My biggest fear when I first decided to attempt a triathlon was the swim. My wife was a collegiate swimmer and turned to triathlon after college. For five years I attended triathlons, volunteered, cheered, and had a great time. I always said I would never do it because there was no way I could swim that far.
Then one day, after one of the many tris where I volunteered, I got the voice. You know, the voice in your head that you sometimes wish would just go back to sleep. The voice that eerily says, “I wanna do it.” For some strange reason, I listened to the voice and I signed myself up for a tri that was two months away. My wonderful fishlike wife taught me how to swim properly, and then it was up to me to put in the time in the water to prepare. Here we go.
When race day arrived I was ready! I knew that I was going to be slow and I was all right with that. I knew that I was going to have to backstroke some, too, and that was not a big deal to me either I have never been afraid of the open water. I have grown up swimming in a lake, and never worried about things like drowning or being eaten by the 800 pound catfish lurking at the bottom. What bit me in the lake that morning had nothing to do with fish.
The gun went off and off we went. Since I knew I would be slow I had seeded myself toward the back to minimize the carnage. Once the folks in front of me cleared out a bit, I took off. I got myself into a nice rhythm and was feeling good. This is about when disaster struck. I decided I should look up and see how much progress I had made and to my surprise, I was WAY off course. The pack was roughly 50-60 meters off to my right swimming toward the turn, and I was swimming the wrong direction. I ended up swimming back toward the group and finishing the swim in a zigzag fashion.
Sighting: It’s that important!
I learned in this race that in order to finish the swim, you have to know where you are going. And in order to know where you are going, you have to learn to sight. This was a concept that honestly, I hadn’t even thought about in all of my swim training. So take my mistake and run with it. When swimming in the pool, especially when you are tired and struggling (because that is how you will be come race day), practice looking up every so often to see where you are going. You might even swim with your eyes closed except when sighting because in many cases in open water, you won’t be able to see two inches in front of your face! Don’t be like me! Learn to sight and make your first tri experience a lot easier on yourself!
Jesus, my wife Kylie, cool kids Parks and Cana, Emergency Nursing, tri'ing, wakeboarding, fishing, mountain biking, guitar, the lake