Open Water Swimming – Advice
Takes a couple of sessions to get used to the resistance of the wetsuit (assuming you’re using one!). I’ve been swimming open water for years and still take a little time to adjust. Bit cold at this time of year too, and that just makes you tense up which doesn’t help. Stick at it…!Posted 3 years agotonSubscriber
back in the 90’s, when I was half fit, my swim time for the 1500 was always slower in open water than in a pool. I needed to swim with my head higher, to keep on course.Posted 3 years ago
the cold water, current are also something that takes time to get used to.
stick with it Jase….. 8)caffeineoldbeanMember
Probably nerves. Such a difference swimming in open waters compared to a pool. Just getting used to the lack of vis can get you breathing hard and you lift your head out alot more to see where the hell you are going which buggers up your stroke. You have to train to relax and keep calm. Get into a rhythm of counting your strokes can help.Posted 3 years agostick_manMember
Caffeine +1, a lot of it will be anxiety. Once you get more used to open water swimming the effect of the cold water on your face isn’t such a shock and doesn’t affect your breathing as much. Also as you relax your stroke tech will improve. Longer swims of 1km+ will give you time to acclimatise to the water, relax and find a rhythym, then you’ll really start to enjoy it.Posted 3 years agoalwillisMember
Had a very similar experience on Sunday morning- couldn’t get any kind of rhythm going with strokes and breathing. For me I think it’s my wetsuit- every year I debate if it is helping or hindering me (buoyancy vs restriction) and decide after a few swims that it’s worth it (try going in without one!).
If it helps I went back for a second go yesterday, and found my rhythm quite quickly. In the end I did about 1500 at a nice easy pace. At this time of year I’m using the lake to get used to wetsuit and cold etc, with 2 pool sessions a week to work on technique and fitness.Posted 3 years agoVan HalenMember
OP my wife said EXACTLY the same as you have descibed. She does a pool to open water course here in brighton.
the next week she was fine. i think its the shock of not being in your comfort zone. she described breathing with teh waves etc as a problem but you cant simulate that in the pool! She got the hang of it pretty quick.Posted 3 years ago
Practice is key
Don’t worry – OW swimming is very odd to start with for most pool swimmers. We are disoriented.
A very simple lessons with sighting that helped me in the early days of triathlon was not to try and see where you are/where you are going at one point in time. You build the picture through several stroke/sighting cycles rather than stopping to get it all in place in one go. Hope that makes sense.
Practise a shallow look (don’t lift you whole head out of the water) with eyes just on water line briefly and let the picture build.Posted 3 years ago
Sounds like wetsuit fit constricting breathing, we tend to try them on and fit them in a warm shop/store and like everything else they shrink in the cold.
I’d go for the sea this year it’s warmer for the time of year than I can ever remember in times past because of the mild winter, our sailing club is just starting Open Water nights next week.Posted 3 years ago
teamhurtmore – Member
I not sure if I am contradicted Derek or not, but if your wettie is a tri/swim specific one IT SHOULD feel pretty restrictive when out of the water. It then feels much better in the water. A baggy wetsuit is a nightmare in the swim.
Not exactly contradicting there’s truth in what we both say, however, there is a big difference between good fit (no baggy water swill roundness) and so tight it cuts your breathing. Intense cold will do that for you anyway, however I’m no triathlon competitor, just someone who spends a lot of time in the water in normal wetsuits, they are a lot lot more stretchy these days, but still nevertheless they can make you feel old and out of condition very quickly if they’re too tight. (Which they have a habit of being this time of year, every one knows wetsuits shrink through the winter, especially around the middle 😉 )Posted 3 years ago
Point taken Derek and I had assumed that you were coming from a different perspective in terms of type of wetsuit.
Tri suits are v specific in terms of fit and flexibility. But anyway we digress….
….back to OP practice is key and learning how to sight in a relaxed fashion. If you are swimming in Salford that sounds like prep for a tri. In which case, try to swim with other people – that is another big shock being in the tumble dryer!!!Posted 3 years agoWallySubscriber
First OW swim for me too last Sunday. Signed up for 3 weekly sessions before London Triathlon. Thank goodness I did, learnt so much about sighting and turning on my back. Really fun being in a cold lake 7am on a Sat. Trisuit so tight I cannot due it up out of water – but in fitted like a glove, perfect.Posted 3 years agoaracerSubscriber
Advice? Try not to drown.ton wrote:
back in the 90’s, when I was half fit, my swim time for the 1500 was always slower in open water than in a pool. I needed to swim with my head higher, to keep on course.
I thought it was fairly standard to be slower in open water as you gain a bit on every turn (not just the push-off, but you also swim a shorter distance). Personally I tend to have a similar body position open water, or if anything better due to the wetsuit buoyancy, though obviously lose a bit every time I lift my head to sight (it takes a lot of practice to swim in a straight enough line not to have to sight too often).Posted 3 years agoIain GillamMember
OP – most people have a similar reaction for their first few times in open water. I’ll refrain from technique advice as it’s best to get it from the pros (swimsmooth would be my suggestion.) But, your breathing is vital to your stroke and correct breathing is all about being relaxed in the water. The combination of nerves, the cold and a wetsuit all conspire to stop you exhaling. This eventually ends up with you taking short sharp breaths and slowly going hypoxic as you’ve not got rid of enough air before trying to drag more in.
Obviously the more you do it the more comfortable it will be so get in and practice as much as possible. If you are not a naturally relaxed swimmer there are lots of drills you can do in the pool to relax you and get you breathing properly. If you’re happy in the pool fully emptying your lungs and breathing when required, then you probably need to work on acclimatising to the water temperature and /or work on controlling your panic in open water. Again lots of different mental techniques that can aid this a simple one would be to completely focus on your stroke. I like to run through a checklist of technique points to maintain whilst swimming which helps me occupy my mind.
I’d imagine most of the people you’ve been swimming ow with will have experienced similar and plenty of different things work for different people so have a chat to a few of them and find out how they worked it out for some ideas on what to do yourself.
IainPosted 3 years ago
ebygomm – Member
On a somewhat related note, is there anywhere round milton keynes where you can try out different wetsuits. I’m not keen on my current one but not sure if it’s just wetsuits in general i dislike swimming in or this one in particular.
Hmm not sure about Tri suits but there’s a wake place on Willen Water I think it is that sell wetsuits, wether they could organise it for you, google Wake MK, but there is a reluctance by shops to offer try ons even, given the rise of the internet and folk just trying on the suit then walking out to get the least cost internet supply solution once they find the model and size, some stores down the West Country have taken to charging to even try the suits on.Posted 3 years ago
The topic ‘Open Water Swimming – Advice’ is closed to new replies.