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  #1  
Old 07-19-2010
drone drone is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Ottawa, Canada
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drone
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I swam my first open water event two days ago, having learned and practised TI for about ten months (self-taught via TI books, videos - which have revolutionized the way I swim). I am 56, and swim for pleasure/fitness. In the pool, my goal of effortless, efficient, constantly-improving freestyle, is successful for 3-5k, though slow - around 2.2k per hour. I have practised sighting, etc in the pool, and swam across a 1k lake comfortably a couple of weeks ago, although I need more work on swimming straight.
As soon as the horn went off, I suffered some sort of disconnect. I started out efficiently, sighting every 6 strokes. After about four cycles, I saw the body of 160 swimmers leaving me behind (which I had expected - and planned for), at which point I lost my focus of quiet efficiency, and my stroke broke down - going harder than I had wanted. By 300 metres, I was struggling, and had to alternate with breastroke to finish the 3k course. Although I finished at 1:10:16, about ten minutes ahead of my expected time, that was not the point. My stroke, focus and comfort had broken down, despite months of mindful practice. What happened? How do I fix it?

Last edited by drone : 07-19-2010 at 04:15 PM.
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  #2  
Old 07-19-2010
ewa.swimmer ewa.swimmer is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Ewa Beach or Kona Hawaii
Posts: 147
ewa.swimmer
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I swim 12 - 15 open water races a year. No two are ever the same. That is one thing that I love about ow. Because of the differing conditions I have found that unless a new skill is really, really, really imprinted in my brain and muscles it will fall apart at least once in a race. It's hard to keep focused when there is all that thrashing going on around you at the beginning. If you are falling apart near the start of the race begin away from the crowd where it is quieter and easier to concentrate on your stroke instead of the madness around you.
While you are swimming by yourself (in the pool or lake) find a focus that gets your stroke back when it doesn't feel right. For me it is connecting my hip drive to my spearing. That way when you have your "disconnect" you have a more singular focus rather than your whole stroke.
Good luck
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  #3  
Old 07-19-2010
KatieK KatieK is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Scottsdale, AZ, USA
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KatieK
Thumbs up Great job!

Quote:
Originally Posted by drone View Post
I swam my first open water event two days ago, having learned and practised TI for about ten months (self-taught via TI books, videos - which have revolutionized the way I swim). I am 56, and swim for pleasure/fitness. In the pool, my goal of effortless, efficient, constantly-improving freestyle, is successful for 3-5k, though slow - around 2.2k per hour. I have practised sighting, etc in the pool, and swam across a 1k lake comfortably a couple of weeks ago, although I need more work on swimming straight.
As soon as the horn went off, I suffered some sort of disconnect. I started out efficiently, sighting every 6 strokes. After about four cycles, I saw the body of 160 swimmers leaving me behind (which I had expected - and planned for), at which point I lost my focus of quiet efficiency, and my stroke broke down - going harder than I had wanted. By 300 metres, I was struggling, and had to alternate with breastroke to finish the 3k course. Although I finished at 1:10:16, about ten minutes ahead of my expected time, that was not the point. My stroke, focus and comfort had broken down, despite months of mindful practice. What happened? How do I fix it?
Congratulations on finishing and on exceeding your goal. I think you're being too hard on yourself. 3k is a long open water swim. Even though you were prepared for the distance in the pool, it doesn't sound like you had much practice on open water. As Ewa mentioned, there are plenty of things that can take you out of your comfort zone: people, wake, currents, winds, changes in temperature, sighting (and the changes to your rhythm that entails), nerves, etc.

Next time, you'll feel more comfortable because you'll be more experienced. The lessons you learned in this event will make you a better swimmer.

In the meantime, you did great. Not many people in the world could even think of attempting to swim 3k on open water. Enjoy your accomplishment!
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  #4  
Old 07-19-2010
westyswoods westyswoods is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Rio, Wisconsin
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Drone,

Katie K said it and I just would like to echo her words. Way to go and don't be hard on yourself. When we meet challenges let us view them as learning experiences. I have been doing TI for two plus years now and this summer have decided to do primarily OW swimming. The short time I have been doing so I have fallen in love with it. No walls easy breathing and much more time to focus on specific issues. I am very slow with a time of 35-40 minutes per mile. Mind you this time is with moments of slowing way down and playing with different things Last Thursday I did about 2000, no wetsuit an had periods of complete relaxation, and moments of being in and out of the zone.

Each time you will gain something and feel more comfortable with you next OWS.

Great Accomplishment

Swim Silent and Be Well
Westy
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  #5  
Old 07-19-2010
naj naj is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: San Francisco, CA
Posts: 624
naj
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Drone,

Congratulations on an amazing swim well done! Secondly, I agree with the others. Don't beat yourself up over how your stroke broke down. It happens to all of us in ow at some point. The most important things to remember is that it is a good learning tool (i.e. the race) for next time. Katie K is absolutely right, you need more experience in an ow setting. The lake is fine but take on tougher conditions or swim with friends who can simulate a race experience for you in the water. The pool is good for technique and speed, but even sighting should be done more often in open water. How many times do you need to sight in a pool?

Lastly about your time. There is a motto in ow that we all abide by and you should to. It doesn't matter what time you finished only that you did! Learn that very well and get back in the water and prepare for your next race! Congrats again!

Naji
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  #6  
Old 07-21-2010
drone drone is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Ottawa, Canada
Posts: 26
drone
Exclamation

Thanks to you all for the insights and support... yesterday's swim was great, tomorrow's will be better, and my plan is to make a no-splash at the next event.
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