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  #1  
Old 01-23-2012
Romomoto Romomoto is offline
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Romomoto
Default Navigation in open water (triathlon)

Hi

I am looking for drills/ instructions/ videos around navigation in open water. Having done 3 open water swims so far (all part of actual triathlon events and not in training) this is something I definitely have to work on

Thanks in advance
Roland
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  #2  
Old 01-23-2012
andyinnorway andyinnorway is offline
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Default

I wrote to Finis to suggest they produce a speaking compass, a bit like their heart rate monitor, if it spoke your bearing to you every 10 seconds then you wouldn't need to look up.

Would be even better for people swimming across seas where sighting isn't always an option.

seriously though, Terry has some great DVD material on open water swimming including sighting. Just search the shop or amazon.
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  #3  
Old 04-23-2012
Ladyfish Ladyfish is offline
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Ladyfish
Default Swim Blind to Swim Straight

Quote:
Originally Posted by Romomoto View Post
Hi

I am looking for drills/ instructions/ videos around navigation in open water. Having done 3 open water swims so far (all part of actual triathlon events and not in training) this is something I definitely have to work on

Thanks in advance
Roland
Romoto,

I teach open water skills to new triathletes through classes and through my book.There are two tips to help you improve your navigation skills:

1. Learn to swim straight with eyes closed - this takes some doing but the premise is that swimming in open water is like being lost in the wilderness and unless you constantly correct your course you will eventually swim in a circle because you have a dominant side. Usually this correlates with your preferred breathing side but not always. I suggest you buy/make a simple swim tether and practice swimming 10,20, up to 30 strokes at a time with eyes closed (swim blind test) starting over a fixed object then see how far you veer off and to which side. Since you are tethered to the starting block/handrail/lane attachment bold you can swim freely without worry about bumping into lane lines or other swimmers.

Just knowing that you always pull to the right after 20 strokes (for example) will help because you now know that your should sight at about 20 strokes and you should avoid raising your head more often than that.

You should retest the swim blind test try bilateral breathing which should help reduce the dominance of one side.

You can also experiment with pulling extra hard on one side every x number of strokes and see if that evens you out.

2. Open your eyes and orient yourself every time you take a breath. If you look all around under water and above, you can reduce the number of times you actually raise your head (and interrupt your stroke) to look in front of you (sighting).

I hope this helps.
__________________
http://www.Fearlessswimming.com
Instruction for New and Nervous Swimmers in Irvine, CA
Ironman Series Books "Fearless Swimming For Triathletes (Meyer & Meyer 2011)" and "Functional Strength For Triathletes (Meyer & Meyer 2012)" and others
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  #4  
Old 04-26-2012
CoachStuartMcDougal's Avatar
CoachStuartMcDougal CoachStuartMcDougal is offline
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Default Which way to I go?

Hi Romomoto,

The plight of most swimmers in traithlon - sighting, or really poor navigation. If you sight too much, you're just putting on the brakes and wasting energy. You need to address the source of the problem and is mostly likely asymmetry in stroke causing you to drift too far left or right too quickly. Closing eyes for several stokes (in lane all to yourself) is a good way to discover which side is more dominate, and work on correcting that as a priority. But given we all have asymmetry issues to some level, I always use other swimmers as secondary targets. That is, when you breathe right or left, take a peek at the swimmers on either side of you, especially swimmers popping head up to sight forward. If they are sighting in the direction you are going, you are on tack. You want to keep your head down and long as possible (20-40+ strokes) since picking your head up is like tapping on the brakes. But when you have to peek forward, maintain alignment and just lift goggles above surface briefly to recognize land based target, and not get it in perfect focus. I see too many "prarie dogs" at tri's popping head/torso above surface to focus on target - unecessary waste of energy (but these swimmers become great secondary targets for us). A slight drift is far better than constant course direction. Keep your head down, use secondary target when getting breath often (other swimmers, beach, skyline, bridge, etc), and only peek forward when absolutely necessary.

Happy swimming and navigating!

Stuart
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  #5  
Old 04-26-2012
andyinnorway andyinnorway is offline
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secondary target, great piece of advice never thought of that, thanks
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  #6  
Old 04-26-2012
haschu33 haschu33 is offline
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haschu33
Default walking in a circle

I just read an article (in German) about a scientific study about people being told to walk straight with and without points of orientation. That was done in a desert and in a plain in Germany. With orientation points like the sun etc people have no problem walking straight. Without they immediately start to walk in circles often crossing their own path without noticing. The same person sometimes walks a right circle, sometimes a left circle. The reason why not straigth and why left or right is not known. Physical differences like differences in leg length etc. are ruled out by the scientists. When blindfolded some people walked in a circle with a diameter of 20 meters only instead of walking straight without being aware of it.

So, no matter how much we try, it seems to be impossible to swim straight without orientation targets. Even when practicing swimming blindfolded we will not be able to swim straight for more than a short length. No reason to feel bad or unskillful about it. Secondary targets seem to be a good point - if there are any ;-)
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  #7  
Old 04-28-2012
pholahan pholahan is offline
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Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Romomoto View Post
Hi

I am looking for drills/ instructions/ videos around navigation in open water. Having done 3 open water swims so far (all part of actual triathlon events and not in training) this is something I definitely have to work on

Thanks in advance
Roland
I am fortunate to live near the beach and also near a great swimming area in the intracoastal waterway. The beach where I swim has 3 small mooring buoys set out to define the lifeguard protected areas. They are ~75m from the shore and ~250m between the first and last buoy. Depending on the surf condition, they can be difficult to see, as they are small, so it really causes me to focus on staying on my line. When I swim in the Intracoastal, I use landmarks, such as a tree or the end of a dock. The distance between my turnaround points is ~800m, so I'm focusing more on a distance object to maintain my line.
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  #8  
Old 06-03-2012
walstock walstock is offline
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walstock
Default Dominant side

I swim triathlons and right side breath in races and discovered that my head is a rudder. If I tuck my chin even slightly while breathing, the water pushing on the back of my head sends me to the right, especially since my simultaneous left side pull seems a little stronger (maybe to compensate for the breathing turbulence which feels slowing) while the right pull, when the head is submerged and the body flatter, seems to require slightly less energy to achieve the same propulsion. How I 'solved' it, and reduced sighting frequency, is to consciously bend back at the neck slightly when starting the rotation for the breath stroke, and feel the water washing across my face (rudder), which I think pushes me a little left (or just keeps me more balanced because I am unable to tuck for the breath). Whatever it is, it has worked and I am swimming straighter and putting up better pace times. And maybe even swimming more streamlined, and thus truly faster, along with the shorter overall distance. Walt

Last edited by walstock : 06-03-2012 at 09:26 PM.
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  #9  
Old 06-04-2012
andyinnorway andyinnorway is offline
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Default

The norwegian unions are on strike, so this means the swimming pools have been shut for 10 days, the airports are in chaos (union security) and the kindergatens are closed (home with the kids).

The upside is that in order to swim I have to hit the lakes every other day and enjoy the 14deg water. At least its warm enough now to swim for an hour with the wet suit without dropping too much core temp.

Its also exciting I since this is the first season I have owned the garmin 910xt I now have a new metric of measurement in open water. Navigation errors.


The garmin gives you a fairly exact graph of your swim when you upload. Attached is my first effort of the season 4 lengths of a 650m lake (beach to beach) and if you look closely, sighting is pretty hard as the whole lake is surrounded with pine trees, very picturesque but also very disorientating when you get to the middle of the lake.

My current method is to sight every 32 strokes but this is giving me around a 5% increase in metres swum compared to as the crow flies.

My primary focus for the next couple of weeks then will be to try to hold course each 32 strokes by hard wiring in as symmetrical stroke as I can, especially in terms of right hand and left hand x co-ordinates as this is where I think the cause may be.

My secondary focus will be to time the 650m laps and try to get my non TT time as fast as my TT time, by alternating between TT and non TT swims. The garmin will also give me my average stroke rate to check my non TT pacing skills.

If I get any better I will post some new pictures I will also look for a lake I can swim a cross stitch in as it will avoid overlap of data paths.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Screen Shot 2012-06-04 at 18.06.51.jpg (28.1 KB, 29 views)
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  #10  
Old 06-04-2012
westyswoods westyswoods is offline
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westyswoods
Default Interesting / Questions?

Did you and if so, compare the first with last lap? Was there a significant difference? What you have plotted appears to be quite straight in my book.

Do you find the Garmin is a good tool for both water and land. Currently i am looking for something to replace an old POLAR. Just started looking into the newer technologies, wow how things change.

Swim Silent and Be Well
Westy
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