Hydration And Fueling Drills For The Open Water
Whether you are hydrating before a 2K swim or re-fueling during an English Channel attempt, the importance of feeding during open water swims cannot be underestimated.
Practice feeding whether you are training in a pool or training in an open body of water.
During practice in a pool or open water, swim to the side of the pool or dock (or your escort boat or kayaker) and learn to quickly drink liquids while turning over on your backs and without losing momentum.
Grab your cup or bottle from your coach or from a feeding stick from the dock, drink and get on with your swim. Feeding is not resting.
Feeding stops serve another purpose unless you want to use your feeding to stretch our your back, chat with your coach, look around at your surroundings or just chill out and enjoy the moment and ambiance of the open water.
Just as swimmers are jostling with one another in the water, there is usually a bit of gentlemanly jostling among the coaches. The coaches sometimes shift positions relative to each other on the dock as the swimmers head towards the dock.
Experienced swimmers prepare their gel packs by ‘pre-slitting’ the gel packs and placing them in their swim suits so the gel packs do not rub and are easy to grab.
Some professional marathon swimmers are comfortable swimming with more than a few gel packs in their swim suits. They down their gel packs effortlessly in a matter of seconds.
The swimmers rip open their gel packs in the water and consume most of the contents in one quick gulp on their backs without losing momentum. Such smooth moves do take practice that is all mastered before race day.
WOWSA advocates a four-step process that includes Spot and Seek (as the swimmer approaches the feeding pontoon), Reach and Roll (as the swimmer grabs the cup or bottle), Gulp and Go (within 2-3 seconds while on one’s back), and Toss and Turn (as the swimmers throws the cup away and turns to go).