Open Water Swimming – Advice

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  • Open Water Swimming – Advice
  • jekkyl
    Member

    salt or fresh? was it the cold affecting your breathing?
    were you wearing any sort of protection? *one eyebrow raised*

    mike_p
    Member

    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…!

    Premier Icon ton
    Subscriber

    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.
    the cold water, current are also something that takes time to get used to.
    stick with it Jase….. 8)

    wors
    Member

    It was fresh water – Salford Quays. Water temp was about 11 °C, I was wearing a wetsuit and didn’t feel cold. Just shite!

    globalti
    Member

    Culture shock.

    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.

    stick_man
    Member

    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.

    alwillis
    Member

    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.

    Van Halen
    Member

    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.

    wors
    Member

    I’ve been in the pool all winter, technique is getting better, getting faster, smoother etc.

    First time ever open water swimming on Saturday, basically I was shit.

    Couldn’t breathe properly, stroke all to cock.

    Help 😥

    wors
    Member

    Cheers Guys, maybe I’m not just shit after all 😀

    I shall head down again Saturday morning to try again.

    Premier Icon teamhurtmore
    Subscriber

    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.

    derekfish
    Member

    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.

    Premier Icon teamhurtmore
    Subscriber

    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.

    derekfish
    Member

    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 😉 )

    Premier Icon teamhurtmore
    Subscriber

    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!!!

    Premier Icon Wally
    Subscriber

    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.

    Premier Icon aracer
    Subscriber

    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).

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    Surely the water is choppier outdoors?

    Premier Icon teamhurtmore
    Subscriber

    Standard rule of thumb – a wettie (tri version) should increase speed by around 10% over 1500m due to bouyancy and better body position. Worked for me.

    ebygomm
    Member

    Tends to be higher gains in a wetsuit for weaker swimmers.

    cynic-al
    Member

    I’ve not open-water swum yet this year, I am being a colossal fanny!

    Iain Gillam
    Member

    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.

    Iain

    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.

    derekfish
    Member

    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.

    ebygomm
    Member

    I wouldn’t mind paying to test, redeemable against a purchase type thing.

    giant_scum
    Member

    I swam at Salfod Quays a couple of times last year(in preparation for swimming The Channel).
    Keep the sighting to a minimum and just use the sides of the dock as your reference point for keeping in a straight line!

    inigomontoya
    Member

    Op I was the same today – glad I could stand up whenever I needed to! Unfortunately in doing a triathlon next week end in a very deep lake 😐

    wors
    Member

    Went again this morning, couldn’t have been more different. Swam smooth, breathing fine and actually quite enjoyed it.

    Open swimming rocks!!!

    Premier Icon Onzadog
    Subscriber

    It does indeed. Once you get into it, it’s hard to get get back in a pool.

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