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Think of a NASCAR race when everyone heads to the pits at the same time.
Only a lot more chaotic.
As if open water swimming isn't crazy enough, there's those crucial seconds when the swimmers pass the floating feeding station.
It happens up to four times during the 10-kilometer race, a mass of swimmers all trying to reach up for sticks that contains some sort of nourishing conconction to help them get through race.
The scramble to find the right feeding pole _ a long stick held out by the swimmers' coach or team, with a bottle attached to the end _ can lead to some harried moments around the float, in a sport that already has plenty of pushing and shoving to begin with.
American swimmer Sean Ryan said he grabs a mix of Gatorade and energy-boosting gel packets when he goes by the feeding station.
"Sometimes there's some caffeine in there, too," he added.
Ryan said it's not as difficult as one might think to find the right feeding pole.
"My feeder wears a really bright-colored shirt, so he's easier to find. And every country has their flag on the end of the stick," he said. "You know about on the dock where your feeder is going to be, so it's not much trouble at all."