Sunday, June 5, 2011

OWS Strategies - It's all in your head

Open Water Swim in Lake Lanier

I don't speak about it much, but I am also part of the "open water swimming (OWS) creeps me out" club. I don't think, it's as bad as other people I know, but it's not my most favorite activity. The funny thing is, I am fine with swimming in most places, as long as you don't ask me to stick my head under water, which is kind of  a prerequisite if you want to do freestyle... While I don't have tons and tons OWS experience, but with the little I do have, I seem to resort to the same strategies to calm me down each time. This is not on official "how to" guide, just some things that work for me.

  1. Ignorance is Bliss: Fish? What fish? Seriously, we all know, that there are creatures in lakes.... But let me assure you, that I don't want to know, so please don't even bother mentioning it to me.
  2. Don't look down: I don't know and I don't want to care plus, I don't want to see anything. One of the other swimmers from today's OWS said, that she keeps her eyes closed while her head is under water and only opens them when breathing.
  3. Tinted Goggles: It helps to see more above the water and less under the water... Win win situation right there.
  4. Breaststroke Breaks: I look at breaststroke breaks while swimming like walking breaks while running. It let's you catch your breath. Additional advantage is that you can have a look around and orient yourself again.

 Today, we went out to Lake Lanier for an open water swim with the team. I did around 2,600 yards in under 50 minutes and I felt good the whole time. The water felt awesome and had not too many leaves on the surface (to keep the creep factor down ;-). I turned down the "offer" to add another loop... I will try the additional distance next week during the 3K open water swim race. Bring it on!

    The run after the swim while very scenic, was horrible... I haven't had stomach cramps like these in a long time.... Funny enough, I think this time I was cramping, because I didn't eat enough... Live and learn... live and learn.

    PS: Only the first picture is from today, the other ones are from a swim last year... Today would have been way too warm for wetsuits.


      1. I tend to get really REALLY freaked out during lake swims, but am only sort of freaked in the Gulf of Mexico. But I still panic a little every single time. I'll definitely be trying these strategies - especially the "keep your eyes closed" one!

      2. If only our lakes were as clear as tropical water... Then I'd be a triathlete no problem! :)