On Saturday morning, I went to an Open Water Swim clinic by Coach Dawn. Who is amazing. In case you were wondering.
This was my first chance to get into open water this year, my first chance to really try out my wetsuit, and a good way to get an idea of how my 1500m swim at Fort Ritchie Swimfest will go at the end of the month. I’m not worried about my ability to swim 1500m. Plus it’s actually 2 750m swims, so I will be on dry land for a bit of time between.
The cold water part, though, and the wetsuit wearing and the open water part in general have me a bit concerned. Those are all things that I can’t practice for at the pool.
So OWS practice it was.
The wetsuit is going to take some practice to get into. I have a sleeveless suit because full sleeves just make me feel claustrophobic, and I have enough issues with freaking out in the open water as it is. So yes, it’s a bit colder (and that moment when the cold water pours into the armholes… yikes.
We got in, splashed around, then got back out and did a time trial-style start. That means that you get in the water in 2’s or 3’s and there are a few seconds between each group. It’s supposed to be safer than the mass swim start. I personally like the in-water start, but that’s just me.
I started swimming and just could not find my groove. I don’t know if it was the wetsuit or the cold or what it was, but I was just struggling. I was making no progress, struggling to sight, and it just wasn’t going well. I kind of wanted to cry, except that wouldn’t have been good with goggles on. Dawn noticed and called me over to her kayak. Apparently in addition to everything else, my arm position was all screwy too, which is something I’m going to have to think about the next time I’m in the pool – I’m not sure if it was just due to the OWS or if it’s something I’ve been doing wrong for a while. I’d like to think my swim coaches at Thursday swims would have caught it.
Dawn was very reassuring and told me that the first OWS of the season typically sucks. Just one of those fun things. And she’s right. I haven’t been in open water since August. That was a long time ago. Of course it’s going to feel crappy. But now I got that crappy swim out of the way and can be ready. I just have to be sure to stay out of my head and focus on the swimming. I can do it, I just have to remind myself that I can do it.