Soft Or Hard, Left Or Right – Check It Out First
And turn buoys are a major part of their check list.
These experienced athletes ask themselves the following questions:
1. Where are the turn buoys located?
2. Which direction do I swim around the turn buoys? That is, are the turns left-shoulder turns or right-shoulder turns?
3. Are there any intermediate (or guide) buoys? That is, are there any buoys that are merely positioned for guidance and can be swum around either on the left or the right?
4. Are the turn buoys soft (air-filled) or hard (made of some hardened material or casing)? Note: make sure to swim up to at least the first turn buoy and literally touch it in order to feel the “give” in the buoy. The last thing that you want to do is to hit a hard turn buoy with your arms, legs or head.
5. How are the turn buoys anchored? That is, are the buoys anchored with one rope running down the center or a series of ropes? The last thing that you want is to get tangled up in the ropes that are used to anchor the buoy.
6. What is the direction of the currents around the turn buoys? That is, swim out to at least the first turn buoy and look down below the surface of the water. Under still water conditions without a current or tidal pull, the turn buoys will be positioned directly over the anchor and the rope(s) will be taut from [ocean] floor to buoy. But if the current are running, then you will be able to tell which way the water is moving by looking at the position of the rope(s) and anchor relative to the turn buoy on the surface of the water.
7. What are the color(s) of the turn buoys [and intermediate buoys]?
8. Are the buoys numbered in any way?
9. Are the buoys all the same shape?
10. If the turn buoys are not easy to see from point-to-point, are there safety personnel or official boats between the buoys?
If checking out and knowing the answers to these 10 basic questions, then part of your warm-up and preparation process is complete.
Copyright © 2013 by Open Water Source
Southern California native, born 1962, is the creator of the WOWSA Awards, Oceans Seven, Openwaterpedia, Citrus Corps, World Open Water Swimming Association, Daily News of Open Water Swimming, Global Open Water Swimming Conference. He is Chief Executive Officer of KAATSU Global and KAATSU Research Institute. Inductee in the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame (Honor Swimmer, Class of 2001) and Ice Swimming Hall of Fame (Honor Contributor – Media, Class of 2019), recipient of the International Swimming Hall of Fame’s Poseidon Award (2016), International Swimming Hall of Fame’s Irving Davids-Captain Roger Wheeler Memorial Award (2010), USA Swimming’s Glen S. Hummer Award (2007, 2010) and Harvard University’s John B. Imrie Award (1984). Served on the FINA Technical Open Water Swimming Committee and as Technical Delegate with the 2011 Special Olympics World Summer Games, and 9-time USA Swimming coaching staff.