A triathlon open water swim with 2000 or more other swimmers all on the same course takes a bit of planning.

For some people who can outswim 99.9% or so of the 2000 plus wetsuit clad swimmers who toe the start of a triathlon swim course it might be traffic-free swimming. For most triathletes in an Ironman swim it’s the furthest thing from open water.

It’s the usual mayhem that takes place in an Ironman open swim and it really helps if you go into the 2.4-mile swim with a plan in mind. Triathlon races continue to get bigger and bigger and most triathlon swim courses are getting fairly crowded.

For instance, take a good look at the picture below and tell me if you consider this a triathlon open water swim?


If you are planning on taking on the Ironman challenge for the first time or even just planning your first short triathlon open water swim you can avoid the mayhem that often results in mass swim starts.

I can pretty much guarantee that this happens in every single Ironman race no matter what part of the world it’s taking place in. It may be a bit better now since wave starts are taking place in many Ironman races, but there will always be swim traffic to deal with.

 triathlon open water swim

Typical Ironman Triathlon swim

There are several things involved here that can all serve to make your day out on the race course longer and harder than it has to be.


This situation often happens to novice ironmen, but is not necessarily restricted to the those experiencing their first race.

Personally I was bashed around for a good 6 or 7 Ironman races before I finally figured out that it didn’t have to be that way. In many of those early races there were times where there was actually an overwhelming fear of being pushed under the water and really getting in trouble.

There were also times when I swallowed water and in the ensuing mayhem the water goes down the wrong way and you begin to choke and hyperventilate and even panic.


There are several emotions other than fear that raise their ugly head in the cramped quarters of some triathlon open water swim courses.

Anger and frustration work hand in hand and the result sometimes ends up in physical confrontations in the ironman swim. Some people just reach a breaking point and have had enough of the swimmer behind them continually running into them. Eventually some people will just lash out and take a swing at someone.


It takes a lot of energy when you are over-whelmed with emotions and you lose control of your destiny during the Ironman open water swim swim.

This is valuable energy that you simply cannot afford to lose. The Ironman is an event that might take you anywhere from 10 to 17 hours.

In the swim you are in the earliest stages of the Ironman and if you can’t find a way to stay calm stores of energy you will need later will be lost. I can almost guarantee that you will pay for emotional outbursts at some point later in the race.

As I’ve often said, “I believe there is a direct link between a poorly planned Ironman swim and the Ironman shuffle out on the marathon course”.

All you need to do is have one bad experience during an Ironman swim and you can easily become disenchanted with triathlon in general. Many people new to the sport have cut their Ironman career short simply because of the encounters and experiences they have had during the triathlon open water swim.

There are those with tons of experience with open water swimming who have given up on the Ironman because of a particularly harrowing experience during the swim. It’s not something that is restricted to the novice Ironman only.

The first thing I suggest to triathletes new to swimming in the open waster is to refine their swim stroke to the point that it’s long, smooth and energy-saving.

Once you have developed a front-crawl stroke that is idea for triathlon open water swimming you have reached the first step toward having an enjoyable and relaxing open water swim experience.

Maybe open water swimming doubts and fears are holding you back from enjoying or possibly even attempting your first triathlon or ironman. I may have the other piece of the puzzle to help get you through your open water swim.

Have a look at the Total Immersion swim program.

…Simply one of the best swimming techniques in the world today for triathletes of any level.

This was the program I used to over-come all the worries I had about open-water swimming and for the first time I really began to look forward to Ironman swim training.

I couldn’t believe how simple it was to pick up the proper technique and in a matter of a few days I was swimming better than I ever had in my life.

If open-water swimming(or just swimming in general) is a struggle for you, then Total Immersion might be just what you need to make you a smoother, faster, and more confident swimmer.



TOTAL IMMERSION is offering all IronStruck visitors a 10% discount on Books, DVD’s, and all other Total Immersion teaching tools.

Simply click on TOTAL IMMERSION go to their store page. Use the Coupon Code “ironstruck” (all small case letters) into the shopping cart coupon box and you will automatically receive your 10% discount!

My books have also helped many people improve all aspects their preparation including Ironman swim training. Often what they read helps them realize their first triathlon or Ironman dream.

You can visit my ironstruck book store for more information on the books I have written.


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