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In Front of FLAMINGO CAFE, Grace Bay Beach Access between Club Med and Ocean Club East
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The Start   |  The Course   |  The Finish

Turks & Caicos
Open Water Swim Training & Swim Safaris

printable pdf for downloading

10 Tips for each segment of open water racing: The Start, The Course, and The Finish. These tips have been compiled by Ben Stubenberg, Co-Owner/Manager Caicu Naniki Sports Adventures/Turks & Caicos Open Water Swim Training & Swim Safaris. They are based on research, comments by top OW swimmers, and Benʼs own experience as OW swim competitor and co-founder and organizer of the annual Turks & Caicos “Race for the Conch” Eco-SeaSwim held first Saturday of each July.


1. If you are new to open water swimming, don't get caught up in the mad scramble as the top (and some not-so-top) swimmers dive or dash into the water. Swim behind them but still be prepared for jostling by overly enthusiastic swimmers. Open water swimming is a contact sport!
2. If your goggles get bumped away from your eyes, stop, remain calm, put back on, and continue. If they get knocked off completely and you can't find them, consider trying to keep swimming without them. Anticipate the worst and practice for it.
3. Don't sprint in the beginning. It's easy to want to go out fast like others who are fired up by the event, but this will only tire you out right at the start and make the rest of the swim miserable.
4. Get into a steady, comfortable pace, and stay with it for most of the race. Anticipate bumps and even grabs, but always get back into your pace.
5. Good navigation is as important as strong swimming. So check your position every few strokes and make adjustments. This is best done by raising your head as little as possible while continuing to swim. In calm waters you should only have to get your eyes above the water line ("alligator eyes”) to see. In rougher water you will have to lift your head a little more to get above the chop, but regardless, try to keep swimming.
6. It's tempting just to follow the crowd, but better to verify yourself the course route. It is not uncommon for a group of swimmers following a lost leader to get off course. (If you have bad vision, get corrected lens goggles. Barracuda among others makes them. Seeing where you are and where you need to go is critical.)
7. Drafting is legal in most open water races, so you can swim next too and just behind a swimmer ahead of you and get the benefit of a little pull by the water displacement created. Be careful not to interfere with the swimmer you are drafting off of!
8. Rounding a turn buoy can be rough, as swimmers naturally bunch up trying to make the tightest turn. Look at where the swimmers are crowding and go to the outside of them to avoid getting banged. If you are confident and handle some roughness, cut a close angle around the buoy, but don't miss it!
9. When you are about 3/4's through the race, assess your energy level. If you have a lot, pick up the pace. If not, keep the steady pace and pour it on the last 100 meters.
10. Distance swimming is a mind game. You have to focus on going to the finish. Studies show that the mind often gives up before the body give out, so you probably have more reserves than you think. But if you feel overly fatigued, woozy, or get a cramp that is too painful to continue, stop and signal for help by raising your hand. If you are close to the beach, head for it, if you can, and get out. No shame in not completing the race. (Just be sure to tell the race officials that you got out early so they can account for you.)

Caicu Naniki Sports Adventures
Turks & Caicos Open Water Swim Training & Swim Safaris
Caicos Cafe Plaza, Grace Bay
Providenciales, Turks & Caicos Islands
(649) 432-5000 /