Open water swimming

Open water swimming takes place in outdoor bodies of water such as open oceans, and lakes. The beginning of the modern age of open water swimming is sometimes taken to be May 3, 1810, when Lord Byron swam several miles to cross the Hellespont (now known as the Dardanelles) from Europe to Asia.[1] In the first edition of the modern Olympic Games in Athens in 1896, the swimming competition was held in open water. In 2000, the Olympic Games first included a triathlon with a 1500 m swim leg, and in 2008, a 10 km open water swim. 5, 10, and 25 km open water races are included in the General Fina World Championships. The activity has grown in popularity in recent years with the publication of bestselling books on "wild swimming" by authors such as Kate Rew and Daniel Start. Further developments have taken place with the National Open Water Coaching Association with Rick Kiddle - Martin Alan and Robert Hamilton focusing on the safety, coaching development of open water swimming and advisory body to Clubs, Governing Bodies. Stroke Though most open water races do not require a specific stroke, most competitors employ the crawl stroke also known as freestyle. The efficiency of this stroke was demonstrated by Gertrude Ederle, who, as the first woman to swim the English Channel, employed it to demolish the existing world record by more than 2 hours. [edit]Sighting When covering large distances, swimmers may head off course due to current, waves, wind, and poor visibility. Typically, buoys are stationed periodically across a large expanse to provide guidance. However, buoys are often invisible due to interference from choppy water and reduced visibility through goggles. Swimmers are encouraged to 'triangulate' by looki

g for two aligned, easily visible objects on land that are directly behind the destination (such as the end of a pier as it lines up with a hilltop), and to make sure they continue to appear aligned during the race. [edit]Drafting Drafting, which is prohibited in by some race regulations, is the technique of following another swimmer so closely that water resistance is reduced. When swimming closely alongside or behind a swimmer in the lead swimmer's wake, resistance is reduced and the amount of effort to swim at the same speed is correspondingly reduced. In calmer conditions, or when facing surface chop, swimmers can also significantly benefit from swimming immediately behind or closely alongside a swimmer of comparable or faster speed. Not all race organizers permit drafting, and swimmers can run the risk of disqualification if they are caught. [edit]Beach starting/exiting In shallow water, it is quicker to long-step into the water and at hip depth, begin dolphining through the water. Before the race, check the nature of the bottom to determine if it is rippled, which can cause an ankle sprain if you high-step across an uneven surface. Dolphining is to dive forward hands first into the water and angle down to the bottom, press against the sand to begin coming up, and dive up and over the water again. In heavy surf conditions, dive deep and grab sand to get under a crashing wave. Upon entry and when circling buoys, swimmers will often be in a very crowded environment and may be jostled as swimmers climb over one another to get to open space and create an advantage. On the exit, a significant advantage can be gained from body surfing as far up the beach as possible, and then high-stepping across the shallows.