Open Water Lesson:
When you are swimming next to an escort boat, try to stay within 10-20 feet from the boat on either side. This is an important matter to discuss with your pilot. Most pilots want you to be comfortable on your favorite side, but...
Because there are times you will HAVE to move to a particular side per request from your pilot ... you should be comfortable breathing on BOTH sides of your body, in other words, alternate breathing pattern.
I prefer to swim on the pilot's side, usually midway between the bow and the stern ... BUT there are times when conditions do not allow the pilot to stay in that position, so you should be comfortable being ahead of the boat or slightly behind.
It took me some time to adjust and realize the pilot was having a hard time staying right next to me, possibly the weather/water conditions was preventing the stable position.
Keep an eye on the boat, but try not to focus on it all the time. TRUST in your pilot and team, they're looking out for you.
It is your responsibility to stay next to boat. In most long swims, your pilot has a course set for the shortest swim according to your speed. If you veer off course, while swimming away from the boat, your pilot will have to leave course and follow you. A new course must be set and you may miss tide changes that may slow you down.
You can practice this important subject by swimming next to kayak or canoe escorts.
It is easier to discuss these matters with your pilot before hand than be screaming at each other in the water.
Dream, Prepare, Succeed. Marcella