open water swim technique

Discussion in 'Barefoot & Minimalist Triathletes' started by scedastic, Jul 22, 2013.

  1. scedastic Barefooters

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    So I've been dabbling with swimming in open water for the first time (just learned to deal with the pool this spring). In some ways, it is nice: no walls, sunshine, no limited hours at a lap swim pool, no crabbies to growl when trying to share a lane.
    In other ways, I have found it challenging. Maybe those with more experience could help.

    #1: how to sight (body positioning) without feeling like I'm stopping my swim. I'm actually terrible at treading water, and get tired upright. Plus it breaks the rhythm, which is half the point of enjoying open water and no walls. And I tend to end up places I didn't intend even though I think I'm sighting a lot. I've watched one video and tried to emulate, but I'm not getting it.

    #2: how to sight (aim) and end up the places I want to go. There is always a small current, and with the aviation experience I have, you would think I'd be better at adjusting. Or is this just a matter of experience in different currents? Also, when swimming in a body of water, there isn't much to aim for.

    #3 and I know you can't help with this, inland lake gross out factor. I nearly freak at every branch and sea weedy thing getting caught in my leg or brushing my body. EEEEeeeeew. And monsters. If I can't see the bottom, how can i be sure monsters arent there waiting for a hapless swimmer to come along?
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  2. happysongbird Chapter Presidents
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  3. scedastic Barefooters

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    thanks, Laura!
    I looked up the article. I think I've seen that one on sighting.

    A wet suit isn't something that is in my present; what about you? Any recommendations?
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  4. happysongbird Chapter Presidents
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    I have not had good experiences the couple of times I tried a wetsuit. The bouyancy aggravated my tendendy to sea sickness. I am curious if that would be less now that I have some acclimation from so much time in my generated current, but I also didn't like the way the suits restricted movement. It took much of the fun out of swimming. Since I don't have any plans to swim inreally cold water, my homemade full body swim suit has been all I need.

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  5. Hobbit Barefooters
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    You can't be sure! There can always be monsters lurking somewhere sometime. Especially if "open water" means "ocean".
    But even in inland lakes you could eventually encounter some kind of monster: Never heard of "Nessie", the residential monster of Loch Ness? :D
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  6. scedastic Barefooters

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    Yeah, although I keep hearing that it is a MUST for tri's where possible, since it supposedly gives such an advantage (hence they are not allowed for temps above what 72F water?).

    Also, I live in an area where the water gets way cold for most of the year.

    It's good to know I can get used to the current. I'm not prone to sea sickness, or so I thought, but the motion of the big lake's waves is really unpleasant right now. I have learned how much swimming is about balance, and having it constantly pushed around while maintaining a sense of where I am in space is something I would like to deal with if it's possible.
    My friend who open water swims for years, pool swims only recently as a substitute, has no idea of what I"m talking about when I say it's disorienting.
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  7. scedastic Barefooters

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    Well, we have really big snapping turtles in lakes out here. Emphasis on the word "snapping." I've heard stories of injuries.
  8. happysongbird Chapter Presidents
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    What I have heard is the wet suits are not allowed above temps of 78. If I do ever get a wetsuit, I think it would be the farmer john style that leave the arms more free. I can wear a swim shirt under it.

    Yes, the balance will get better if you are able to swim regularly in "moving" water. I learned to roll more, but in a relaxed way, and reflexively be more careful about when and how I get a breath.

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  9. happysongbird Chapter Presidents
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    I know this is "home movies" but if you want to see where I did my open water swimming this past Sunday, you can look at about 4:30 (it's only 6 minutes long total). You can see that my swimming is pretty average. Maybe you can see how I was sighting. A few times I lift my head too far, though. The PW is "barefootvid"
    No snapping turtles here.

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  10. TD Moose Barefooters
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    My advice on a wetsuit is don't wear one unless it is needed for warmth. The advantage buoyancy is quickly offset by drag and constriction of movement. Also, getting stuck in a wetsuit is a real stress inducer at transition. Finally, even if not prohibited during the race, opting for a suit at higher temperatures can make you overheat.

    That being said, if you think there is a chance you may need one during a race, you should devote sufficient practice time to swimming with a wetsuit. In other words, be prepared to swim either way on race day.
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  11. mokaman Chapter Presidents
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    I have a Tri wetsuit I've swam in some early in Spring and in a few races...my swim speed increases about 20 seconds per 100 yards but I'm a middle of the pack swimmer speed wise...it might not help a fast swimmer as much. I elected to get a 2 piece wetsuit, the bottom part is like a trimmed down Farmer John style and the shirt part fits over it...I prefer to go without the shirt but do wear both parts early in the Spring.

    For open water swimming I think its helpful to learn to breath from either side well...sometimes there are waves that keep hitting on the same side so may need to breathe the whole way on your least favorite side. For sighting I do a little peak forward as I switch sides breathing every few strokes...I got a lot better at swimming strait after about a dozen practice lake swims.

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  12. scedastic Barefooters

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    pic of homemade body suit are where?
    oh, and I can't access that link to you swimming. Dunno why.
  13. happysongbird Chapter Presidents
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    Did you put in the password? I'm wearing my full body suit in the video. If you want to know how I made it, I can send you the link on my blog where I do my best to explain it.

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  14. scedastic Barefooters

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    I don't have a least favorite side. Lucky me. I just learned to swim laps this spring, so it took me only about two laps to figure out bilateral breathing. Breathing properly and not running out of breath took a looooong time, but both sides were easy, so I have that going for me?
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  15. mokaman Chapter Presidents
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    I mostly switch sides every third stroke...that helps me swim straighter also.

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  16. Spinningwoman Barefooters

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    I saw a program on the Discovery channel recently about a lake in Papua New Guinea where they introduced a new fish - a vegetarian cousin of the pirhana - to improve the fish stocks. Unfortunately, it turned out to be not quite as vegetarian as they hoped, once it was out of the shadow of the real pirhanas<g> and had a particular taste for what be described as 'low hanging fruit'.
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  17. Hobbit Barefooters
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    Oh yes I do believe you! There can also be snakes and I also heard another kind of horrifying story: Some people like to have baby alligators or crocodiles as pets and once they get too big for their terrarium or bathtub or whatever, they release them into nature - lakes, rivers, or just down the toilet.
    (It seems that it's quite possible to encounter this kind of monster in the sewerage system of Paris - fortunately the sewers are an unlikely place for triathletes to train! :D)
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  18. Sid Barefooters

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    I'm need to work on my endurance treading water as well.

    While reading up on this topic, I read about some very special people (obviously mutants), who swim open water butterfly. This isn't a response to your question. I just had to post it because, it's simply amazing!


    I wasn't too impressed with my dip in the ocean. It was murky, and I couldn't see anything despite wearing goggles. It was like swimming in pea soup (but less tastey). The sunscreen was reacting with the seawater and gunking up my goggles, which wouldn't seal. I have to avoid the lakes here due to brain-eating amoebas.

    Though, this thread has made me interested in becoming better at swimming in waves. I have an annual pass at a local water park with a wave pool, which sounds perfect.
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  19. Abide Barefooters
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    Uh wow, and 28 miles of fly in 9:28. I can barely do 100m anymore.
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  20. scedastic Barefooters

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    28 miles?

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