Triathlon Talk–Open Water Swimming Challenges
It’s time to get over my fear of the open water swim.
Last summer I spent much needed solo miles on my bike to get over my of my biking fears and now it is time to do the same with the open water swim. Most of my swimming for triathlon training so far has been in the pool which is soooooo different from swimming in open water. I am ready to tackle this challenge!
The pool is a controlled environment whereas open water can be smooth or it can be choppy as heck causing you to be bounced around like a buoy with water crashing into your face when you go to take a breath. Another challenge with open water swimming is the ability to swim in a straight line. You can quickly add distance to your swim if you are not good at sighting landmarks or buoys to keep you on course. The waves and/or a current depending on the body of water can also cause you to swim in a zig-zag.
Another challenge with open water swimming in triathlon is swimming in a crowd and feeling like your body is in a blender full of arms and legs coming at you in all directions. Last year at the Timberman Half Ironman I got kicked in the face which was no bueno!While I have yet to figure out how to simulate this race day scenario I plan to do more open water swimming in groups this summer if possible. I am also going to practice swimming and protecting my face. This requires taking care to always have one arm up near your face to act as a protectant. I also plan to spend more time swimming in my wetsuit this summer. A wetsuit can cause you to feel constricted which takes some getting used to!
Thankfully I am used to swimming in lakes and rivers as I grew up swimming in open bodies of water when I was a child. For some people swimming in open water can create an additional fear of “what lies beneath.” I still need to adapt to ocean swimming though as the salt water in your face as you take each stroke can be an additional shock!
What are the biggest challenges for you with open water swimming? What do you like the most about open water swimming?