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Manny
June 17th, 2011, 10:06 PM
New to this forum, so hello!

I want to enter my first 1 mile open water swim event on July 9th, but I'm not sure if I'm ready. I've been swimming recreationally all my life but only recently have decided to get into this, so I've been training seriously for 2 and a half weeks. I can definitely do 25 laps nonstop in a 25 meter pool, and pushing myself can do 30.

Any opinions on if this is enough time? Am I fit enough or should I wait for a later event?

I'm going to train as if I'm going to enter and then see how I feel. Any recommendations for workouts in the three weeks till the event? If do three workouts a week, that gives me nine workouts.

At what point in those three weeks should I be able to do the necessary 70 or so laps?

Any recommendations on wetsuits?

Thank you so much,
Manny

srcoyote
June 20th, 2011, 08:49 AM
Much depends on the site of the swim and how crowded it is. If there are more than 30 entrants, I would wait until I had completed a mile in the pool before shooting for a mile in open water. Open water is very different than the pool (no visibility, etc.), and a crowded environment at the start can mean a lot of jostling and wasted energy -- not to mention, it can be very disorienting. If water conditions are rough or there are cross currents, the distance will feel much different.

Try swimming in the pool with your eyes closed a couple of laps. See how that feels. Also try lifting your head to sight something at the end of the pool once a length to see how that feels.

While I think it's possible to train for a one mile open water swim one 3 workouts per week, three weeks seems very ambitious to get from a third of a mile to a mile.:2cents:

I say keep training and shoot for a mile swim a little further down the road.

aquageek
June 20th, 2011, 12:54 PM
If you have to push yourself to swim less than half the distance, you probably shouldn't do the race. Three weeks won't make a substantive difference.

KatieK
June 20th, 2011, 01:08 PM
New to this forum, so hello!

I want to enter my first 1 mile open water swim event on July 9th, but I'm not sure if I'm ready. I've been swimming recreationally all my life but only recently have decided to get into this, so I've been training seriously for 2 and a half weeks. I can definitely do 25 laps nonstop in a 25 meter pool, and pushing myself can do 30.

Any opinions on if this is enough time? Am I fit enough or should I wait for a later event?

I'm going to train as if I'm going to enter and then see how I feel. Any recommendations for workouts in the three weeks till the event? If do three workouts a week, that gives me nine workouts.

At what point in those three weeks should I be able to do the necessary 70 or so laps?

Any recommendations on wetsuits?

Thank you so much,
Manny
Agree with Aquageek and Srcoyote that July is too soon. But, there's nothing to lose by training as if you're going to do it.

Before you do an open water race, I recommend doing a few open water practice swims. I'm always amazed by how many people get in open water for the first time in a race setting. I admire the courage it takes to do that, but you'll enjoy the experience much more if you have some practice under your belt.

To find swim buddies, I recommend contacting local triathlon teams and triathlon shops.

swimgal51
June 21st, 2011, 05:48 PM
Ditto to three previous respondents. The first open water competition I did was a half-mile dog paddle because the thought of procuring prescription goggles did not occur to me prior to the race, and my distance vision/depth perception has been confirmed awful ever since I ran into the gym wall while trying to park the car when I was in high school. Keep up the great training, though, and I'm sure you'll be in open water sooner than you expect!

Manny
June 27th, 2011, 05:18 PM
Thank you so much for your responses. Although I can now swim a mile in the pool without stopping, I swam by myself in the ocean on Sunday and was blown away by how different it is. The cold water took a little of my breath away, I felt like I was going nowhere, I couldn't see in the water (which was disconcerting), and I was veering all over the place. I also have to admit that I was thinking about sharks the whole time! Open water swim is a hell of a physical and mental challenge - I know I can do it, but I realize that I have to be more fit and more confident before attempting this. My cousin (who is a triathlete) says I need to be able to swim 2000 to 2500 yards nonstop in the pool first.

ViveBene
June 27th, 2011, 06:00 PM
It's possible you were going nowhere! Tides and currents can be subtle.
I would do both: continue pool swimming to get more proficient and build conditioning, and once or twice a week get into an OW environment just to become more comfortable with it. Float around, admire the sea creatures, play in waves.


Thank you so much for your responses. Although I can now swim a mile in the pool without stopping, I swam by myself in the ocean on Sunday and was blown away by how different it is. The cold water took a little of my breath away, I felt like I was going nowhere, I couldn't see in the water (which was disconcerting), and I was veering all over the place. I also have to admit that I was thinking about sharks the whole time! Open water swim is a hell of a physical and mental challenge - I know I can do it, but I realize that I have to be more fit and more confident before attempting this. My cousin (who is a triathlete) says I need to be able to swim 2000 to 2500 yards nonstop in the pool first.

MikeGarr
June 27th, 2011, 09:09 PM
If there is a semi- sheltered spot (Like behind a breakwater or in a more enclosed bay) you might try your open water practices there where there is less likelihood of being "tossed about." Also should help you start to learn how to navigate. Get a helpful experienced swimmer to come along and give you coaching. Finally never swim alone; safety in numbers....

Good luck!

hawkssb04
June 29th, 2011, 12:29 AM
Thank you so much for your responses. Although I can now swim a mile in the pool without stopping, I swam by myself in the ocean on Sunday and was blown away by how different it is. The cold water took a little of my breath away, I felt like I was going nowhere, I couldn't see in the water (which was disconcerting), and I was veering all over the place. I also have to admit that I was thinking about sharks the whole time! Open water swim is a hell of a physical and mental challenge - I know I can do it, but I realize that I have to be more fit and more confident before attempting this. My cousin (who is a triathlete) says I need to be able to swim 2000 to 2500 yards nonstop in the pool first.
If you can do a mile in the pool, you can definitely pull of a mile in open water. However, your time will most certainly be slower, so don't expect it to be the same as the pool. Just like you, I recently began my open water swimming career (swam my first 1-mile about three weeks ago). Everything you described about the temperature, current and feeling like you are going nowhere sounds about right. It will definitely be harder than it is for you in the pool, but don't get too psyched out. Sounds like you are making great progress.

Manny
July 11th, 2011, 05:34 PM
Thanks for all your advice and encouragement. Just thought I'd post that I completed the one mile ocean swim last weekend. I managed to get a couple ocean swims before hand by myself that gave me some confidence. Wow, quite a feeling of accomplishment- it is awesome to look back and say, yeah, I swam that. Definitely hooked. I want to do this for a while. Also quite humbling to see how slow I am and how much I have to learn, especially sighting and swimming straighter.

Question - do you open water swimmers practice sighting when you are in the pool? Does it become second nature or does it require constant practice?

Do you have an "open water" stroke or style and a "pool" stroke or style because of visibility and water conditions?

srcoyote
July 17th, 2011, 10:32 PM
Congratulations!! It is a great feeling.

I can say that sighting does become easier, the more you swim. I do practice sighting even in pool work outs. Usually I'll swim an 800 or 1000 and sight once per length. I work those swims in a week or two before the open water swim.

Another thing to practice is swimming straight. Try swimming some with your eyes closed to see which way you tend to veer. The smoother and more even your stroke becomes, the less you'll move off line. While I still have a slight push to the right, it is much less pronounced. The straighter you swim, the less often you have to sight. In the last three years, I've gone from the need to sight every 10 strokes to now where I sight every 30 or 40 strokes.

Finally, if you really want to read discussion on pool vs. open water stroke, open up this thread:

Stroke Rate & Stroke Length in OW - U.S. Masters Swimming Discussion Forums

If nothing else, this thread is proof that there isn't agreement on the subject. I can tell you that I've been working on some of the drills chaos shared, and it continues to improve my open water and distance stroke.

KatieK
July 18th, 2011, 10:54 AM
Thanks for all your advice and encouragement. Just thought I'd post that I completed the one mile ocean swim last weekend. I managed to get a couple ocean swims before hand by myself that gave me some confidence. Wow, quite a feeling of accomplishment- it is awesome to look back and say, yeah, I swam that. Definitely hooked. I want to do this for a while. Also quite humbling to see how slow I am and how much I have to learn, especially sighting and swimming straighter.

Question - do you open water swimmers practice sighting when you are in the pool? Does it become second nature or does it require constant practice?

Do you have an "open water" stroke or style and a "pool" stroke or style because of visibility and water conditions?

Congratulations!

When you sight, try to keep your head as low as possible--only your goggles should come out of the water. Don't breathe while you're sighting. I like to sight right before a right breath. I exhale while I'm sighting and then lower my head and turn to breathe in one motion.

I've found it extremely helpful to maintain a rhythm of sighting. I breathe every 3 strokes and sight every 6--before every right breath. If I don't keep a rhythm, I tend to sight less when I get tired. I don't veer off course much, but I need to sight regularly to keep a good mental state.

I practice sighting in the pool too. Sometimes I compare my times for sighting and not sighting.

I'm slower in open water than I am in the pool because I tend to zone out. I've been making a lot of progress on that by swimming with faster people. They don't have to be faster than I am--just fast enough to push me. Sometimes we'll do sprints from one buoy to the next.

I don't have a Garmin, so I like to keep to the same routes. I time pretty much everything I do and log the results. My times are all over the place because of conditions, but the data is still useful. I like to keep track of my average 100-yard pace for each open water swim. That gives me a clear sense of progress. It also helps me avoid unrealistic expectations.

bamueller
July 19th, 2011, 12:05 AM
It is definitely exciting to swim in open water.

You mention swimming 25 laps, maybe 30. In your definition, is 1 lap = 25 yards or meters or 50 yards/meters? Some people define 1 lap as one length, others two. 25 laps to me is 600 yards or meters, not 1200. The reason I ask is to help gauge your fitness level.

Personally, I stress out about my open water swims even when I swim 3-5K in my workouts. I would want to be able to swim the distance of the event plus some in order to have confidence going into the race. If I have not swum 5 miles, I would not swim a 5 mile race until I know I can do it.

If you have not swum 1 mile strait, I would wait and get your conditioning acclimated to the event just to be on the safe side. An open water swim is more challenging then the same distance in the pool, both physically and mentally. Knowing your conditioned will help. You will enjoy it more.