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pattie
August 7th, 2011, 06:53 AM
Hi All,
After my second bail out in as many swim attempts, ( Kingdom swim 10miler and Lake Seymour double-loop 3.5 mi) I'm beginning to get frustrated with my weakness or fear of swimming through what I would call extreme chop. I completed some long serious swims in the past, ( the 10 miler last year and Lake Champlain in 2008) But I'm beginning to lose confidence in scary water. Any advice?:badday:

swimthegoodfight
August 8th, 2011, 02:38 PM
it is all a little scary - if you don't like freshwater chop you'll hate saltwater chop.

it is very easy to be frustrated with a swim and swim conditions.

i've quit at least two open water swims, have been plucked in two, and changed my swim distance at morning check-in on at least two ocassions.

it might be best to do shorter swims at the same venue or shorter swims at more challenging venues.

successes willl increase your confidence... and understand no two open water swims are identical.

best of luck

swimthegoodfight
August 8th, 2011, 02:58 PM
pattie - I failed to note you have had some very long swims. it is possible big chop is simply too much.

I was plucked from the chesapeake bay bridge swim, and was joined on the boat by approximately a half-dozen other swimmers... between them, they had completed the swim on other occasions more than a dozen times.

my point is you might want to check on the number of DNFs in your particular races - perhaps a number of persons chose to pull out too.

philoswimmer
August 9th, 2011, 12:21 AM
This may be an off-the-wall suggestion, but... I am very comfortable with waves and chop, and I think it has to do with growing up playing in the ocean. If you can, take a vacation somewhere with waves. Learn how to play in the ocean. Body surf. Just get comfortable with a little rough water (but not too rough!). Understand that you can't control everything -- you will get water in your mouth, you won't necessarily be able to sight when you want to -- and practice being patient and waiting.

MAC swimmer
August 10th, 2011, 10:45 AM
Hi Pattie,

The Seymour Lake swim had some chop, no question! I thought of you through the whole race; saw you got out at 1 lap. By the second lap, there were whitecaps. I had a kayaker stay close to me--that helped because then I had to navigate less which means that I was less tired. The downwind leg--I could feel my body surfing down each swell. Pretty cool but it demonstrated that we had to fight real waves.

Next year--Willoughby! Want to do it again?

Paul

MAC swimmer
August 10th, 2011, 10:48 AM
Pattie,

No kidding, the wind was at 5-8 knots with 1 foot waves. To me, that is not trivial chop. During the Potomac River Swim, we had 2-3 foot seas. That was brutal for half the race.

Don;t get discouraged! You are a great role model for me and others. I insist that you keep it up!!!

Paul

swimthegoodfight
August 10th, 2011, 12:28 PM
open water 'lap' swims are a challenge in themselves :) but a 'lap' course are unavoidable at many venues.

I am very appreciative of any and all willing to host and organize open water swim!

Keep the 'lap' courses coming if necessary for the venue.

srcoyote
August 10th, 2011, 03:52 PM
This may be an off-the-wall suggestion, but... I am very comfortable with waves and chop, and I think it has to do with growing up playing in the ocean. If you can, take a vacation somewhere with waves. Learn how to play in the ocean. Body surf. Just get comfortable with a little rough water (but not too rough!). Understand that you can't control everything -- you will get water in your mouth, you won't necessarily be able to sight when you want to -- and practice being patient and waiting.

I'll echo this suggestion. Last year's Big Shoulders was pretty rough, and I was already worried how I'd respond to the coldest water I'd been in (62-63F) and my less than optimum conditioning at that time. All the years I spent playing in the Gulf and the Pacific made me comfortable with the rough waters of Lake Michigan that day so that wasn't a worry. Learning to roll with the waves and realizing that you don't have full control helps.

orca1946
August 11th, 2011, 01:06 PM
Try shorter distances or take a look at the water that morning to see if it's "TOO" rough.

Kevin in MD
August 12th, 2011, 11:05 AM
I'm beginning to get frustrated with my weakness or fear of swimming through what I would call extreme chop. I completed some long serious swims in the past, ( the 10 miler last year and Lake Champlain in 2008) But I'm beginning to lose confidence in scary water. Any advice?

I have gone through similar issues since having to shorten my Tampa Bay Swim to 9 miles in 2005. In fact it is the biggest thing keeping me from signing up for the long stuff again. But I am coming around and felt great at the Kingdom Swim.

I think the first thing needed to do is to make sure you are breathing away from the waves. That's very simple but don't overlook it.

The second thing is to work hard in practice on staying focused on your little rectangular piece of water as you swim. Don't think about the whole thing, just your little world. Stroke stroke breathe, and get lost in what you are doing, once you start thinking about how much this sucks and how in the world am I going to make it, I have four miles to go in this stuff, you are on your way down the tubes. Practice this intentionally in practice swims.


But mostly for me it has been a steady progression back up.

1. Build distance in long flat swims. The Morse Reservoir swim, I don't really see a way for that swim to be wavy for most of it's length, it is so narrow in the cove there. Also look around for other swims that are almost always flat and challenge yourself there.

2. Intentionally seek out rough swims you know you can handle. Either races or in training. The Chesapeake Bay Swim seems to be rough every 1 out of 4 or so years. Lots of the swims on the ocean can be rough; even though rough ocean is a bit different than rough freshwater. And of course seek out rough training swims. Here in Baltimore, we have an open water swim spot that people like to go to when it is calm, I much prefer it when it is rough. I can swim in flat water at a pool!

Neither point 1 or 2 are revolutionary but think it through and you will get back there.

And good luck

orca1946
August 12th, 2011, 01:03 PM
I like the area of water around you concept !:applaud:

philoswimmer
August 12th, 2011, 01:29 PM
I like the area of water around you concept !:applaud:

If you're in a nice venue, you can also focus on your quick glimpses of beautiful scenery!

MAC swimmer
August 12th, 2011, 03:49 PM
I have that problem on nearly every long swim I enter (and mine are way shorter than Tampa). There is always a "crisis moment", usually near the start, when the shear length and amount of work in front of me gets into my head and I have to just back way off (do breaststroke) and gather myself. Then I just say, the hell with it, swim for 30 minutes and see how you feel. Often I'll look at clouds (I'm not kidding) to focus off the water.

evmo
August 13th, 2011, 02:22 AM
Then I just say, the hell with it, swim for 30 minutes and see how you feel.

Truer words were never spoken about open water/marathon swimming. Thank you Paul.

pattie
August 17th, 2011, 10:47 AM
Thanks to you all for your very sound advice and encouragement.

Paul, I thought of you about a half hour later as I did a run around the area to compensate for having bailed on the swim. I thought " He's still swimming, and I s*ck" But I was really a bit freaked out without a wet suit or a personal kayaker in those conditions.

No Willoughby for me this year. BRRRR! I have Lake George 10k ( also a loop course!) coming up on the 28th.

I may be back to NE Kingdom for the 10 miler next year.

dbheli01
August 18th, 2011, 02:21 AM
Hi Pattie,

You have accomplished some great feats in open water swimming and you should be proud of that, for sure. I know we all want a perfect record, but sometimes you have to trust your instinct and listen to your body. One thing that has helped me in choppy water is just spending time in the ocean when no one sane would go in. I grew up being dragged to hurricane swells in the Atlantic Ocean by my surfer brother. I was just a kid and should have feared those circumstances more than I did, but I just went into survival mode and created a game for myself. It was like swimming in an unpredictable wave pool. If you have the opportunity to get in any body of water under poor weather conditions, don't do a structured swim and set no expectations for distance. Just swim around in the water and get used to that chop throwing your body around. That way, when it comes to competition day, you'll have much less anxiety about not only having to swim in chop but also finish the distance and get a competitive time and all those other pressures that we all put on ourselves. Another thing I do when I'm nervous about the swim is to identify the confident, strong swimmers during warm-up and stay close to them until you're more comfortable. If you can't find access to open water often enough, have a friend or husband swim in the lane next to you for a portion of your workout and have them splash and kick you. It sounds silly but it works! Good luck in your future swims!

Chris Lowe
August 20th, 2011, 04:03 PM
At one point in my age group training we swam 7 lanes of swimmers in a six lane 25 yard pool with every other lane circle swimming clockwise. The only swimmers you ever went head to head with were those in your own lane. During stroke sets of 50s the water would get pretty dang rough!!

sydned
August 22nd, 2011, 10:53 PM
Pattie,
I'll be at Lake George this weekend too. Hoping for a great weekend weather-wise, as we will be camping. And I'll keep my fingers crossed for chopless too, for your sake.
Looking forward to some great swimming in just a few days!

pattie
August 23rd, 2011, 09:01 AM
Pattie,
I'll be at Lake George this weekend too. Hoping for a great weekend weather-wise, as we will be camping. And I'll keep my fingers crossed for chopless too, for your sake.
Looking forward to some great swimming in just a few days!


Hi Sydne!

Yeah, I'm a bit terrified about weather and conditions. It's freezing in the morning here in NE. It'll be colder up there! I am really hoping I can get over this hump and finish the dang thing. But a loop course is even tougher to finish if the conditions aren't ideal. Plus, I'll be pulling up the rear still soaking up the lake while your on the beach soaking up the rays! :cane:
Anyway, it'll be good to see you.