3 Answers to the most common doubts amongst open-water swimmers

Triathlon & Open Water
Written by: arena coaches at 26 February '18 0
You are reading: 3 Answers to the most common doubts amongst open-water swimmers

Today we’ll try to answer a series of questions that often go through the minds of open-water athletes.


One of the most common questions, especially during the summer months, is about the possibility of preparing for a race without being able to constantly workout in these conditions. Is it possible to prepare for an open-water in the pool? If so, how?

The answer is quite simple. Yes, it’s also possible to prepare for an open-water competition in a pool.

  • On an athlete’s point of view, it’s possible to insert a series of longer workouts which will help you stimulate your metabolic aerobic system.
  • Out of a technical point of view you can insert technical training which will help you in open water. For example, by inserting a series of “tarzan drills” or avoiding to push off from the side of the pool when turning in order to simulate the “start&stop” in the first stage of the competitions and around the buoys.
  • Out of a tactical point of view you can train by changing the rhythm of your swim, like efficiently taking advantage of the slipstream, and where possible, train on simulating a competition with obstacle buoys placed in the pool.


Another question regarding open-water usually is about the technique of free-style swimming. Is it suggested to swim with straight arms or bent elbows?

In swimming there are different techniques that are suitable for different swimmers. What might be efficient for one swimmer, doesn’t necessarily be the best option for another swimmer.
Both the styles of free-style swimming mentioned earlier have advantages and disadvantages.

  • The advantages of a straight arm while recovering means greater displacement energy when working at high rhythms and a wider body rotation that creates more displacement energy.
    The “disadvantages” is the increased amount of energy required and only having benefits when swimming at high intensity and that it can cause shoulder articulation problems.
  • The advantages of swimming with a bent elbow are the ease of which the athlete can carry out the movement and the reduced rotation of the body. The “disadvantages” are having reduced amount of displacement energy which is obtained at high speeds and making the swimmer slower and lazy.


Finally, the last question.

Why is it that I work out almost every day without seeing improvements? How long do I have to work out?

The answer isn’t “how long” but the way in which you’re working out.

An athlete can spend hours upon hours working out, but without a proper program, most of that time spent in the water, is wasted.
3 times a week for a professional athlete can be enough in order to obtain great results, obviously depending on the level you start out on. Quantity and quality go hand-in-hand. In this case, only quality means what to do, when to do it and how to do it. Those are elements which only a professional trainer can give you.

If you got curious about other aspects while reading this article, let us know!



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arena coaches

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