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Pool to open water

Is there much difference in technique between pool to open water ?

I've only ever swam in a pool and I'm like to do new forest Tri next May, but it means realistically, I'd get about a month of open water swimming training in before.

Are the two different types of Swimming so vastly different ??

What do you guys (and Girls) reckon ?



  • Graeme

    I also want to do the NF Oly and at that point in the season you're right, there won't have been much time for O/W training. This year I competed at Southwaster and really enjoyed it, except for the swim.

    Lots of people have problems with O/W swims; lack of visibility in the water, sighting, turbulence and breathing especially with massed starts, and the lack of regular turns, the cold and wearing a wetsuit which feels totally different. Don't worry about it and try to get some training; they don't allow you to use Ellingham lake except for the competitions. If you live near enough to Horsham then Southwater lake is regularly available.

    You can change to breaststroke to give yourself a break, i've even seen people doing backstroke!(makes sighting difficult), repeated dunking sessions are the only way to deal with the psycho-demons in your head.

    See you there

  • GraemeGraeme Posts: 48
    Thanks for the advice

    I have southcerney lake just a few miles from my house, so when I gets warm enough around early arpil, I'll get down there and get some practice in.

    Thanks again for the advice, and see you at NF tri. (I'll be the one giving the slow guys someone to overtake haha)


  • People with strokes which seem less tidy when their arms are above the water seem to fair better than people with swimmers strokes, ones which are longer, smoother and seem more controlled. They seem to be more robust and have a quicker turnover and are able to deal with turbulence better....whether this means I am suggesting you develop a messy stroke would be a bit misleading, what I would say is concentrate on what you do beneath the water more than what you do on top as that is the part of your stroke that is actually propelling you forward.

    A good way to help with sighting is to go round the lake before you start and pick out markers on the horizon for each stretch of the swim as often the buoys are too small to see or you get dazzled by the sun.


  • BonusBBonusB Posts: 279
    Having seen a comment about back stroke here a warning. Be aware that many places ban it as the straight arm involved looks like the distress signal. So if your thinking of backstroke check it out first with the organisers.
  • hi folks, on the subject of open water i'm struggling a bit myself. i live in chorley in the NW and i cant seem to find a decent place to try some proper open water swimming. does anyone know of any lakes or anything in lancashire or surrounding areas?
  • Rich_CRich_C Posts: 152
    Hi mate,

    I have my first open water swim next may also and will only have limited (at best) OW experience by then too.

    All i can say is that if you get pool experience with a wet suit it will make alot of difference! (if you have not got any experience allready)

    Totally different kettle of fish IMO

    You wont sink if things go wrong!, you can slow down your arms get stay balanced and still make progress. The suit will make you feel more restricted and your arms feel more heavy but the drag factor of your body will be less.

    A decent pair of goggles like the xp mask or the 'eagle' type will make your range of view far better also.

    Im a newbie to all this but I learn fast, especially when im s*****g myself about doing my first triathlon swim[8D]

    Good luck with it all.[:)]

  • Rich_c - were is you open water race next may?
  • I'd agree with DtH, it's different but try and relax and enjoy it - personally I much prefer open water as you can get into a rythmn and really nail the swim. The start can be difficult but pick your position and have confidence in yourself - if you let people swim over you then they will ! When waiting for the start, I generally hear most people saying they hate the swim, so you're not alone. Good luck
  • I'm with mitten on this one. only do open water and my first sea swim this season. get someone to show you how to sight and you'll be away otherwise you tend to focus on all the wrong things.

  • GraemeGraeme Posts: 48
    Thanks for all your advice guys.

    I should be able to get around a month of practice in during April next year, (maybe earlier if it's not too cold) at a lake local to me, so maybe twice a week for 4-6 weeks before, so hopefully open water wont be too new by then,

    I'm a bit worried about tomroom's comment about strong strokers struggling becasue of the thrashing and the turbulance in the water as the stroke is the strongest part of my Swim, but we'll wait and see what happens. At the moment I'm swimming about 3 times a week in the pool with around a 3min 40sec 200 using 16-17strokes per length in a 25mtr pool which is generally quite empty and subsequently calm.

    I'm quite looking forward to NF tri in May as it'll be my first triathlon as well as my first open water swim, so hopefully the addrenaline with drag me through all the slashing about of the mass start and getting half the lake in my mouth at least I wont get dehidrated with a few million gallons of mucky water slushing around in my system. haha.

    Anyway, thanks again for all the helpfull advice. This weekend I'm off to get a wetsuit.


  • Rich_CRich_C Posts: 152
    loonytoon wrote:

    Rich_c - were is you open water race next may?

    The Lanzarote Ironman, May 19th
  • At least with a lake swim you get a high protein drink as well - Southwater is liquid Swan s**t! Low in carbs though!

    visibility is about 10mm and there are no lines on the bottom.


  • Sorry for causing some confusion. What I meant from a strictally what's the difference between a top swimmers and top triathletes stroke? Is that when you watch an olympic 1500m swimmer they will be technically excellent with a long powerful stroke, where as many top triathletes have a shorter less tidy stroke as this enables them to accelerate more easily as they move for position with in swim packs or to try and make a break, moving away from a buoy.

    This is more of an adaptation to drafting racing then a different kind of swimming, with regards the differences in swimming then advice in the thread about sighting, practice and putting yourself in the right place etc is by far the most important message to apply to your own races.

    Although when it does get turbulent have the confidence to get in the thick of it and dont take the knocks to the head personally, just try and plough through and you'll be fine.

  • Graeme,

    Wearing a wetsuit will affect your bouyancy. Depending on the strength of your kick you might find that your legs move closer to the surface and you splash a bit more... I used to compensate for sinking legs in the pool by looking at the bottom of the pool forcing my legs up but I've been working on my technique in the pool since. It'll be interesting to get back into OW next year...

    In OW you obviously need to sight more, so you want to look forward every few strokes. In terms of basic technique though, nothing should change fundamentally. Your catch, rotation, breathing, kick, roll, etc... should all be the same. It's been said already that it does feel different in a wetsuit - if anything it makes it easier. I did my first OW swim in the Cotswold tri (lake 32) in September after having practised in Lake 12 (Saturday mornings 0815 from about May - well organised with lifeguards) so it is good when you can get into OW to practise.

    I haven't done any sea swims yet though!


  • Rich_C wrote:
    The Lanzarote Ironman, May 19th

    Can't use that for Wimbleball prep then [&:]

  • madnursemadnurse Posts: 782
    loonytoon wrote:
    ORIGINAL: Rich_C

    The Lanzarote Ironman, May 19th

    Can't use that for Wimbleball prep then [&:]

    & why not ???
  • madnurse wrote:
    & why not ???

    Um the toughest ironman followed by the toughest Half Ironman only a month apart...nah!! I am gonna pass I think ;)

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