noun - Three-wide (3-wide or 3 wide) is a formation of three open water swimmers or triathletes swimming side-by-side during a competitive open water race, a tandem swim, or a training session.
There was a three-wide coming around the last turn buoy.
Its equivalents (4-wide, 5-wide, 6-wide, 7-wide, 8-wide, etc.) are used when there are more individuals swimming side-by-side.
Usage dating to circa 2001 from Steven Munatones in Huntington Beach, California as adopted for the sport of competitive open water swimming or tandem swims from the modern-day application of a NASCAR racing term.
with Darren Miller, Jamie Patrick, Jen Schumacher and Oliver Wilkinson across the Strait of Gibraltar