The Benefits of Frequent Open Water Swimming


Posted by Coach John Murray

We are completing our second season of weekly open water swims with our local triathlon club here in the Pensacola area - TriGulfCoast. The swim is graciously sponsored by a local law firm, Zarzaur Law. 

Each Thursday morning from April to October the triathletes gather with the purpose of improving their swim. We have averaged approximately twenty swimmers each week. Some athletes were only able to join us for one or two of the swims and a few of the athletes had perfect attendance for the whole season!

The number one goal for many was open water familiarization. Not all of our triathlon friends list open water swimming as their favorite thing to do. So through regular attendance, swimming amongst their friends, and experiencing a variety of weather and water conditions everyone has developed more confidence in the water.

Once a swimmer is more comfortable in the water they can begin to work more effectively on the skills that will benefit them on race day:


Sighting - swimming straight in a race is an important attribute. Learning an efficient sighting technique that is not disruptive to your swimming tempo will help you have a faster swim.

Drafting - for our larger groups there are usually plenty of opportunities to practice drafting. Our goal was to help triathletes find the sweet spot of the decreased swimming workload while learning the technique of staying on the feet of the swimmer in front of you.

Entries & Exits - Many of our swims in Florida start at the water’s edge and the need for executing a smart and tactical start and finish is crucial. For a few of our Thursday mornings we changed our usual swim routine to practice those important entries and exits.


Athletes that swim regularly in open water but also possess the skills to have a rehearsed plan for their triathlon swim will enjoy a confident swim and a better overall triathlon performance and experience.

If there is a local open water swim group near you, join in!

~ Coach John Murray

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