Open Water Swimming

[caption id="attachment_6694" align="alignright" width="300"]openwaterswimming_ironman_triathlon_training Source: / Photo: Erik Isakson[/caption] Open water swimming would seem to be coming to an end as the triathlon season is winding down but in my best kid voice:  I don't want to stop open water swimming.  Since mid-June I have been doing an open water swim at the lake near my house and it has been every Friday since August 7th that I have done the swim thanks to an invitation from Michelle.  Ever since that glorious day in the lake I have consistently swam 2 miles every Friday and it has done wonders not only for my swim technique and sighting in the open water but also for relaxing my mind and body. When I put on that swim cap and goggles and head out for this swim I forget about the entire week of lactate threshold running and hill repeats on the bike.  This 1+ hour of training is my peace of mind and I l do not want to stop doing it.  The weather here in Texas is around 50* at 7:00am and that is when I plunk my body into the lake and while the water temp is cool it is warmer than 50*.  I submerge my body and go and it is wonderful. When the temperatures continue to creep downward will I have the motivation to submerge myself into that cold water?  My answer as of today is yes.  Maybe I don't swim 2 miles but I will continue to swim.  I want to continue to open water swim so that when March and 70.3 Puerto Rico comes around I am ready to go and don't have to start all over again.  Let's not forget that Ironman Texas is in May and I want to have a drastic improvement on my 1:36 from that race. Swimming is not my strongest sport and any type of improvement here is going to help my overall race.  I have gotten out of the water thinking that I swam a certain time only to be disappointed at what I see.  I am not looking for leaps and bounds improvement but if I can knock that 1:36 at the 2.4 mile distance down to 1:25 (without wetsuit) and 1:20 (with wetsuit) then we are looking at an 11 minute improvement at Ironman Texas in 2013.  That would set me up for a tremendous race and the only way to do that is to continue to get better at open water swimming. Another way to get better at open water swimming is going to be in going to the pool consistently during the off-season.  Working on drills and sets and streamlining and technique and repeating until I am so tired of the pool that I never want to go back.  I need to embrace my inner Nemo during the winter at both the pool, but especially in the open water since 70.3 and 140.6 distance races don't take place in a pool. While searching for different tips and tricks on the internet I came across this article for pool swimming that would seem to be a good change of pace to what I have been doing in terms of drills.  This article also provides a couple of swim sets to help test out how the consistent and hard swimming is working.  I know in the past year I have seen an improvement and I am thrilled to see it but I also know there is more to be done. See You In The Lake!

Do You Swim In The Open Water In The Offseason?

How Have You Improved Your Swim?

Jason Bahamundi

About the Author:

I grew up in New York and lived there for 34 years until I got divorced and moved 1600 miles to my new home in Texas.  I love New York and miss it but that does not mean that Texas hasn’t been great to me because it has.  It was here that I discovered endurance sports and specifically the sport of triathlon.  Triathlon has given me new life through all the challenges it presents.  I no longer look at life the same way and I can say that is in part due to my endeavor into this sport.

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