View Full Version : advice for new open water swimmer

June 9th, 2004, 01:29 PM
I am new to swimming and to open water swimming. I just completed the Lake Berryessa 1 mi swim, previously I completed a .6 mi swim for a triathlon.
My question is this: In both events, it to me a long time to get comfortable swimming in the water, about 400 yrds for the 1 mi swim (ended up on my back and doing the breast stroke for most of that distance). I know part of this is due to inexperience in open water and swimming in general, and anxiety. I think I have figured out that the biggest problem for me is the seeming inability to control my breathing. I run and cycle and have no problem controling my breathing. Besides accrueing more experience in open water, are there any techniques that I can use to help me breath more completely and slowly so that open water swimming can be more enjoyable.

Any advice would be appreciated!

Rob Copeland
June 9th, 2004, 02:04 PM

If you go back through the posts in this forum, you will see your question addressed. So I wonít go over all the advice presented before, Iíll just touch on a couple aspects.

1) The best way to get comfortable and get over the anxiety is swim more. There are some great Masters programs in the Davis area, joining one of them will help.
2) Work with the coach on improving your technique, learning to become more efficient and relaxed in the water.
3) When you go to a race, make sure to get in the water to warm-up and to get comfortable with the conditions, prior to the start. And at the start focus on a relaxed technique and build into the race.

As you know breathing in swimming IS different than breathing in running and biking. It requires more attention to timing and is more explosive. In running/biking you can take long deep slow breaths in and out with your head in a natural position to maximize airflow. In swimming your head is turned which slightly constricts the airway and you have a small window of opportunity to inhale within the rhythm of your stroke. Again the best way to get better is to practice.