Open Water Tips | 80/20 Endurance

Open Water Tips

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  • #11611
    Joie
    Participant

    So, I’ve been doing tris for a few years now and the swim still freaks me out. I live on the coast so most are ocean swims, done a few lake swims and even a couple of river swims. I can never seem to get comfortable in the water on race day.

    Training in the ocean is no problem, just race day.

    Looking for some tips to to get through the swim so I can get back on dry land and start racing.

    • This topic was modified 5 months ago by Joie.
    #11614
    Bstarr
    Participant

    What exactly bothers you?

    #11615
    Matt Fitzgerald
    Moderator

    I assume it’s the pack swimming element that scares you? If so, I can assure you NOBODY likes that. Practicing swimming in groups can help. That’s harder during a pandemic, but something to tuck away for the future. You can do it in pools as well as open water long as you’ve got people. Preparing mentally also helps–specifically, I would recommend mental rehearsal/visualization. And there’s nothing wrong with swimming in such a way as to minimize contact with others, for example by swimming at the inner or outer edge of the pack.

    #11619
    Marius T
    Participant

    I don’t know your level of competitiveness but, from an average age-group triathlete perspective, is nothing wrong to start the swimming from the back because you are timed when you cross the start/finish line.

    Also, don’t “race” the few hundred meters, let the body enter into the rhythm and don’t “rush the swim” in order to be done with it.

    Try to implement open water drills when you swim alone: sighting, turn without touching the wall, stop swimming in the middle of the line as someone just block you and then resume the swimming

    • This reply was modified 5 months ago by Marius T.
    • This reply was modified 5 months ago by Marius T.
    #11682
    Bstarr
    Participant

    Even though I played water polo and have no issues with crowd swimming, I follow Matt’s stay out of the pack suggestion. Especially if the first part of the race is a long straight, starting well to the outside of everyone adds little distance to the overall race. More than likely the time will be made up being able to swim in relative clear vs. fighting the crowd.

    #11684
    Joie
    Participant

    Thanks everyone for the responses.

    While no one likes to get kicked, pulled, etc in the water, what gets me the most is the fact that I am swimming in water where I cannot touch bottom. I swim in open water with a Kiefer Safer Swimmer mainly so I can be seen by boaters and surfers. I think this gives me confidence that is a little “false” when it comes to race day.

    Some of the suggestions about “not racing the first few yards” is a good one.

    What I was wondering is, “Does everyone have some anxiety about the swim”? If so, are there some “mind tips” that could help me focus away from the fact I’m swimming away from shore into deeper water?

    #11686
    Matt Fitzgerald
    Moderator
    #11687
    Joie
    Participant

    Great article Matt. Thanks for sharing.

    #11767
    Bstarr
    Participant

    @Joie

    The fact that you swim ocean open regularly puts you in a position well ahead of most of us. Thanks to being traumatized by Jaws at the age of 10, swimming in poor visibility for me is very unnerving where as depth of water makes zero difference.

    One tip I ran across in just a brief google fest into open water swimming was to take your focus off the bottom and do something like focus on your hand/arm entry. Made me think about how that could help me as generally you can most always see your hands and arms regardless the visibility.

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