Every time it’s the same old story. Both when we find ourselves on the starting blocks by the pools, both if we’re in the open water before a triathlon, the start is what scares us the most and therefore is also what our competition depends on the most.
I don’t think that there is any one of us that, at least once, hasn’t found ourselves terrified thinking about the possibility of a false start while waiting for the start pistol. Today I’ll tell you about a swim-start that’s even more terrifying: that of the open water.
During my first open water competition, I knew it wouldn’t have been easy: I had seen numerous photos and videos of the start which looked like a school of tuna or when a large group of animals are herded into a small cage. When the starting pistol went off, a huge “herd” of athletes were pushed by a huge force and seemed to be moving in a synchronised manner almost as if the movement was a chain reaction from one athlete to another.
I have to admit that imagining myself in a situation like that didn’t exactly make me enthusiastic. It scared me and I feared that I wouldn’t be able to swim amidst the confusion of that magnitude. The situation becomes even more dreadful when thinking of a triathlon where it’s allowed to wear a GPS watch, which increases the chances of accidentally getting hit or kicked by fellow athletes.
Get ready. All athletes will hold their ground and won’t let you into their space. They’ll all be warriors in order to gain an extra centimetre in which to move, as soon as the starting pistol goes off. Your mantra should be “go with the flow”.
Let yourself go with the flow of your fellow athletes who will fight to get to the front. Use their flow and maintain your rhythm. In this way you’ll be able to swim your own race without using all your energy in the start and be able to handle the race according to your own ability and potentiality.
The start of an open water race will always be an interesting experience: a fear to overcome and a way to challenge ourselves. Are you ready give it a go?