Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.
We previously wrote about geese flying in formation, one example in nature of biomimicry. But, it is always good to review useful principles when discussing drafting in open water swimming.
When geese migrate, they fly in a V formation...for various reasons:
By flying in a V formation, the entire flock increases flight efficiency by 71% vs. a solo bird flying alone. Obviously, geese and professional marathon swimmers who tend to swim in tight packs have something in common in their mutual need to get to their destination quicker and easier.
When a goose temporarily drops from the V formation, the bird feels a greater air resistance and quickly comes back to the formation. An important hint to swimmers who may fall off the back of a pack - and should swim as fast as they can to hang onto the end of the pack.
When the lead goose gets tired of leading the formation, the bird goes to the end of the V formation and another goes takes the lead. When the geese fly in a V formation, they quack in order to encourage the lead bird, enabling the entire flock to continue flying at the same speed.
When a goose gets tired, injured or sick and the bird leaves the V formation, other birds also leave the formation and fly with the slower bird to help and protect until the slower bird recovers or dies.
Underwater photo of open water swimmers courtesy of Deep Blue Media.
Copyright © 2009 by World Open Water Swimming Association