There are many newbie triathletes find open water swimming daunting and scary. As a coach, I try find ways to have them overcome the fear. Some are faster than others swimming the distance in the open water.
I had one girl just panic when just thinking about it. She tried multiple times. Thursday, I realized she has been practicing the swimming and can do the distance in the pool. I told her I have an idea that might help her. On Saturday early morning, Lake Gardner had perfect conditions and beach was quiet. We sat on my towel looking across the lake. I took her through a mediation and visualization of the swim she will be doing. We swam across the lake with a few stops. When she finished, we all high five her, she smiled.
Here are few hints to make your open water swim and triathlon swim easier:
- Look at the course from land – know where the buoys are corresponding to land objects.
- If you feel like you cannot breathe, do the breath stroke. You will be moving which you will get back on track.
- During your practice swims enjoy the scenery.
- While you are waiting for your wave to start do yoga breathing to relax. Take a long breath in through your nose then exhale slowly through mouth. Repeat this 3 times.
- Take slow, methodical breaths at the beginning of the swim and look at the sky.
- Rotate eyes forward on breaths to sight buoys.
- Wiggle fingers on recovery part of the stroke.
Through the years, I come to love swimming and cannot wait to get in the lake. Have fun with your swims!