Natural Health - Peak Performance - Longevity - Adventure
1Vigor logo

birds flying in V Formation
Eney Jones

Open Water Swim V Formation Drafting

Eney Jones, Pool and Open Water Champion

"Some birds are not meant to be caged, that's all. So you let them go.” Stephen King

Swimmers can learn from the V Formation of birds

Scientists have always debated why birds fly in a V position. It makes flight easier and takes less effort. In January 2015, Science magazine released a new study that took it further. Besides being efficient drafting and energy saving, the Scientists found that the birds catch an uplift by syncing their wings.

This new study tracked bald ibises (Geronticus eremita) flying on their annual migration route from Austria to Italy. Each bird was equipped with a GPS, to determine each birds flight position, to within 30 cm, was also equipped and an accelerometer to show the timing of the wing flaps. Surprisingly in aerodynamic perfection. See Upwash exploitation and downwash avoidance by flap phasing in ibis formation flight.

“We didn’t think this was possible,” said one scientist, considering that the feat requires careful flight and incredible awareness of one’s neighbors. “Perhaps these big V formation birds can be thought of quite like an airplane with wings that go up and down.”

For open water swimming the V formation allows you to not only draft in the water but with the air too.

Drafting in the V Formation is a strategy that provides swimmers with the following advantages:

  • Non-engagement. Practice non-engagement at that hip pocket “sweet spot”.
  • Siteing. Still be able to site relying on your own eyes not someone else’s.
  • Freedom to adjust position. Have options to move if you are not comfortable in your position.
  • Feel free. Draft without feeling claustrophobic.
  • Ride high. Ride high like the dolphin on the side of a tanker.
  • Use the water and air. Use moving water and air to your advantage
  • Pace. You are in position to sprint ahead (i) if the pack's pace becomes slower, (ii) if the leader attempts to break away, and (iii) to win as you approach the finish line.
  • The next time you are in an open water race strategically set yourself to take advantage of the best position using the moving air and water. Get out to the side at the hip . . . sync your stroke. And if someone tells you it is for the birds, remember birds know things we don’t.

    Eney Jones has achieved remarkably diverse success as a leading pool, open water and Ironman triathlon swimmer, and is also a yoga instructor.

    • Masters National Champion 100-200-400-500-1500-1650 5k freestyle 2009
    • Open Water 5k Champion Perth Australia, May 2008.
    • National Masters Champion 200-400-1500 freestyle Champion, Portland Oregon, August, 2008.
    • Overall Champion Aumakua 2.4k Maui Hawaii, September 2008
    • Waikiki Rough Water Swim 3rd place 2006, second place Overall 2009, 3rd place 2012
    • European Record Holder and Masters Swimming Champion, 2005. Records included 200, 400, 800, 1500 m freestyle
    • Over twenty time finalist in U.S. Swimming Nationals, including Olympic Trials 1980
    • Gold medal NCAA 800 yd freestyle relay 1979, silver Medalist 200 yd freestyle 1979. United States National Team 1979-1980.
    • Professional Triathlete 1983-1991. First woman out of the water in every Hawaiian Ironman participated (6).

    More about Eney Jones.

    <-- back to top

    1Vigor Log Contest 1Vigor Log Contest Win Prizes! Prizes to the Male and Female who logs the most distance running, hiking, swimming, cycling, pushups on the 1Vigor Log . . . Read more

    Run Training Plans
    Ironman and Ironman 70.3 Triathlon,
    5k-10k races
    2008 ITU Duathlon World Championship in Rimini, Italy Build Speed and Endurance
    Jan Raphael, Ironman Champion
    Chris Harig, Duathlon National Champion

    Books on 1VigorMudford England, by Ralph Teller Recommended reading on swimming, running, cycling, adventure, natural health, nutrition, brain power, nerve force, men's health, hiking, women's health . . . See Books!

    Daily News of Open Water Swimming

    Articles on Open Water Swimming

    PublicationA Pool Workout to Increase Open Water Swim Finish Speed!, Trent Grimsey, 1Vigor

    PublicationCold Water Distance Swimming - How to Acclimate to Cold Water, Ryan Stramrood, 1Vigor

    PublicationDistance Open Water Swimming Tips, Trent Grimsey, 1Vigor

    PublicationPool Workouts to Improve Open Water Swim Speed, Thomas Lurz, 1Vigor

    PublicationHydration and Electrolytes - Impact on Athletic Performance, Paul Bennett, Jr., Ph.D., 1Vigor

    PublicationSwimming Hydration and Electrolyte Strategies - Improved Performance and Muscle Cramp Prevention, Ralph Teller, 1Vigor

    PublicationOvercoming Anxiety During Triathlons and Open Water Swimming, Ralph Teller, 1Vigor

    PublicationHead Position for Open Water Swimming, Eney Jones, 1Vigor


    © Copyright 2015 1Vigor, Inc. All rights reserved.