Here’s a quick drill to help learn good sighting techniques for open-water and triathlon swimming.
Why Do It:
Learning how to sight with one arm extended (single-arm sighting) and learning how to use your pulling arm to help you get a quick look ahead, are important skills in open-water swimming.
How to Do It:
1. Start by practicing some standard single-arm freestyle, with the non-pulling arm held out in front.
2. Breathe to the pulling-arm side, and do your best to keep the extended arm close to the surface of the water.
3. After you’ve practiced for a few lengths, you’ll begin to alternate breathing to the side and, in the same rhythm, lifting the eyes just over the surface of the water.
4. Keep the extended arm close to the surface, and lift your head just enough to get your eyes out.
5. Lower your head back to a neutral position, and then turn for the breath.
How to Do It Really Well (the Fine Points):
WHEN you push yourself up is very important. You want to avoid having the head and the arm above water for too long at the same time, so start to push the head up about half way through the pulling phase. The arm out front will be used as a bit of a brace, and when the pulling arm recovers, your head will be falling back into the water. Remember, try to have either your head or your arm out of the water, not both.
To see more on sighting techniques and triathlon swimming, check out Sara McLarty’s DVD.