Open-Water Swimming Tips From The Pros

  • By Aaron Hersh
  • Published Mar 1, 2012
  • Updated Oct 31, 2014 at 4:37 PM UTC
Photo: Nils Nilsen

Two-time Abu Dhabi International Triathlon champion Julie Dibens and Ironman winner James Cunnama share five rules of a successful open-water swim with a group of local high school students.

Rule 1: Keep your space

“In the pool, you’re in a lane by yourself. In a triathlon, you have 50, 100, even 200 people trying to get to the same spot. It’s hard to stay in a straight line. You have to figure out how to make the most of it and get a draft,” says Dibens.

“Don’t hang on to a boat, kayak or buoy [before a deep water start],” adds Cunnama. “It doesn’t make a good start because something is in your way. It’s hard to get a good kick in. Get some space.”

PHOTOS: Abu Dhabi Swim Clinic

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FILED UNDER: Swim / Training TAGS: /

Aaron Hersh

Aaron Hersh

Aaron Hersh is the Senior Tech Editor of Triathlete magazine. To submit a question, write Aaron at

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