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fear of open water!!

Hi there guys,

i am new to tri, just been training for 6 months for it and decided to bite the bullet and enter a sprint this july. i am not the best swimmer by any imagination, only had a handful of lessons in front crawl but now find myself facing an open water swim. daunting at the best of times but i have a huge far of open water. it may seem a stupid decision to press ahead but facing my fear is one of the reasons to do it. what i need now a pointers for open water swimming and ideally recommendations on where to get a bit of coaching in and around beds, bucks, herts area.

any help greatly appreciated



  • BarGolfBarGolf Posts: 10
    Good for you Matt!

    I'd say the thing you need to do is find a look Tri club that has open water sessions and get down with them. The first couple of times it can seem a bit daunting - but personally I now much prefer it to pool swimming.

    I don't know where in the region you are - I'm in Milton Keynes and swim with TeamMK. We typically use two lakes, Haversham and Brogborough. Brogborough is also frequently my the Boxfit Triathlon Club from the Bedford area, they also have their primary lake at Box End. Haversham and Brogborough means early mornings, whereas Box End have lunchtime sessions too.

    You'll need a wetsuit, but you can get a Tri-specific one for near £100 these days and should last a few years if looked after.

    Any of the 'regulars' at these clubs will be happy to give you an intro to open water and watch out for you. (Important - never swim OW on your own).

    Can you do 800m in a pool?

    (another) Matt.
  • nicknofingernicknofinger Posts: 284
    This place is amazing I don't know how far it is from you. I went here after having a panic attack in the water, 6 months later I did an Ironman. I'd strongly advise getting in the open water before an event.

    Really freindly, helpful and a great experience.

  • shadowone1shadowone1 Posts: 1,408
    This is normal when your not used to OW.

    Don't worry about the fear, embrace it. First thing is when you get there and get into the water it will take your breath away about how cold it is. Get the face in the water then back out and repeat.

    I can tell you right now that you will struggle in your first session. Without a doubt. Don't worry this is normal. Second time round it becomes easier, then easier in so much you don't notice how cold it actually is. Eventually you will grow to love OW swimming. I've stopped doing pool tri's now cause I prefer OW.

    First time round, I nearly hyperventilated. I then went on to swim IMUK just fine.

    But you need to get in that water. Get used to sighting and not having a lovely black line to follow at the bottom.
  • jamewahjamewah Posts: 113
    Good luck finding a sprint with an open water swim, usually pool based with the exception of ones like Blenheim.
    There might be more down your end but around here very few and far between.
    Open water is much more fun,
    Good luck I'm sure your'll crack it
  • willieverfinishwillieverfinish Posts: 1,381
    Here is a great thread from "the other forum" that'll help
  • I'm not a strong swimmer and my first experience of the open water was horrible. I had some goggles for pool based swimming and they filled up with water not to mention the sun shining in my face. After doing 1,000 metres I came out dreading competing in open water.

    A week later I did my first open water swim and although I was towards the back of the field I really enjoyed the swim and it gave me confidence that I can do open water (i did buy some open water goggles though).
  • QuitterQuitter Posts: 160
    I believe OW swimming is THE coolest thing we do.
    Anyone can bike or run.

    Tell people you swim in rivers, lakes and canals and eyebrows instantly raise.

    Enjoy it.
  • jamewahjamewah Posts: 113
    Yeah, I second that.
    The rather cool and dark, somewhat pepsi-esq waters of the wharf at wetherby were rather interesting today.
    I love it
  • wayfarerwayfarer Posts: 34
    I have signed up for 2 open water races this year (one sprint, one olympic), and likewise am not particularly looking forward to the swim (happy in the pool). I have signed up for a number of "intro" sessions in the local area (I'm London based, www.swimfortri.co.uk are holding sessions in the Serpentine)

    My hope is that after these, and a few trips to the local lido (Tooting Bec) I shall at least feel more confident come race time.
  • gasgasgasgas Posts: 21
    i know exactly where you are coming from and a week ago i thought that i would never ever be able to swim OW, but i attended the pre blenheim OW swim course at copthorne lake in reading with a very knowledgable guy called Clive Alderson, he took us through everything step by step and by the end of the session i felt very comfortable in the water.

    I would highly recomend getting some coaching it worked for me and i never thought it would!
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