Starting position in an open water competition
There are several factors to consider here.
The most important point is always the own body feeling!
You should always be in a position where you feel comfortable, but that doesn't mean it will be easy.
Then it depends on what you want to achieve and what swimming skills you have.
If you are not exactly the best and fastest swimmer, I advise you to take a position to the left or right of the middle. The position of the first buoy plays an important role. For example, if you have to swim to the left after the first buoy, a weaker swimmer would be better off swimming on the right side of the starting field. Everyone will try to use the ideal line to the first buoy. The shortest distance around the buoy does not have to be the fastest distance, however, because maintaining your own speed and not having to cross can bring a big advantage.
This means, however, that you have to complete a few extra metres, the art is to swim only as much more as necessary in order to have enough free space.
Go to the swim course and look for special landmarks (tree, building, flag,...) on your course!
An important point in direct preparation is therefore to go through the swimming course in your head beforehand. Use your landmarks and think carefully about the route and the landmark you will see. Use high landmarks, because if you swim you usually can't see the buoys very well.
So try to visualize your course once in your head, including how many laps you have to swim!
Water start or land start
Shortly before the water start you have to stop at the imaginary start line (treading water). This is a big problem and often it gets tight. So try to keep a little space and make yourself a little wider. In the second or third row it is difficult to predict how the crowd will behave, so it is not necessary to plan anything. Swim with the mass and decide spontaneously depending on the gap where you have to go.
If you have enough space, you can also lie down horizontally in the water, a neoprene helps here! This technique can often give you a small advantage despite your poorer position.
When starting from land, you don't need to leave any space before the start. You should run into the water so that there is a gap in front of you when the water is deep enough to swim!
Don't overdo it with the pace of running in, your pulse rises very fast and you will have problems breathing during the first swims.