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s.sciame 02-19-2015 09:57 AM

Drafting and pace awareness in the ow
Hi all,
last week I was in the 2nd rep of a 10x400m scm - I always pay much attention on pace to prevent going out too fast in these long sets - when 2 swimmers jumped in the lane and started swimming faster than me. Sometimes I found myself in their wake for a while, so I unintentionally drafted a bit and, without wanting, completed the rep (and the following 2) about 10s faster than I planned. I wandered if I was going to "pay" for this enhanced speed toward the end of the set, but actually it didn't happen: I completed the set without problems.

I lately thought about how crucial it would be to take advantage of drafting (ie getting closer to that faster swimmer than I had, and keep in his wake longer) during an oper water race.

The problem is that in ow it is more difficult to be aware of the pace you're holding in a given moment and assess the right swimmers to draft, which should be slightly faster than your sustainable pace. I mean, since when drafting your effort and speed are kind of masked, it could happen that

a) you're going too fast without realizing, and you could then blow out at the end of the race, or
b) you're taking it too easy because you're drafting a swimmer that seemed faster than he actually is (hard to say if you find at ease because drafting well or because you're simply not going as fast as you think you are)

Does anyone who raises in open water ever deal with this concern? And are you (more or less) aware of your pace during a long ow swim, without relying on pace clock, TT, stroke count etc?


s.sciame 06-21-2016 01:53 PM

This thread remained unreplied for one year. Anyway, given that it got some views (about 560) and the open water season has come, with one more year of experience I'd like to answer my own question and share it with anybody having drafting concerns:

say you're swimming at your race pace and have a swimmer (or group of swimmers) 10 or 20m ahead of you. You try to speed up a bit to get a draft. If you can quite easily get at his feet, probably he's slightly slower than you and not worth drafting. If instead it takes a while and some effort to get at his feet, he's probably your man. Draft for a while, take rest, then see if you can pass him. If not, he's definitely the right swimmer to draft.


CoachBillGreentree 07-20-2016 10:02 PM

The problem with passsing folks you're drafting off of is that your effort is level is reduced until you exit the draft. At that point even passing those who are slightly slower than you will seem like a lot of effort. What I did at CdA a few weeks ago was to swim my pace and effort (which was for a relaxed swim) and start converging towards a draft possibility. If I was easily catching them I'd only slip behind them briefly then continue on. until i found someone who took effort to catch up to.

Not exactly what you were after but it is what I did.

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