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  #1  
Old 12-10-2012
Jbparis11 Jbparis11 is offline
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Jbparis11
Wink My first ocean swim

It was Probably not the best way to attempt my first open ocean swim. I'm on a business trip to Cancun Mexico and decided to swim along the shore this afternoon. The water temperature was perfect but the 3-4 foot swells were cause for a not so perfect swim.
I have swam several open water races in lakes and enjoyed the experience very much. I lived my entire life, until now, near the ocean and longed for a swim in the salt water. But I can honestly say that I was not prepared for the pounding I would take by the swells. I swam just beyond the surfline but occasionally drifted inland and was caught by some waves. Did my best to remember everything I had read about ocean swimming, including elongating my stroke and breathing away from the wave. Any mistimed breath was definitely met with a face full of water, particularly when I breathed toward (trying to view) the swell coming towards me, though after about 15 minutes I slowed my stroke rate in order to better time my breathing.
I learned a hard lesson today and only had my goggles knocked off once. The extra strength required to swim against the swells and against (and with) the current made for a completely unique experience. 40 minutes of swimming in the open ocean were every bit as hard as swimming for an hour and a half in the pool. The crazy enough I can't wait for tomorrow and my next opportunity for a good solid salt water swim.
Do you remember your first ocean swim?
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  #2  
Old 12-11-2012
Richardsk Richardsk is offline
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My earliest experience of swimming was in the sea. Perhaps not strictly speaking ocean swimming because it was in the Isle of Man in 1947. I made my first tentative strokes then and as far as I remember my first recognizable stroke was side stroke. I soon moved on to a form of breaststroke and my father who was keen to encourage me and my sisters bought us a book by Sid G. Hedges called The Book of Swimming and Diving, which dates from the early 'twenties, I believe and is distinctly quaint. I have a reprinted edition and read it with amusement and keen recollection of my early efforts. By the time I was in my late teens I was a keen swimmer of breaststroke and tried without any real success to swim crawl from descriptions in books in the local library, including Johnny Weissmueller's famous Swimming the American Crawl, which I reckon is one of the best books ever written on swimming. I bought a second-hand copy a few years ago after discovering TI and finally learning to swim a stroke that is recognisable as the crawl, possibly more American than Australian, but perhaps not clearly identifiable as either.

I live a few hundred yards from the sea here in Wales but now do most of my swimming in chlorinated pools. However recently I have fallen in with some keen triathletes and have joined them for some sea swimming, which has not lost any of its magic, although I have great difficulty in swimming straight except with breaststroke, but I'm sure when I get the hang of sighting that will improve. I recently took part in a sprint triathlon as the swimmer in a three man relay. Thanks to having a fast cyclist and runner we managed to win the relay class, in spite of being last out of the water, which was a source of much merriment. My nephew came up from Devon and swam his first triathlon, finishing last in his age group, mainly due to inexperience in transition, but enjoyed the experience and plans to enter more. I am actually thinking of investing in a bike but probably should fight off the urge.

In my youth I did swim in the actual Atlantic, off the west coast of Ireland and loved it. Waves are wonderful!
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  #3  
Old 12-11-2012
The Parrot The Parrot is offline
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'I am actually thinking of investing in a bike but probably should fight off the urge.'

Just a brief off-topic aside, Richard, do think about a good cycle for next Spring. Swimming TI and cycling have much more in common, I believe, than swimming and running; non-load bearing and easier to flow . . .
Much better for our age group, too.

Martin T.
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  #4  
Old 12-11-2012
Jbparis11 Jbparis11 is offline
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Default Thanks for sharing

Richard - thanks for sharing those memories. Your story starts to bring back all sorts of great childhood remberancea of the beach, learning to swim& bodysurfing.
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  #5  
Old 12-13-2012
CoachMatHudson CoachMatHudson is offline
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Though we grew up playing in the frigid ocean, my first 'sea swimming' was as a surfer in Oregon USA. The NW USA Pacific Coast is not the easiest place to learn how to surf because of the inconsistency of the favorable currents and the weather. I openly admit that I was a struggler more than any sort of proficient rider. But I absorbed a great respect and love for wild OW this way.

Spending a couple seasons on a board on the waves taught me a great deal about learning to sense the dynamics of the ocean under me, to deeply respect its power, to learn to trust the water to lift me (eventually) when I got barreled. Basically, I learned how to relax by getting beat up, and exhausted a lot.

I moved to Antalya on the Mediterranean Coast 5 years ago, and started to swim in the sea naturally. But I was still a pool swimmer in mindset so the sea, at first was an intimidating novelty. But eventually it drew me in and now I spend 99% of my time in it, and I have even come to love and seek out rough conditions because of the wonderful complexity it presents. But I didn't start in rough water for sure. But now it is a regular part of my training. In the summer we have glass smooth water in the morning and wind and pounding waves in the afternoon- just pick the time of day to select the kind of conditions you want to train in!

I describe open-water (wild water) swimming as a cousin to pool swimming, but I don't think they are siblings. It takes quite an adjustment in mindset not just for a swim, but for training in OW especially. If there is a season I need to spend more time in the pool it takes me a couple weeks to transition my mind back to pool-mode, then I feel excited about training in the pool and taking advantage of the features and metrics best used there. And switching back to OW the same. They are a powerful complement to each other of one has the fortunate opportunity to have both conveniently available. If a swimmer could throw in an Endless Pool that would be the ideal training triad.

But I agree, rough open water, big swells and chop can exhaust any swimmer in a fraction of the time that a smooth condition swim will. But these too are conditions that we can train for and learn to flow with the power of the sea rather than fight it. Then the energy expenditure can be reduced or that power directed in more productive direction by experience (and TI balance and stroke control skills, for sure). But it takes training in those conditions and a certain understanding of how to read and blend with the power of the waves which may not come naturally to pool-trained swimmers.

I won't brag about my very fortunate training conditions on the Med, but I highly encourage any interested swimmer to make OW a frequent part of swimming as possible. And I would be delighted to swim with any TI friends who might pass this way!
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My blog with over 400 posts on TI technique and mindful training: Smooth Strokes Blog

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  #6  
Old 12-14-2012
Jbparis11 Jbparis11 is offline
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Default To Mat..

If I can ever find a job there, you've instantly convinced me to move! How's the swimming in Croatia? I have some family there. Hmmm....
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  #7  
Old 12-14-2012
Richardsk Richardsk is offline
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I swam in Croatia (Dalmatia) in the early 'seventies and it was very nice. Cool clear water as the old song went.
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  #8  
Old 12-18-2012
cs10 cs10 is offline
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Default The ocean sure is a wonderful place.

I enjoyed your story jbparis. It gave me the same feeling i get watching a young kid learning to surf and finally standing on his first wave.....The ocean sure is a wonderful place. I remember 2x time world surfing champ Tom Carrol saying that if you ever feel down go out in the surf every day for a week at first light of dawn and see what effect it has on your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health.
I just finished reading "The original million dollar mermaid" (The Annette Kellerman story).She said much the same....."Water always teaches me a new story and swimming is a benefit - a clean, cool beautiful thing we all from cats to kings can enjoy. The man who has not given himself completely to the sun and wind and cold sting of the waves will never know all the meanings of life."
( Annette Kellerman was a crippled Australian girl who lived the first seven years of her life in a large body brace . Then a very on to it doctor told her to try swimming, and she was soon beating all the men using her" double armed trudgeon stroke ( an old version of freestyle- she was born in 1890's ) She was soon travelling the world with her swimming , diving and underwater ballet show. In America in early 1900's she was arrested for wearing a man's one piece bathing suit for an O.W. swim instead of the required ankle length dress and shoes and she told the judge the law was the criminal because it virtually stopped women from learning to swim.
She travelled America giving health lectures to women ,advising them to learn to swim and become healthy in order to feel good about themselves rather than relying on superfiscial things like makeup and fashion.
Her midnight nightcap after a show or lecture was a 5 mile ocean swim. In the 50's Hollywood made a movie of her life starring Ester Williams. Annette, aged 65 at the time was very indignant they had chosen Ester for the lead rather than her, claiming Ester may have been more beautiful but only from the neck up.)
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  #9  
Old 12-23-2012
Jbparis11 Jbparis11 is offline
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What a fascinating story. Sounds like it is worth researching and learning more. Thanks for the info on Annette Kellerman.
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