It’s hard to believe that in just weeks we will be swimming open water. I promise you…. the snow will stop falling, the sun will come out and the circle of life will begin all over again.
One of my favorite feelings is passing by a tree that seems to have been destroyed by winter… and seeing a tiny purple bud. Signaling that new life is upon us. A new season. A new beginning. Getting outside, breathing the fresh air…. it’s coming. I promise.
One of the things we did in our recent swim camps was to simulate the open water experience for swimmers. Click here for the recap. We simulated mass starts, time trial starts and were able to recreate exactly what happens in open water.
The feedback was great “I was able to feel that panic about being in the middle of so many people.” and “I realized that when people hit you in open water, they don’t mean it.” Exactly.
We worked on a few different ways to navigate a buoy, how to get the wetsuit off, how to dolphin in shallow water (and why to use that technique). It really helped us re-crate the situation many athletes find themselves in.
Preparation is truly key when it comes to open water. Many athletes will swim their first open water swim of the season during their first race of the season! For many reasons this happens, the main one being that access to open water can be limited, as well as temperature of open water if it is available.
So what can you do to get yourself ready? Here are a few tips to try:
1. Swim 2-3 people across in one lane. Grab 2-3 friends of similar speeds and jump in a lane. Push off the wall and swim a few hundred yards together, 2-3 abreast. You will simulate the feeling of swimming in close quarters and learn how to deal with it.
2. Take out the lane lines and swim! This would of course need to be something your pool allows, and many do not. If you get lucky and your pool does allow this….. grab some friends and swim circles around the perimeter of the pool. The waves created will give you some semblance of open water, and really….. you only need four
3. Swim in your wetsuit. It sounds funny, and is awkward to do, but bring your wetsuit to the pool. Not for buoyancy …… but to get into it…. swim and get out of it! Have you ever tried to take a wetsuit off and gotten your feet stuck? Every time you tell yourself…… I need to practice this! So practice it!!!!! Don’t worry what others think…. get in your wetsuit and own it!
A few ounces of practice goes for miles and miles in the open water.
I love open water. I love the fluidity (yes…. I know it is water!)…. I love the unexpected quality that it brings. In the ocean I love the rhythm of the waves, and sometimes the frantic nature of them. In lakes I don’t find that pattern so much but I find beauty in allowing myself to deal with whatever comes at me.
Like life…. water is not truly what happens to you….. but how you react to it. Ride the waves, don’t get angry with them, they are not something you can truly control.
Don’t let the cold weather scare you, don’t let it turn you away from your season plans and your season goals….. grab your wetsuit… me of your favorite friends….. head to the pool and have fun!