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adjective, noun - Arrow refers to the formation of a 3-person relay team in a team pursuit open water swimming competition. In an arrow formation, the lead swimmer is positioned slightly ahead of the 2 trailing swimmers in a tight-pack in order to gain the advantage of drafting and navigating. The trailing swimmers position themselves on the left and right side of the lead swimmer and are generally not responsible for sighting or navigation.

The Australian team used the arrow formation during the team pursuit race at the World Championships.

Tripod vs. Arrow Formation

In the tripod formation, the 3 swimmers rotate positions throughout the race so that the navigational and pacing responsibilities of the lead swimmer is shared among the teammates. In the arrow formation, the lead swimmer remains in the lead and the 2 trailing swimmers remain drafting off the left and right sides of the lead swimmer throughout the race.

Team Pursuit Positions

Tripod or rotating arrow - formation shaped like an arrow with occasional changes of positions among the 3 swimmers
Arrow - no change in the positions among the 3 swimmers
Beeline - swimmers draft directly behind one another throughout the race
Rotating beeline or peloton - swimmers draft directly behind one another throughout the race, occasionally rotating positions
Hybrid - a combination of one or more of the other drafting techniques and formations

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