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7 Steps for a FAST Open Water Swim Exit: Master the Transition with Ease

Updated: Jul 24, 2023

One crucial aspect to prepare for a triathlon is to get comfortable with the open water swim exit. A speedy and efficient exit sets the tone for a successful race and can make a significant difference in overall performance. In this blog post, we'll discuss seven essential steps to help you nail your open water swim exit and transition smoothly to T1.

1️⃣ Take the straightest line to the beach/shore: when swimming towards the beach, it's vital to minimize unnecessary distance. Practice sighting techniques to maintain a straight course and ensure you don't veer off course. Find a focus point on the beach and keep sighting regularly to stay on track. By swimming the shortest distance possible, you conserve energy and shave off valuable time.

2️⃣ If you're in the ocean, use the waves to your advantage: keep an eye on the waves behind you. Timing is everything. When you spot a wave forming, seize the opportunity and bodysurf it towards the shore. Assess the wave's size and power to determine if it's suitable for catching a ride.

3️⃣ Don't stand up too early: To maintain your momentum and maximize each swimming stroke, refrain from standing up until your hand touches the bottom. Push yourself to swim as close to the shore as possible, using every inch of water to propel yourself forward. This technique ensures you make the most of your effort and maintain efficiency throughout the swim.

4️⃣ Dolphin dive for faster progress: depending on the slope of the underwater terrain, you might be able to perform one or two dolphin dives. Dolphin diving involves pushing off the bottom with your hands and using a dolphin-like motion to dive forward and resurface with each dive. This technique can be especially effective in shallow waters with a gradual slope. If done correctly, dolphin dives are faster than swimming or walking through shallow water.

5️⃣ Transition to running with high knees and high steps: as the water becomes shallower, it's time to switch from swimming to running. Increase your stride frequency and lift your knees high as you transition. By focusing on high knees and high steps, you minimize drag and maximize your speed through the shallows.

6️⃣ Leave goggles on, just lift them off your face: once you're out of the water, lift your goggles up off your face but don't take your cap off. Leaving your cap in place frees up your hands for the upcoming transition. With your goggles out of the way, you'll have better visibility and won't risk dropping or losing them during the race.

7️⃣ Strip down your wetsuit while running: To save precious seconds during the transition, reach for the pull cord on your wetsuit and start stripping down the top portion as you run out of the water. Multitasking here allows you to shed unnecessary gear while maintaining forward momentum. By removing your wetsuit top, you'll be prepared for a quick transition onto the bike leg.

By following these seven steps, you'll be well on your way to achieving a fast and efficient exit from the water. Remember, practice makes perfect. Incorporate these techniques into your training sessions and focus on refining your skills.

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