open water swim - not happy
Custard Pie Posts: 8
in General Chat
I survived, rather than swam, the 400m of open water swim at the Eton Super Sprint. I thought I'd be OK/happy in the water, but ended up breast-stroking, nearly hyperventilating, breathing in lots of water, etc, etc. What should I have done? got in the water earlier to swim? I did swim at the back at the start.
Any help much appreciated before I try swimming up river 800m at the Windsor sprint.
Any help much appreciated before I try swimming up river 800m at the Windsor sprint.
I sympathise and I was/am exactly the same. I think swimming in a pool and then going into open water is really different and a bit scary. Firstly there's the current and then I tended to panic as soon as a bit of water got into my goggles or I took in some saltwater.
Basically it's all about staying calm, getting into your stroke and not panicing and most importantly practising. If you can get into the sea/open water as many times before your event then you'll soon get used to it.
I take it you're wearing a wet suit - it really helps.
Not done an open water swim yet either there are few on here that are old hands who I am sure will be along soon to give some advice...
..however 220 this month has a feature on open water swimming only just got my copy so haven't read it yet but I am fairly sure it will help
Look at the super sprint as something you can learn from rather than get disheartened by. Swimming in a wetsuit generally makes things alot easier especailly as you expend less energy in maintaing bouyancy however wetsuits are designed around an assumption that the wearer wil be using crawl rather than breast stroke. I spent some time playng around with my swimmming with & without the suit. I found my swim improved only by working on stroke technique through use of drills (total immersion is one method that will help with this). Breast stroke is a useful tool to have in your bag of tricks to fall back upon shuold you need it & therefore shuold still be inclusive within your swim practise. Is all too easy to spend weeks or even months training your crawl & ignore the breast stroke come race day when you might need to switch strokes for a while you find your muscles aren't as tuned to swim both strokes as effectively. When swimming breast apply similar principles of long and slow with a relaxed breathing pattern as you would do with crawl. The other thing that will help is swim most days to build on your swim fitness & improve technique ... its that old thing of practise practise practise ..
One top tip is to make sure your zip on your wet suit is secured correctly. This might prevent someone unzipping your wet suit during the initial scrum at the start. Which happened on sunday as someone swam over me and used my zip cord as part of their stroke.
Sadly I thought I had forgotten how to swim rather than realising that my wet suit was letting half the lake in everytime I tried to lift my arm out of the water! Didnt take long to get the wet suit off though!!
I'll be sure to add some breaststroke practice into any swimming I do
So for the Windsor 800m I'll be better mentally prepared and might be able to get in a session at Datchet before hand - just for a bit more experience. practice, experience, practice - as ever is going to win the day
I went into it with a positive mental attitude. If you think you're going to have problems, then you're more likely to, self fulfilling prophecy it's called. For your next event, you could go into it with the scars of this one weighing heavily on your mind. But you need to be positive, analyse the mistakes you made, think about why you hyperventilated, why you ended up drinking half the lake. I suspect you started off a bit too quick? That would cause you to start hyperventilating. That then affects your stroke, you're not clearing your mouth out of the water enough, you swallow some water, cough, lose more breath & so it snowballs. Try & look at some positives from your swim, a)you didn't drown(!), b)you had the sense to breaststroke when you were in trouble, c)you did actually finish it.
Jojo hit the nail on the head really, stay calm. Don't go off too quick, start off slow & build up the speed & in the words on the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy - DON'T PANIC. And get as much practice in open water as you can. Internalise. By that I mean ignore what everybody else is doing & just concentrate on you, & on your stroke, as you would in a pool.
Let us know how the Windsor goes. Cheers.
gasping, drinking lake, being swum over, thinking i was going to sink without trace etc. etc.
I was seriously affected by the whole experience and spent days mulling it over.
The thing which worked for me was to hit it head on and do as many open water training sessions as possible.
I did a beginner course at Heron Lake, then several 'turn up and swims'. This REALLY helps - in the practise makes perfect way.
The experience is still daunting, but 90% of the field are feeling just as antsy too, so you're not alone.
Jump in the water early, spend a minute floating around beathing long and deep, this WILL calm you down, then (at eton) swim out to the first buoy and back.
If you're not a super strong swimmer, there's no shame in getting out to one side at the start and avoiding the 'washing machine'.
In fact, if you know you're not coming out of the water towards the front, why not make a point of avoiding as much hassle as possible and concentrate on getting round 'in a race' without panicing?
As the bunch heads off, swim into the slipstream of someone who's going at your pace and concentrate on staying there, swimming long smooth strokes and feeling calm.
hope that helps a bit
Can I just crop up in Brighton, hit the beach and swim? I know this may sound silly but what with the Nanny State and all you never know about these things.
am sure you get the point
Heron Lake is a great facility
Thanks all again.
Thanks for all the encouragement above
"11th out of the water...." if only
The three things I found most challenging are: swimming long distances in a wet suit and the extra weight and strain on the joints that brings (although they do help buoyancy and streamlining in the water, boy, do my arms get more tired in a wet suit); swimming in the middle of a pack of other swimmers (even if you try to stay away from the pack or to the outside, sometimes you just find yourself in a pack of other swimmers and it can be so demoralising if the your first thought is "get meout of here" instead of "okay, I'm going to swim through this"); swimming, breathing and maintaining rhythm with waves and choppy water (which is more of an issue if you're swimming in the sea, and I only did Dorney and London last summer which are not in the sea). The RG Active sessions helped me with the first 2 tremendously and the 3rd issue wasn't much of a problem for me (and I had a lovely week in Crete swimming long distances in the ocean every day to help me address that a little bit).
It really is down to practice and it can be great if you can do it with other people. If you ever do any open water swimming on your ownin the ocean, it really is best not to just dive right in unless you know the waters really, really well. Always ask someone locally about the conditions and do some research before you go in the water. Always wear a brightly coloured swim cap (it's very surprising how easy it is for a boat to sneak up on you without you hearing it and without them seeing you). And always tell someone where and when you're going swimming and for about how long. I know it sounds very nanny-ish, but I've heard some horror stories from friends and acquaintances that might have been avoided had they heeded all that advice.
And another thing on a related subject: I can't seem to find a swimming pool that will let me practice with my wet suit on (I train around Hackney, Islington, and Tower Hamlets if anyone has any positive experiences). That kind of ticks me off, because I don't really see the problem with swimming in a wet suit in a swimming pool (one place told me that it would make me more difficult to rescue if they tried to pull me out of the water - after I'd been swimming there every week for 2 years doing 1,000-2,000 meters without needing any help; another place told me that they were concerned that I would bring dirt and contaminants into the pool via my wet suit - after watching hundreds of people go in the swimming pool without showering first; another place told me that other swimmers complained about my appearance - but I never complained about the obese land mammals they let in with skimpy trunks and floral prints). Isn't this something the BTA or us triathletes ought to be campaigning for?
I've done a few sessions in various pools now where I just go in and start swimming. Never been stopped, and few people want a confrontation so just leave you to it. (See the Courtney's gyms in Redhill and though I cantrecall the the other one I think it is in Horley, or at least near Gatwick)
I fully agree with your comments r.e. people who enter the pool without showering first and then complaining about a wet suit and can only laugh about your comment and land whales. Who the hell has an issue with seeing someon in a wetsuit? Strange world.
A friend tells me that if you join a gym with a swimming pool, then they don't complain about wet suits. Pay extra for the privilege, perhaps.