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  #1  
Old 02-24-2010
BradMM BradMM is offline
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BradMM
Default My FIRST Open Water Swim

I signed up last night for a 2km swim in May in Austin, Tx. I haven't even been swimming that much the past few months trying to figure out what is causing my shoulder to hurt but it doesn't hurt while swimming at all so I don't know that it's related.

I'm rereading Terry's Tri Swimming Made Easy (?) but what should I do leading up to this day? The distance wouldn't be a problem in a pool but this will be my first mile plus in open water since I did Jr Red Cross (as I recall... it's been a while!).
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  #2  
Old 02-24-2010
naj naj is offline
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Default Ow Rules!!!!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by BradMM View Post
I signed up last night for a 2km swim in May in Austin, Tx. I haven't even been swimming that much the past few months trying to figure out what is causing my shoulder to hurt but it doesn't hurt while swimming at all so I don't know that it's related.

I'm rereading Terry's Tri Swimming Made Easy (?) but what should I do leading up to this day? The distance wouldn't be a problem in a pool but this will be my first mile plus in open water since I did Jr Red Cross (as I recall... it's been a while!).
Brad, what sort of open water race is it? By that I mean is it in a lake, river, estuary? I'm unfamiliar with your neck of the woods. If you are going along with the current (if there is one at all) then 2K will be over before you know it, if it's a fresh water lake then it's like swimming in a very long pool, all the work is on your technique. Also, if your using a wetsuit (I swim nekkid) then you'll also be faster because your hips and legs are nearer the surface.

My advice is to just concentrate on your TI technique, you don't have to change anything in open water TI is perfect for pool and ow. However if it's a windy day and the water is choppy you may have to roll a bit farther to breathe, but this shouldn't be a problem.

If anything, concentrate on your race start, where you want to position yourself. In open water races there are no lane lines and the start - if your in the middle of the pack - is going to feel like a boxing match; people kick you in the face, climb over your back to get out in front, knock off your goggles, it can be brutal! But you can overcome all this by staying to the outside of the pack and getting into a good rhythm. Then you can concentrate on picking off other racers as you effortlessly glide along while they flail wildly

Another thing you should practice is sighting. Sighting is when you lift your head (no higher than your goggles coming out of the water) to see if you are on course. There will more than likely be buoys as markers for the course or course boats or something else to map out the course. IF it is possible before the race, go down and look at the course see if there are any large objects that you can use as landmarks to make seeing those big, but not from a distance, buoys more visible while your in the water. Try to limit how many times you look up to sight. I usually do it every 12 strokes or so and this is good for me.

I'm assuming that the water down there is warm. When I say warm I'm talking about 70F or so. Where I swim here in San Francisco, 70F would never happen! The best I get is 60F tops in the summer, but that is warm too me You should try and get some practice in open water before the race. Get a feel for how the water tastes in your mouth especially if its salty, if there is marine life, or whether you can see or touch the bottom. For first timers this usually tends to freak them out. And if you have issues of getting cold it will help you acclimate to the temp. For instance, I can last several hours in 60F water, but its take me a year of going 5 or 6 days a week year round to get there. Also remember to understand that there will be a mild shock to your body of going into a new environment with water this cold. It might feel like your feet are stinging, but give it about 30 seconds and your body should be okay. This just means your body is sending the blood from your extremities to protect your vital organs like your heart, liver etc. As long as your core is warm your okay. Your fingers and toes might go numb this is normal, just concentrate on your stroke and keep swimming!

Also make sure to eat right. Avoid dairy products just before swimming in ow and caffeine as well this might cause you to have a panic attack, believe me I've pulled many a swimmer in ow races who drank coffee just before a race thinking that it would warm them up! Drink green tea or ginger tea this will help get the fire going for ya.

Lastly, just have fun and enjoy your first experience. Get with some friends who are about your speed and swim together in the race, let the Alpha dogs do their thing and get beat up in the pack, just enjoy the moment. I hope this information helps you Brad and I wish you well on your first ow race, who knows maybe we'll convert you to me EWA, Terry L, Dave Barra, Coach Dave and a few others love of ow for life!

Keep Swimming!
Naji
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  #3  
Old 02-24-2010
dinah
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by naj View Post
Another thing you should practice is sighting. Sighting is when you lift your head (no higher than your goggles coming out of the water) to see if you are on course. There will more than likely be buoys as markers for the course or course boats or something else to map out the course. IF it is possible before the race, go down and look at the course see if there are any large objects that you can use as landmarks to make seeing those big, but not from a distance, buoys more visible while your in the water. Try to limit how many times you look up to sight. I usually do it every 12 strokes or so and this is good for me.

Keep Swimming!
Naji
sighting is key to swimming the most direct route - i mean making sure you swim the race distance and not race distance plus an extra 300m from veering of course! i would add to najis advice that if you can go look at the course before hand, try and go at the time of day you would be racing - take into account the placement of the sun and where you will be looking - glare is a nasty thing and may make your previously chosen landmark not visible race day. swimming the course beforehand is always an advantage.

also be mentally prepared for anything that may crop up race day - eg one ow race it was so foggy we couldnt see a thing to sight. my plan was then to jump on the feet of a guy about my pace and followed him in. making sure to thank him after for the draft and guide. i tried not to tap his toes too much! but anything can happen in the ow.

good luck and would love to hear about your experience afterwards.

dinah
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  #4  
Old 02-24-2010
BradMM BradMM is offline
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First of all, thanks for your responses!

Let me see if I can answer all the questions.

It is a river and I HOPE we're swimming with the current. i actually thought about that over night and wanted to inquire.

As for starting position, my intent was to be at the back. I'm not really interesting in competing with anyone other than myself the first time out.

I haven't done this before but I expected to be within sight of the others so that's my guide... hopefully! The course is not open to swimming the rest of the year because of a dam but they shut it down for this race.

The water should be warm enough... probably above 70 F.

I don't know what caused the panic attack in your swimmers but I've got a lot of experience in the ocean and with snorkeling and scuba diving so I don't think being in the water will do this to me.

I like the plan of staying on someone else's heels!

THanks,

Brad
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  #5  
Old 02-24-2010
dinah
 
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Originally Posted by BradMM View Post
I like the plan of staying on someone else's heels!
brad this only works if that person is swimming on course - once you made sure of that, draft away!!!
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  #6  
Old 02-25-2010
naj naj is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dinah View Post
brad this only works if that person is swimming on course - once you made sure of that, draft away!!!
Dinah, that is why I'm big on not trusting the person in front of me because they may be headed in the wrong direction Brad, sounds like your pretty set. Just remember to have fun out there that is the most important thing. There is nothing like ow swimming in my humble opinion. I'm not a fan of racing but I do long solo swims with me and a support craft and its an amazing feeling after I've completed a swim and the high I get from it
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  #7  
Old 03-01-2010
DavidBarra DavidBarra is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BradMM View Post
First of all, thanks for your responses!

Let me see if I can answer all the questions.

It is a river and I HOPE we're swimming with the current. i actually thought about that over night and wanted to inquire.
tough technically a river, the damed sections of the colorado near austin function more like lakes. if this is one of the ASA events organized by keith bell and sandy neilson-bell, you will be good hands.
have fun.
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  #8  
Old 03-01-2010
BradMM BradMM is offline
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Yeah, you're right about that. They are called the Highland Lakes, Ladybird Lake, etc. so current should not be a problem. I just haven't ever swam in them so I wasn't sure.

B
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  #9  
Old 03-03-2010
BradMM BradMM is offline
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I'm viewing my Outside the Box right now (again) but everything doesn't make sense w/o a coach. The first thing that I don't understand is the two beat kick. Does that focus your effort more on your arms (which seems less efficient) or is the torso providing the most propulsion?

Also, why is everyone wearing a cap? Does it make that much difference? I've never worn one.
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  #10  
Old 03-03-2010
ewa.swimmer ewa.swimmer is offline
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Many different reasons to wear a cap
  • keep your head warm
  • keep hair out of the way
  • assigned by race officials to keep track of different heats
  • safety-it's easier to see a bright color in the water

They are made of different materials, neoprene, silicone, latex, spandex.

I don't think wearing a cap is going to make much difference in your speed in an open water swim.
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