Open-Water Masterclass with Keri-Anne Payne

Conquer the waves with 16 top tips from the World Champion and Team GB swimmer

keri-anne payne open water swim  drafting
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4 Essential race skill
Keri-Anne’s race tactic is to lead from the front, so she doesn’t need to draft. For the rest of us mere swimming mortals, drafting is an excellent way to save energy and time. You’ll be swimming in a slipstream (an air pocket of lesser resistance) and letting the person in front do the hard work.

There are two ways to draft:

On someone’s side: Your hand should be hitting the water at around their hip level (mental image: think of a calf swimming next to the mother whale).

Directly behind: Your hands should almost be hitting someone’s feet. Try to swim at their rhythm. Don’t worry if you occasionally hit someone’s feet – it’s expected in open-water. Also, remember to keep sighting as you draft.

Practise both methods in the pool with a friend so you’ll feel comfortable once you’re racing in the open water.

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