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Eney Jones

Open Water Swim Sighting - Technique, Drills and Tips to Swim Straight

Eney Jones - Open Water and Pool Competition Champion
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“It is only with the heart one can see rightly, what is essential is invisible to the eye” The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint Exupery

Your nemeses . . . . the sun, the waves, buoys too far apart or dropped by the pack; what should you do?

Trust your pool skills, “Unless you are the lead dog the view does not change” That being written heighten your awareness. Be cognizant of boats, people, animals and obstacles. Never let your guard down. It is like walking down to the subway in New York City. Be aware. Study the course before. Prepare. Periodically (not constantly) check where you are and adjust.

A stabilizing rudder kick will also help you hold your line. As your left hand enters and your right hip lifts, forcibly kick down with your right foot. Do the opposite when your right hand enters, lift your left hip and kick down with your left foot

Buoys

Often you can’t rely on them i.e. Waikiki Rough Water Swim (and many races) can be rough and rolling you can’t see the buoys so use the following:

  • Buildings
  • Trees
  • Cranes
  • Landmarks
  • Or in the Inaugural Flowers Sea Swim 5k and 10k or other races the buoys were and can be far apart. Remember that you can swim straight in the pool by staying connected in your stroke. Right hand to left hand and remember to finish each side equally. Don’t let your form slip. It is the best skill for swimming straight.

    The Sun

    Yes, you will feel like Icarus, but use the sun for sighting. It will keep rising in the same plane. Line yourself up with it if that is the direction you need to go.

    Waves

    Under 4 feet. Cut through them on your catch. Go through them with a 45 degree forearm shoot. Increase your “Split Tempo” gaining time through the air to not get tossed. This will keep you swimming straighter.

    Over 4 feet. Ride them like a dolphin on the side of a tanker. Get lifted. Ride high. Relax. You might even get to air swim!

    Dropped by the pack

    If this happens add some sprinting into your training. Most races “settle” after the initial surge.

    Sighting Technique and Drills

    You can sight with these techniques:

  • Duke or Water Polo Stroke
  • Alligator (just eyes lifted)
  • Sneaky Alligator (eyes forward in clear water to see where the nearest feet or buoys are, as in image above)
  • Practice in the pool by swimming a 300 having the coach change the color of the kickboard every 50 or 100. Report back the order of the colors.

    Try to not break your stroke enabling the following techniques:

  • Breathe earlier with a glance thrown forward
  • Stabilize your head so your eyes are locked on your direction
  • Lift your sternum so your head is in line but higher making sighting easier
  • Lock your eyes like a dancer, your eyes are the last thing that leave the sight and the first thing that return to it. (Just like a dancer making a turn)
  • Remember that sometimes your best eye is in your heart!

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

    • 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

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