Guy Giles opens his account with the TORQ Performance Swimming Team with a fantastic win in an exciting yet slightly nerve racking day at the River Arun 3.8k.
My preperation coming into the race had been ok, but had also been alongside juggling my university exams, and being the first Open Water race of the season, it was difficult to know what to expect.
The site of the race, the River Arun in Littlehampton, is known for being the second most tidal river in the UK; and we were swimming downstream! Sounded great, even though we were to set off in the 30 minute ‘slack period’ where there is supposedly no current. As we prepared for the start in the water I can confirm their certainly was a current, and it wasn’t going downstream! The 3.8km just got slightly harder!
Despite this, I followed my normal race tactics. This was to go out fast for the first 100-300 metres before settling into a steady rhythm. I do this in order to secure myself clean water and avoid being stuck in a main pack where energy is spent fighting and jostling for swimming lines. I also try to stay aware of who is in front or behind me during the race, so that I can plan my tactics as the race goes on. This is one of the best parts of Open Water racing, because as the conditions change and the race develops you have to make decisions on your line, pace and positioning. Never once have I had a pre-race plan that I have not altered slightly during a race.
My start clearly took the other elite racers by surprise and allowed me to open up an early gap. A benefit of taking the lead position in this race meant I got a lead kayak, making my navigation slightly easier. As the race progressed, I made sure I took the best lines I could around the several bends we had to navigate in order to avoid losing any time on the chasing pack. As I reached the halfway point, the race was going well, having seemingly continued to open up a gap. At this point I was well into a steady stroke, saving my legs for the last 1km or so.
As the finish came into site I had a comfortable lead. I finished in a time of 49.03, which ended up being 5 minutes clear of the next competitor. As I made my way up the finishing ramp the heavens opened, so out came my amazing sponsored Dryrobe which enabled me to warm up no end!
Overall, a great first day in the office for TORQ and a great way to start the season!
As always a huge thank you to all of our team sponsors for their support of the TORQ Performance Swim Team. Without them, we wouldn’t be able to do what we do.