How to Swim Straight in Open Water
The trick to swimming straight in open water (and in pools with lane lines!) is breathing.
Here are 6 tips to swimming straight:
1. Using alternate (or bi-lateral) breathing will help you to swim straight. If you can, breathe every three strokes and you will swim a lot straighter.
2. If you find that breathing bilaterally leaves you oxygen-deprived, then you need to find what works for you while helping you keep in a straight line. Try swimming and breathing in different patterns: two strokes on the left and two on the right; then switch to three breaths left and three right. Try two on the left, one on the right, three-one, etc. Experiment to find what works out best for keeping you in a straight line and use that during your race.
3. Try to increase the amount of strokes between sighting, because sighting too often will disrupt your balance and stroke rhythm. See if you can slowly reduce down to 12 strokes with your head down and then peek up once. It’s best to try this into open water so you can practice for your race.
4. Keep your strokes long. Extend that arm out and drive it forward on each stroke.
5. Practice the One Arm Drill (you can find it in the Complete Guide) and make sure you’re not crossing in with your hand. Pay attention to your arm pull.
6. Make sure you practice swimming in open water. If you’re used to the environment you will have an advantage, since you will be more comfortable, and you will have more time to practice swimming straight.
Practice is the most important thing when working on swimming straight. Good luck!