“Life is just a game of inches” Al Pacino famously said in his ‘Inch by inch’ speech in the movie Any Given Sunday.

Open water entries and exits are no different. Standing up a few inches too deep can make or break your race. Here’s why…

On the weekend I travelled to Frankston to watch the Melbourne Ironman swim leg. The conditions were spectacular and as an athlete you couldn’t ask for more.

As a coach my default thinking is to look for areas of improvement. Where can an athlete find an extra 1% or 2%? What can they do differently?

The exit for the swim leg was a gradual rise from waist depth to land of about 60m. 90% of the athletes I watched stood up when it was waist deep and slowly walked the rest of the way in..battling against the huge amount of drag that’s created when you’re standing in water.

Ironman Melbourne swim exit


What Should They Have Done Instead?

The fastest way to exit the water is to porpoise/dolphin dive when it’s between waist depth to knee depth (approx 21-40 inches deep), and run with your knees up and feet out to the side when it’s knee depth to dry (approx 0-20 inches). The video below from our Effortless Swimming Membership Program shows you the fastest way to exit the water.

Where can you find 20 seconds?

Let’s say it takes an extra 20 seconds to walk through 40m of water as opposed to porpoising…

Second place in the female pros at Melbourne Ironman was decided by a mere 10 seconds…

If 10 seconds in an Ironman distance event makes a difference, how important are open water skills in a sprint or Olympic distance race?

As Al Pacino said “When we add up all those inches, that’s going to make the ****ing difference between WINNING and LOSING”.


‘Inch by Inch’ speech in Any Given Sunday – **Warning: Explicit language**

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Brenton and Mitch were great to work with at the clinic, Good to get video analysis to work on straight away, practice some new drills and go home knowing what you need to work on.

Alex McFadyen