View Full Version : How do you swim straight when there are no black lines to follow?

September 12th, 2005, 11:42 AM
Hi everyone! I did an open water lake swim this weekend, and it was really fun. I even got to meet Swimmy! We had a great time. My hubby told me that they watched me swim the 2-mile event and that I was really pulling to the right. I know that my right side is my strongest side, so I am not surprised. But does anyone have any advice or tricks for swimming straight in open water? I am doing a 10K in November and I would rather not swim an extra 2K because of zig-zagging, if possible! Thanks for anything you can suggest!

September 12th, 2005, 12:30 PM
Do you have a support boat/canoe/kayak? If so, work with the operator of that boat to paddle straight, and you can keep to the right or to the left of it (depending on your dominant breathing side) and just sight off the boat. It's a whole lot easier for a kayaker or canoeist to paddle straight because they are sitting up and facing forward.

You often don't have one on a 2-mile swim, but I think you should on the 10K.

If you have no support boat, then you have to learn to "spot". Pick some prominent object at a distance in the direction you are trying to swim. Perhaps a lighthouse, or a buoy , etc., if you are in a large body of water like a bay or ocean, or a particular house or hill on the shore of the lake if you are in a lake. Keep sighting every x-many strokes to make sure you are heading in that general direction.

Personally I have found that it is more efficient to sight on the stroke that I am NOT taking the breath on.

September 12th, 2005, 02:07 PM
Here's a very good article on how to swim straighter.

http://www.h2oustonswims.org/articles/navigating.html (http://)

September 12th, 2005, 02:18 PM
Thanks so much for that article! I remembered reading it a LONG time ago, and couldn't remember where to find it now. This is exactly what I need to try. I alternate breathe without any difficulty, so I will try this new method very soon. I will also ask my coach to see where I may be pulling too much to the right.

Thanks for your help! I knew the people on this board would know of something that would help!


September 14th, 2005, 03:19 PM
Hi Diana! I think I met you too - we talked at the end before they put up the 2-mile results - you were the only person there from Maryland, right?! How did you do at the meet in Baltimore?

That was my first open-water swim and I had problems swimming in a straight line too. Not to mention, the water was so murky, I couldn't see anything which may or may not have helped. I think I could definitely improve on my times if I could learn to swim straight...at one point I was practically on the other shore of the lake! :o

I'm also trying to breathe more on both sides - I tend to only breathe to the left and I think that makes me list in that direction.

It was great to meet you! :)

September 14th, 2005, 04:59 PM
Hi Kerry! We may have spoken, but I am not sure. I was the only one there from Univ of MD, Terrapin Masters, but not the only person from the state of MD. You may have me confused with someone else. Also, I didn't do anything in Baltimore, so not sure what you are asking there. But I did enjoy the race, though. I thought it was a lot of fun, except for the bathroom/shower/changing facilities - yuck!

The murky water is normal, especially for a lake like Montclair (or Reston, if you've ever done that). Even the ocean around here is murky, so no help there either.

I am doing a 10K in November in Bonaire - the water is so clear there though, it will probably be a distraction seeing all the beautiful tropical fish :-) I will stick to that as the reason I am so slow!

Take care!

September 14th, 2005, 06:15 PM
Oops! I am so sorry - I think I do have you confused with someone else. :) I talked to someone who said she was from Maryland and she'd also been at the Long Course meet in Fairfax a couple weeks prior. She was actually going to a meet after the lake swim, which impressed me greatly because I don't think I could have done both!

I am so bad with names...ugh. I think you and I are in the same age group so I just assumed it was you that I had talked to - I apologize. :)

I had a good time and I will definitely do more - Reston sounds really nice. I think the green water will take some getting used to. At least you can't see anything floating in it....

I bet you will have so much fun in Bonaire - that will be amazing! I can't wait to read how it goes...I hope you will write up something (and take lots of pictures)!

September 17th, 2005, 03:46 AM
Great topic! Thanks for opening it, DianaC!

Tomorrow I'm doing a 1-mile swim in a bay I've raced in about 5 times before, and I NEVER seem to get it right. I always head off to the right, towards the castle, instead of sticking to the breakwater. Seems so elementary, yet I keep getting it wrong! Come to think of it, I always veer to the right myself. Duh!

I haven't read Emmett's article yet - I'll give that a try.

Have fun!

September 19th, 2005, 04:14 AM
OK - so yesterday I went and did this one-mile race. Had an absolute BLAST, even though the weather wasn't great. At least it wasn't raining, and the sea was calm. They rearranged the course to keep us inside the port and safe.

So, I thought a lot about sighting, which was actually pretty easy because with the rearranged course we just had to do a small triangle twice... but...

For the first round I had a woman on my right (I breath to the right) who was breathing to the left, completely in synch with my breathing pattern, and looking at me in the eyes the whole way! I thought, "who the heck is this?" and tried to shake her, which took a while.

Next round I found myself behind a woman, which was nice because I was dragging off of her, but towards that last 300 yards I was feeling fresh, so I decided to pass her. No go! If I took to her left, she veered left and kept me behind her... if I veered right, same.... I arrived 3 seconds behind her (which is ok because she's 25 and I'm 45)...

After the race this nice 70 year-old gentleman told me how he was behind me and saw me wasting lots of time and energy waggling back and forth, right and left. He gave me some good advice on keeping a straight course...

OK! I'll try next time! Got another one-mile race coming up on Saturday!! YAY!!