Your just-keep-swimming plan when faced with strong waves and currents
Swimming against the current or huge waves is inevitable in races. Organizers and officials should always exercise extreme caution for the participants’ safety. But in order to battle it out in such water conditions, specific training and different skill sets are required, which are best practiced in open water. Here’s how to avoid going under when going against waves.
Against the current
- It’s important to check out the course prior to the event as there are cases when the current changes over time. There is a possibility that you will swim with the current at a certain point, so learn to take advantage of it.
- Try to know the current flow. If you have the opportunity, try to cut it through at the side or use it to your advantage. Your position at the starting line is important.
- If the two options are not available, pace yourself a little harder, especially at the point where current flows at its strongest.
Against huge waves (and choppy water)
- For huge waves, you have to ride on them but for choppy water, you have to cut through it. This might not be a straightforward rule but it boils down to comfort and individual preferences.
- Breathing is a challenge when swimming with huge waves, so time your breathing on top of them or during sighting. For choppy waters, breathe at the spaces in between waves. That said, this is difficult to master as situations vary all the time.
- For huge waves and choppy conditions, it’s better to swim beside the lane lines attached to the buoys. In case there are none, make sure that logistical references (e.g. tip of the mountain, tall trees, etc.) are within sight to keep you on course. Most of the time, at such conditions, buoys are not visible when you are in the water.