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swimlong
June 13th, 2004, 06:11 PM
I'm pretty new to open water swimming, and I have a couple questions. I swim in the Pacific, in Canada, so the water ranges from cold to bloody cold. :) :) I wear a full wetsuit and a silicone cap.

My questions:

1: I often feel dizzy in the water; not while I'm swimming but while I'm treading water for a "break" or when I've finished my swim and am getting out. Also, I feel dizzy when I switch from freestyle to backstroke. Why is this, and what can I do to stop it?

2. My feet are so wimpy. They can't tolerate any barnacles, sharp rocks, or slimy seaweed things - in fact, they protest so much they almost refuse to take the rest of my body into the water. So...my question...does anyone know of water shoes that you can swim in (not flippers)? I have tried the booties that I wear while surfing, but despite the velcro straps below and above the ankle they fill with water and become a huge drag.

Thanks in advance for your response.

2go+h20
June 13th, 2004, 07:01 PM
I am familiar with these waters.
The beaches with long sandy shores get quite tolerable, especially those beaches that have a huge distance between high and low tide. You can swim in waist deep water parallel to the shore on the slack tide or incoming tide. It is a great way to swim! (usually great underwater creature viewing as an added bonus)
Do you know what the temperature is? If you don't have one, get a water thermometer. They are handy to record the temp when entering your open water swims in your log book. Also include distance, time, air temp, and conditions, eg small chop, outgoing tide,etc
I hope you are never ever swimming alone.
To help with the dizzyness, try silicone ear plugs. Cold water, once in the inner ear will affect your vestibular apparatus (balance mechanisms). Plugs will reduce this.
Changing from freestyle to backstroke: If you are used to swimming backstroke in a pool with the ceiling to focus on, then moving clouds and bright sun, and wave action could be disorientating.
For your 'wimpy feet'. Get a pair of flip flops/tevas etc. Wade into the beach and hand them to your boat person. You should have , at the very least, a boat person with you. And they should be equipped with all emergency paraphenalia.
If you are swimming on the slack tide in waist deep waters, in an area that has a generous sandy shore that takes ages to walk to get to a deeper area, and you don't want your feet to touch things, simply float out using a sculling motion. Float/scull back in as far as you can to reduce the tactile sensations on the feet. Swimming in shallow water is a great drill to improve a dropped elbow problem.:)
Also swimming near rocks is extremely dangerous, (back wash, swirling tides, rough edges which can really hurt your body)
What is the geography/topographical description of the area you are swimming in ?
Make sure you check with the locals, are aware of tides and rips, undertows, the makeup of the beach for potholes before setting out for a swim.
Heavens you could end up on the otherside in Japan, where all those lovely glass buoys that wash up on the shore come from ;)