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Open Water Swimming - some thoughts and a warning

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I read through a good portion of the current issue of "Swimmer" today and was impressed with the fact that 9/10s of the articles were about open water swimming. When I was much younger I competed in a few triathalons and other than those few events I haven't had much experience in open water swimming. To be honest - were it not for the swimming portion of triathalons I wouldn't have done so well. So I think its something I'd like to try now that I'm older - BUT...

I have no idea where to start in getting prepared for one of these things. As a kid, when I was doing triathalons it was easy. I was a distance swimmer and needed no prep whatsoever - all I needed to do was add running and biking to my regular routine. Now - some 25 years later I think I need to figure some stuff.

No thanks to "Swimmer" Magazine though - which had no articles geared toward someone who wants to get started in this. Looks like I'm on my own there....

One other thing - I have spent the last 22 years of my life in a career that involves rescue in the maritime environment. I am a bit perplexed that not much was stressed in the way of safety in open water swimming. This is definately something that should never be done alone and I must say that other than the advertisment for the "swimmer buddy" at the end, the magazine failed in stressing the importance in making yourself visable to boaters. Unfortunately I HAVE recovered dead bodies from the water that were the result of a boater not seeing a swimmer. I realize that in an actual event the safety of swimmers is tantamount but those training for it on their own need to be very careful.

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Comments

  1. rxleakem's Avatar
    I really enjoyed the Open Water issue - usually the focus of the early spring magazine. They reviewed some items on page 40 when they highlighted the importance of hitting the open water: these ones here are supposed to work well and not get in the way too much (I plan to order one this year - I'm going off a friend's recommendation).

    As far as training, head over to the online coached workouts and see which of these two strike your fancy:
    [ame="http://forums.usms.org/forumdisplay.php?f=100"]Mallory Mead - OW[/ame] or
    [ame="http://forums.usms.org/forumdisplay.php?f=122"]Sara McLarty - Triathlons[/ame] <-- I think jadams went to a clinic she was putting on a few months back.

    I try not to swim alone, and am fortunate that a group of folks gets together every Wednesday night from late April through September in the Berkshires - a lot of fun exploring the lakes as a group. The big thing for me is getting over the mental obstacles that come with swimming in the middle of a lake, but I am loving it more each year. Two years ago I did a 2.4 mile swim, last year 10 km, and this year I am signed up for a 10 mile swim. It is great if you can find some one to kayak with you as well ...
  2. jaadams1's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by rxleakem
    I really enjoyed the Open Water issue - usually the focus of the early spring magazine.
    Is that what that was that came in the mail a few weeks ago? It was written in some foriegn language...

    As far as training, head over to the online coached workouts and see which of these two strike your fancy:
    Mallory Mead - OW or
    Sara McLarty - Triathlons <-- I think jadams went to a clinic she was putting on a few months back.
    I did learn a few things from her clinic, but who knows if I'll ever use them in real life again. OW just isn't my thing. And I figured since she was right here in town, it couldn't hurt to head to the pool and join the clinic.
  3. rxleakem's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by jaadams1
    who knows if I'll ever use them in real life again.
    This guy right here knows that you are going to give it a go - just start with a shorter swim this summer to get used to it. I am hoping to swim the 10 miler under 5 hours, so your job is to find an event under 1 hour (anything under 2.4 miles - Ironman distance). Than rock it out, bro!
  4. jaadams1's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by rxleakem
    This guy right here knows that you are going to give it a go - just start with a shorter swim this summer to get used to it. I am hoping to swim the 10 miler under 5 hours, so your job is to find an event under 1 hour (anything under 2.4 miles - Ironman distance). Than rock it out, bro!
    I'm probably going to do a 1.5 mile swim in the first of second weekend of September in Lake Chelan, WA. The trouble with most OW swimming is that it's right in the middle of my big work season of the summer, and I have little chance, if any, to actually get in the water to swim. And I AM NOT going to throw myself at the mercy of whatever out there in OW when I'm not in "swimming shape". Safety first!!