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Old 05-06-2012
bret.moffett bret.moffett is offline
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Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 13
Default Combat Swim?

Ever since I first saw the Navy SEALs combat swimming technique I've wondered if anyone has ever employed it during a triathlon. I've personally never witnessed it in a race but I have seen a few people do it at the local pool for exercise. I admit it is a bit of a strange stroke but it must have some merits, otherwise, the SEALs wouldn't use it. In particular, I've wondered if such a stroke might be helpful during the chaos of the swim start. For what it's worth: I'm a back-of-the-packer and mostly just trying to survive the swim. Thoughts?
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Old 05-07-2012
Richardsk Richardsk is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 1,380

Back in the late 'forties and early 'fifties of the last century, when I was a boy, you would always see someone swimming side stroke or overarm side stroke at the swimming pool or baths as they were known then. I can imagine that side stroke would be quite handy in an open water environment, especially if you can swim on either side at will and match your breathing to the prevailing conditions. I used to be able to swim side stroke but the last time I tried it it didn't feel very good.

I have now twice entered the sea water this year here in Wales ( in a shorty wetsuit) and it is still very cold, 'bracing' you might say. I think I would favour breaststroke over side stroke in choppy conditions. Maybe next time I'll try a few strokes of side stroke and see how it goes.
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Old 05-07-2012
KatieK KatieK is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Scottsdale, AZ, USA
Posts: 295

The chaos of the swim start isn't that bad, once you get used to it. Yes, there's a lot of contact, but it's harmless. People sort of bounce off each other. Even getting kicked is no big deal--a flutter kick doesn't pack much force in the water.

You're better off learning to accept (even enjoy) it than avoid it. The more you can practice bumping into your friends, the easier it will be to handle it in a race.

If you're really worried, sight on feet and keep your face away from them. You can also take the buoys wide or hang back a little if you're coming up on a buoy at the same time as someone else.

Now that I've done so many of them, I think crowded swim starts are The Most Fun Ever. It's like some crazy, harmless playground activity. The adrenaline and the draft makes you faster.
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