Tips for Race Day
1. Bring an Extra Pair of Goggles
Always keep two pair of broken-in goggles on hand--a clear set and a dark set. Use the clear set of goggles for rainy, cloudy or foggy days. Use the dark set for bright, sunny days. Use both pairs of goggles during your pool practices so you are equally comfortable with both pairs.
2. Use Silicon Ear Plugs
Marathon swimmers and surfers who train in cold water frequently use ear plugs to limit irritation and help prevent ear infections.
3. Bring a Small Towel
A small throw-away towel is convenient in order to clean your hands after applying Vaseline or other skin lubricants to your chaffing areas before the start. Carry it with you just in case you bump into another swimmer or get something on your goggles, then toss it just before the start.
4. Talk to Experienced Swimmers
Look for those alpha athletes who warm-up before the race. They are a great resource for questions you might have about the course, such as what direction the currents are going or what to expect out in the water. Tell them that you are a newcomer and are looking for a few good tips from experienced swimmers. They will appreciate the compliment and be happy to share their knowledge.
5. Understand That Insomnia is Part of the Journey
Most people get nervous before a competition. Understand that you may not sleep well the night before your race. Get a good night's sleep in the week leading up to the race, but don't stress if you can't sleep well the night before. Wake up, get prepared and enjoy the big event.
Steven Munatones is a multi-time USA Swimming national open water swim team coach, NBC Olympics marathon swimming commentator, International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame inductee and 1982 world 25K swimming champion. He created the Open Water Swimming Dictionary, and conducts race analysis and research on open water swimming—from drafting to stroke technique—for the website The Daily News of Open Water Swimming.