What to Expect During an Ocean Swim

Swimming in the open ocean—either for a triathlon or an open water swim—can throw a wrench in your race preparation.

At the 2013 Encinitas Triathlon, for example, the ocean swim just happened to fall on a day of unusually high waves and rough breaks, coupled with a strong current that flowed right through the race course. The race directors offered to change entries to a duathlon for those uncomfortable tackling the conditions, but several triathletes (many first-timers) braved the elements and eventually got through it.

Ocean swimming is a lot different from swimming pools or even open water swimming in ponds and lakes. Here are eight elements of ocean swimming that will play a factor the first time you dive into the vast sea for your coastal triathlon.

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