It seems obvious that 1500+ people all swimming together would create our own waves, but I hadn’t quite realized how true that is until this last race. My previous large races have been in the ocean and I could blame the rough seas. But this most recent race was in the calmest of lakes.
I was convinced after the race that the wind had really picked up, but I was told that no, indeed, it stayed calm. Thus all the waves and water up my nose must be blamed on the hundreds of swimmers around me.
I don’t know how one can train for that – in terms of finding similar conditions – other than just racing. I suppose the more time you spend in open water and are just comfortable with it, the better.
According to the race director, usually there are a few people pulled from the race at the very beginning. After the first little bit most people make it. Thus, I think if you are worried starting, you could hold back a little at the beginning and find your own calmness in the turbulence.