It is great when you feel healthy, loose, fast, attentive, calm, balanced and ready for whatever it comes.
Preparation is in the past now, and all you have to do is UNLEASH.
Rivals? Why? They are playing the same game you are. Use them as your pacing buddies.
Time? Time will just hold you back with frustration, weather conditions are out of your control.
What is more important then?
The excitement of the start:
The body floating and and skimming the water from side to side in synchronicity;
The feel of your body in aerodynamic position circling pass the air;
The feeling of freedom on every step lightly moving you forward;
The sense of accomplishment when you cross the finish line.