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BigT

Swimming into the tide

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I am doing my first sprint tri this Sunday at Kingscliff.My wave leaves at 7.25 with high tide being 8.26. Does anyone have any tips on swimming into the tide?

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Spend a bit of time looking at the flow, the current will usually flow faster down the middle rather than towards the edge of the river.

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Like riding into the wind I reckon. Swim with a faster turnover. When swimming WITH the tide swim with longer slower strokes.

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as AA7 suggests, look at the course with a sailor's eye. If you know your hydrology from high-school, you'll look for meandering effects of waterways - inside banks generally have less flow, outside banks receive stronger current. Look on google earth for sand shoals and the like along the stream-bed. Have a close look at channel markers or mooring buoys on the morning so you can gauge where the current is strongest. And pay particular attention to the preceding waves to see who gets hit hardest and where.

 

If it's a surf swim, then use the rips where they exist to get out and conserve energy in case an opportunity presents to grab a body wave on the way back in.

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And as it's your first sprint tri (maybe reading first tri??) remember to HAVE FUN!!

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Not sure where the sprint tri starts from but kingy river has a shallow side and a deep side. The shallow side runs down the right hand side heading towards the river mouth. Have a walk down 20mins before race start and check which side is flowing fastest. You may find by that time the flow is pretty slow but one side may be slower then the other. Good luck.

 

p.s. don't go too far right because it can get very shallow.

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Not sure where the sprint tri starts from but kingy river has a shallow side and a deep side. The shallow side runs down the right hand side heading towards the river mouth. Have a walk down 20mins before race start and check which side is flowing fastest. You may find by that time the flow is pretty slow but one side may be slower then the other. Good luck.

 

p.s. don't go too far right because it can get very shallow.

 

So shallow in fact that when I raced there last December I remember swimming in some very shallow water and watching someone 1 metre away get up and wade :shock: Was a strange thing indeed to breathe to the side and be looking at someone's knees despite the fact we were clearly told NOT TO :taz:

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Tortoise is on the money - an hour before high tide there'll be hardly any current at all, lovely clean water and should be deep enough to swim all the way. That was always my preferred time to swim in the creek, any other time and it would be too shallow in a lot of spots.

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1 hour either side of high or low tide there is no need to be concerned - this is slack tide and the flow really slows down. The strength of the tidal flow/ebb is at it's peak halfway between high/low tide, so the closer you get to the middle of the cycle (roughly 6 hours) the more of an issue it becomes.

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Is this where you look for the rip?

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Thanks for all the replies, very helpful. Edit: They have pushed the wave starts back 15 mins.

Edited by BigT

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Also a good idea is to watch the few waves before you to see if there is a "fast lane". There might be a spot from the start that seems to get to the buoy first. (I have never done Kingy so don't really know the course but has worked well at other courses).

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The tide may be coming in but this is a river so the current could well be going out (just not as fast as it does as the tide falls), or at least the "inward current" on the flood tide is much less then the "outward current" on the ebb tide.

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The tide may be coming in but this is a river so the current could well be going out (just not as fast as it does as the tide falls), or at least the "inward current" on the flood tide is much less then the "outward current" on the ebb tide.

 

... and just to add to the above (and not wanting to necessarily scare our OT sprint distance first-timer), but the 'slack tide' phenomenon isn't a constant. Being a regular river swimmer, I've experienced lags, strong surges at the top/bottom of tide, and relative stillness at mid-tide in variously unpredictable forms, just due to local conditions. Could be from rain, recent stormwater surges, eddying effects from newly shifted sand shoals etc...

 

If you're seriously concerned about your swim capabilities (even over 750m), then take each day (race start) as it comes and do your pre-race checks as per above.

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... and just to add to the above (and not wanting to necessarily scare our OT sprint distance first-timer), but the 'slack tide' phenomenon isn't a constant. Being a regular river swimmer, I've experienced lags, strong surges at the top/bottom of tide, and relative stillness at mid-tide in variously unpredictable forms, just due to local conditions. Could be from rain, recent stormwater surges, eddying effects from newly shifted sand shoals etc...

 

If you're seriously concerned about your swim capabilities (even over 750m), then take each day (race start) as it comes and do your pre-race checks as per above.

 

 

....and as a further consideration, the slowest flow is at the river bottom, where the rate of flow is most inhibited by turbulence from the substratum........so for maximum advantage, take a big breath and go deep! :smile1:

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