instance... I'd start right and sight for a point right of the buoy based on how much it appears to be moving the swimmers. If it's pretty much a head on current... swim straight and as hard as you can.
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General Discussion Triathlon Talk » swimming against a strong current Rss Feed