General Discussion Triathlon Talk » Open Water Swimming Advice Rss Feed  
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2016-08-16 11:24 AM


Subject: Open Water Swimming Advice
Last weekend was the ow practice swim for the Oly I've entered for this weekend. I'm comfortable swimming the distance in the pool non-stop (note: comfortable, not fast), but for some reason I felt like I forgot how swim in the lake. I don't know if I started out too fast and just didn't exhale properly, but I was struggling and had to breaststroke at times. It's really discouraging so close to the race. I appreciate any tips for keeping it "together" on race day.

2016-08-16 11:41 AM
in reply to: cmbell

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Tacoma, Washington
Subject: RE: Open Water Swimming Advice

Some things that may help:

* Make sure you get past the "gasp reaction" before you start swimming. Putting your face in cold (or cool) water causes an automatic reaction to hold your breath. That subsides as you get used to the temperature, but if you start swimming while still in that state, you'll find yourself in oxygen debt quickly and will have a heck of a time getting past it.

* In the pool, I breathe on either every third stroke (alternating sides) or do a 2-3-2-3 alternating pattern. Often in the open water I will end up doing a continuous 2 pattern (on one side constantly), and sometimes need to switch sides for waves/sun/sighting. Upshot -- you may need to take a breath more often in open water.

* Sighting can be an issue for a lot of people, and the trick is to time it and make it brief enough that your feet aren't dropping in the water. Don't worry too much if you don't get a full view of your surroundings on any particular stroke, just take a mental snapshot and start processing it. Take another mental snapshot on the next stroke and refine your course.

Hope that helps.

2016-08-16 11:50 AM
in reply to: cmbell

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South Windsor, CT
Subject: RE: Open Water Swimming Advice
A thread on OWS was done a while back with some nice pointers.
2016-08-16 3:10 PM
in reply to: #5195382

Subject: RE: Open Water Swimming Advice
In my experience what helps me is to warmups in the water prior to the actual swim so you can get your body adjusted to the temp. Start out easy and focus on the breathing. Dont worry If you have to take a couple of breast stokes to get you in the groove and back in track. Good luck and I am sure you will do great.
2016-08-23 1:35 PM
in reply to: cmbell


Subject: RE: Open Water Swimming Advice
Thanks everyone for the advice. I did take advantage of the pre-race warm up which seemed to help significantly. The water was 83 degrees so there was no wetsuit nor really the need to acclimate to the temperature, but it was useful just to get in without the pressure of the clock or other people thrashing around next to me. Normally I am a bilateral breather, but I found it difficult to sight from the right side so I primarily stuck to breathing on the left. All in all, my time was as good as I could have hoped for.
2016-08-23 1:57 PM
in reply to: 0

Subject: RE: Open Water Swimming Advice

Great job!

If it felt "OK"ish this time. Next time can be great.

Edited by jhaack39 2016-08-23 1:58 PM

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