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Coach Steve being aero! RACE DAY SWIM: You put a lot of time into swim training and the race day swim is over very quickly so don't waste it! Be ready and warmed-up for the start. Unlike the bike and run portions of a triathlon, the swim starts with a sprint for position. If you're not sufficiently warmed-up, this is a shock to the system and you'll pay big time after about 100 yards! Even when you are warmed up properly it's tough to sprint and recover.

Be organized on race day with a plan to allow time for a swim warm up. I like to be at the swim start about 20-minutes before my wave's start. I need time for some upper-body stretches, a couple minutes to put on my wetsuit, another minute to look over the course from shore, and about 10-minutes to get in and swim. By the time I get to the swim start my gear is set up in transition, and I'm usually done with lower body stretching.

If you're nervous about crowding at swim start you should line up on the side and move in as the crowd thins out. It's likely you'll go a little further, but it's worth it to reduce stress.

As you swim with others around you it's important to have a sense of where they are. Getting kicked with a foot, or hit with an arm, elbow, or hand is not pleasant, and in most cases can be avoided. Sometimes you have to back-off for a couple strokes to avoid feet; sometimes you need to move laterally to avoid flailing arms and hands. There have been times when I sprinted to get ahead of a swimmer, or stopped for a stroke to back off and get out of trouble. More than once I've even pushed a swimmer (in the right direction) when I was stuck beside them and they were leading both of us off course.
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