The contrast at the start of open water swims is always a joy to observe.

Some athletes are focused and concentrating on getting out strong and fast around the first buoy. They are usually quiet, reserved, and staring out ahead, scanning the race course.

Others, in contrast, are talking with other athletes, oblivious to the instructions of the referee or starter.

These athletes are usually smiling and relaxed; they are almost ready to go, but just as comfortable to stand around and talk a little bit more.

Photo of the start of the Plivački maraton Jarak-Šabac (Jarak-Šabac Marathon Swim) in Serbia by Vojislav Mijić shows this contrast in the women’s elite heat.

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