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philoswimmer
August 19th, 2013, 06:24 PM
I did an open water swim over the weekend and drafted for almost the entire race (Donner Lake Swim - 2.7 miles). I'm a good drafter and never touch feet; however, the person surely knew I was there and I wonder if they found me annoying. I'm also having a bit of trouble celebrating my time, feeling like I "cheated" (even knowing that it's perfectly legal and accepted). Maybe a better way of putting it is to say that I'm not sure if I could get that time on my own, and so I don't feel quite the same sense of accomplishment. On the other hand, trying to keep up with my draftee did spur me to swim faster and also kept me more mentally focused than usual, which was nice. So, I guess I am looking for how to sort things out for myself, and curious how others think about it.

Chris Stevenson
August 20th, 2013, 10:09 AM
Drafting is a part of the race. But I feel like a drafter should be willing to take a turn pulling, like in cycling. But unlike cycling you can't talk to each other.

One race I was drafting off someone for a time. Then I pulled out to pass -- to take my "turn" -- and he sped up, not wanting me to pass. I wasn't willing to spend the energy in the middle of the race to force the issue, so I went back to drafting off him and out-sprinted him at the end of the race.

Usually I don't draft though, but it isn't for any of the reasons listed. The main reason is that I trust my own sighting ability more than that of others. I was burned a couple times drafting off someone who couldn't swim straight, so drafting actually cost me time/energy.

pwb
August 20th, 2013, 02:16 PM
The main reason is that I trust my own sighting ability more than that of others. I was burned a couple times drafting off someone who couldn't swim straight, so drafting actually cost me time/energy.Good note to self - head east so I can draft off Chris and let him do the sighting.

I draft whenever I can because I'm one of those people who can't swim straight. I'm so bad at swimming straight that, even in the midst of a pack of 10 or so swimmers, I can go from being tucked right in the optimal drafting position to 10 yards away from the pack in a matter of 30-60 seconds if I don't pay attention.

philoswimmer
August 20th, 2013, 04:05 PM
Drafting is a part of the race. But I feel like a drafter should be willing to take a turn pulling, like in cycling. But unlike cycling you can't talk to each other.

One race I was drafting off someone for a time. Then I pulled out to pass -- to take my "turn" -- and he sped up, not wanting me to pass. I wasn't willing to spend the energy in the middle of the race to force the issue, so I went back to drafting off him and out-sprinted him at the end of the race.

Usually I don't draft though, but it isn't for any of the reasons listed. The main reason is that I trust my own sighting ability more than that of others. I was burned a couple times drafting off someone who couldn't swim straight, so drafting actually cost me time/energy.

In the past, I've always been doubtful of the draftee's line or pace. This was the first time I was pretty confident about both (that is, I still did my own sighting, and was working hard to keep up). But I too have been burned in past races by drafting off of someone who was taking a bad line.

Perhaps I should have taken a turn. Not sure what would have happen if I had pulled ahead, though, as your story suggests.

philoswimmer
August 21st, 2013, 01:54 AM
So, I've started to think that there is yet another option for my poll: drafting as a learning experience. I've learned that I can go faster than I thought I could and stay focused more than I thought I could. Now I just need to learn to do those things without someone in front of me. :-)

srcoyote
August 21st, 2013, 09:10 AM
In many races, I end up in that in between speed where I won't be able to draft off of the front pack for more than 400 yards, and I'll pull away from other swimmers so I don't have the option. I've also been pulled off course.

However, a 5K I did a couple of weeks ago, I drafted for most of the first 2/3 of the race. I drafted off of a small pack who didn't seem to be concerned with drafting and were mostly swimming side by side with each other. I saved enough gas to pass probably 10 people in the last half mile.

srcoyote
August 21st, 2013, 09:13 AM
I draft whenever I can because I'm one of those people who can't swim straight. I'm so bad at swimming straight that, even in the midst of a pack of 10 or so swimmers, I can go from being tucked right in the optimal drafting position to 10 yards away from the pack in a matter of 30-60 seconds if I don't pay attention.

I should clarify from above, that I'm horrible at sighting. In race mentioned above, I left the pack in a span of a minute and had to catch back up to them after a kayak put me back on course. At the end when I wasn't drafting I finished 30 yards downshore from the finishing arch. To be fair, the sun was in my eyes, but still.

rxleakem
August 21st, 2013, 09:52 AM
One race I was drafting off someone for a time. Then I pulled out to pass -- to take my "turn" -- and he sped up, not wanting me to pass. I wasn't willing to spend the energy in the middle of the race to force the issue, so I went back to drafting off him and out-sprinted him at the end of the race.

This has happened to me a few times, too. I have no problem taking a draft or giving one, but I don't fight if someone would rather lead. :D

FindingMyInnerFish
August 22nd, 2013, 11:42 AM
No... Others are too far ahead of me to draft off them. ;)

Fresnoid
August 22nd, 2013, 11:10 PM
How can you tell if the person you are drafting is going at a good pace for you? I tried drafting during a 2 mile lake workout last Saturday. The guy I hitched onto is pretty much the same speed I am. He was really pushing a hard pace but when I decided to sneak in behind him, it was very little effort for me to stay on his feet.

philoswimmer
August 23rd, 2013, 01:58 AM
How can you tell if the person you are drafting is going at a good pace for you? I tried drafting during a 2 mile lake workout last Saturday. The guy I hitched onto is pretty much the same speed I am. He was really pushing a hard pace but when I decided to sneak in behind him, it was very little effort for me to stay on his feet.

I have always struggled with this. I think if it's easy to stay on the person's feet, they are probably too slow. You want to be pushing a bit to try to stay up with them. Someone who passes you is a good candidate. But maybe others have better ideas about this.

philoswimmer
August 23rd, 2013, 02:00 AM
I have always struggled with this. I think if it's easy to stay on the person's feet, they are probably too slow. You want to be pushing a bit to try to stay up with them. Someone who passes you is a good candidate. But maybe others have better ideas about this.

I should add: if you're a top swimmer and know you're drafting off another top swimmer, then I think your strategy is different. You pace yourself and try to pass the person near the end. For someone like me, though, who has no chance of winning, I'm trying to get the best time I can. I think. (As I said above, I am conflicted about whether I really want to be doing this).

ALLISONWARE
September 10th, 2013, 11:33 AM
I've struggled with this drafting thing my entire swimming career. I'm one of those that winds up "in between" groups, tends to mentally drfit at some point during a race & sometimes drifts out to my right but swims generally pretty straight. This has spelled disaster whenever I've really tried it in the past - I'm either smashing into someone's feet or I work hard to hang on for as long as I can & then fade. I had an epiphany this weekend during Big Shoulders!

My wave started pretty strong & we were all gunning down the first leg pretty quick. I like to stay out of the fray for the first length of the race just to let things sort out. I was parallel with a pair of people that were already working together well. They were pulling away slightly, but I put my head down & elevated my effort to get over & into their draft train. It never ceases to amaze me how difficult it is for me to stay in someone's draft, I get pushed around a lot & wind up closer than I want to be. No one likes that person that sits behind them & hits their feet when they're swimming fast. I kept my sighting up about every 8-10 strokes just to double-check our line. If I needed to correct I did & they did nearly at the same time. When sitting in it was much easier for me to hold their pace, but not so easy that I could've passed them. Once or twice during each 1/2mi leg both my lead & I pulled over slightly to try to pass. Once out of the draft we both would start to lose pace. THAT's how you know you're in a good draft. When you can probably equal their pace but you can't pass them without putting in a major (read: unsustainable) effort.

The lead guy put in a huge surge as we started the second lap & dropped us. Then I got squeezed out on the next to last turn & wound up losing her. I then drifted far right & had to work really hard to get back to where I should've been. Coming home we were just about equal again but she did have about 10sec on me by the time we got to the beach.

It was a great experience & one I hope I can replicate in the future. Try to pass them every-so-often, that's how you know you're staying honest & not just sitting in.

philoswimmer
September 10th, 2013, 02:27 PM
It was a great experience & one I hope I can replicate in the future. Try to pass them every-so-often, that's how you know you're staying honest & not just sitting in.

Thanks for your race description! That's really helpful. :)

And congrats on your great race!

Gerald
September 12th, 2013, 03:27 AM
I'm a good drafter and never touch feet; however, the person surely knew I was there and I wonder if they found me annoying. ... and curious how others think about it.

Transparent waters with good visibility make drafting so much easier ... When I draft in murky waters I will end up exactly the way you described: touching feet and annoying the swimmer in front of me

cheers from Vienna, Austria
Gerald

Sojerz
September 15th, 2013, 05:49 PM
I tried some drafting in the 1 mile swim leg of a tri this morning with many of the same problems as AllisonWare described above. Similarly, I like to swim on the outside and tend to drift right (my breathing side). I had moderate success at times drafting for short periods, and it did spur me to swim a little harder to keep up. There were about 800 swimming in a fairly shallow bay with the tide running out and the water got pretty turbid especially in some shallow areas, so it was hard to see anything more than about 2-3 feet away. I agree that makes drafting much harder without becoming annoying. Unfortunately, most of the OW swims in the middle and north Atlantic states are in fairly turbid conditions, including many of the lakes, rivers, bays, and ocean (some lakes are better than others) .