When it comes to swimming in open ocean and surf conditions there is no one more qualified to share tips than XTERRA veteran elite Ben Allen from Australia.
Ben has been one of XTERRA’s top elite racers for more than a decade and has 18 career wins on the XTERRA World Tour to prove it. At the sports biggest event, the XTERRA World Championship, he’s finished third three times in four years (2013-2016) and he’s always one of the first guys out of the water.
When he’s not racing, Ben saves lives as a professional surf lifesaver and ocean lifeguard.
Here are his top 5 swim tips:
1. High Knees and High Elbows
At the start, high knees and high elbows, what we call Wading, allows you to extend yourself further out of the water gaining distance before starting to dolphin dive or swim.
2. Read the Water
Use the ocean to your advantage; focus on what you can identify such as; rips, currents, waves, wind, and tides. They can help you in more ways than one...
3. Heads Up
Head up and look forward every few strokes to identify or sight the buoy and to make sure you are swimming in the right direction. This also helps you identify waves and avoid other swimmers.
4. Dolphin Dive
Once you can’t wade anymore, dive forward and under the water with arms outstretched. When you reach the bottom, push off with your legs and repeat the diving motion again and again. This is called dolphin diving, because from above the water you’ll look like a dolphin.
5. High Elbow Recovery
A high elbow recovery allows for a good angle for the hand entry by enabling the swimmer to dive their hand into the water and immediately initiate the pulling motion.
Ben’s wife Jacqui is also a professional XTERRA racer and won the 2019 XTERRA New Zealand Championship for the fourth straight year in April, and together Ben and Jacqui have more than 30 championship wins and are accredited triathlon coaches servicing athletes of all skill levels.