Tips on Drafting on the Triathlon Swim

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Is it legal to draft off of other swimmers in a triathlon?


Is it a good idea to draft off of other swimmers in a triathlon?


Most people draft in the swim, whether they know it or not (except of course, whoever the leader is). But how can you get better at it?
Here are a few tips:

1. The most draft you will get is directly behind another swimmer. If they are just slightly faster than you, you will get a nice ride.

2. Having said that, it can sometimes be easier to draft from their hip instead of their feet. You can avoid the splashing and touching their feet every stroke this way.

3. If you are drafting off of someone and start falling behind, don’t worry. Instead of cranking it up to a pace you may not be ready for, simply continue your pace and find someone else to swim behind.

Here’s a quote from Mens Health magazine on drafting during a swim: “After a series of lab tests, Portuguese scientists concluded that a swimmer who stays 2 feet behind another athlete’s foot kicks experiences 44 percent less drag through the water. What’s more, you can draft off another triathlete from as far back as 19 feet and still reduce your drag by 16 percent. ‘You’ll maintain an overall higher race pace, since you’ll be sparing energy,’ says Antonio Silva, Ph.D., the study’s lead author.”

Drafting can be a huge advantage on the swim. And don’t think you have to be in a huge pack to benefit the most from it. All it takes is one other swimmer. Practice drafting, and you’ll be amazed at how much work others are willing to do for you in a race!