Rough water swimming is a skill. And at the professional level, I don't think we should mitigate the impact of a lack of skill.In my sport, there are many things I forget are skills; some I take for granted, so I don't work on, some I just don't think about. One of those is staying upright and staying on the bike, regardless of what happens around you (such as crashes). That's a skill I needed for at least two important-to-me races last season (State Crit, Cookeville; Village VW Crit, Chattanooga), but I didn't appreciate or really even think about it until I was reminded. It definitely made me consider focusing on such a skill when training!
Obviously there are macro skills like being able to ride and sprinting and climbing and cornering, but there are also micro skills like clipping in at the start line and reading the competition and communicating with your teammates. I will be working on all of these and more this season.