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In a pool swim, athletes will generally kick off from the wall every 15 seconds or so after seeding themselves or being seeded based on time. This allows for a fairly orderly swim. Some events have you travel down one side of the lane, return on the other side of the same lane and then duck under the lane line to repeat the process until the desired distance is completed. At other events, athletes with go down one lane, duck under the lane marker and come back up in the next lane over. And still other events will have you swim back and forth in your own lane the whole time while other athletes wait their turn. The exact manner depends on the event and will be explained by the race director before the start.

Sighting

It's been said that everyone swims in a circle. The size of the circle depends on the person. Some circles are barely noticeable, while others are about as small as a dime. That's why there are lines in the bottom of the pool. In open water, though, the lines can be hard to see. Enter sighting.

Sighting simply means looking up every few strokes to see that you're heading in the right direction. How often you look depends on how far off course you become and how quickly you get there. If your circle is small, for example, you'll need to sight more often. Large circle swimmers, less so. What's more, you only have to peek over the water's surface to look forward. Bringing your head entirely out of the water isn't really necessary and could strain your neck. Ouch!

You Survived!
Nearing the end of the swim, it's a good idea to slow down a bit. Try to catch your breath and become more oriented. You could lose a few seconds, but you'll be less likely to fall over or pass out entirely when exiting the water. Keep in mind that you made it. And here you thought you'd endup in the back of the meat wagon. Shame on you. Have a little faith in yourself. With an attitude like that, you'll never make it through the bike and the run.

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