03 August 2008

Open Water Swimming

So, since I've been struggling with the whole open water swimming thing, a friend and fellow triathlete suggested that I take some pictures of me swimming in the open water so that I'll have something to use while working on my visualization. I have several pictures, but I also have a video that you can't see too well, but it is me swimming out in the open water, with fishes, without freaking out.

While I was in Hawaii, I had the opportunity to practice my open water swimming and while I didn't swim as much as I could have or should have (mostly due to fear), I did manage to get 3-4 good swims in the 10 days I was there. I also mentioned in an earlier post that I would talk more about my open water swimming experiences and what I learned from them. So, here goes...

My first open water swim in the ocean was with the entire family. I decided that I needed to just relax and swim. Earlier that morning, my brothers and their wives went snorkeling and Karen saw an octopus. I was swimming along fine until I saw a rock (I'm choosing to believe it was a rock) that looked like an octopus. Sure enough, I started swimming awfully fast to get out of there. I swam around for awhile and talked to my dad while I practiced treading water and worked on calming myself down.

For the next few days, everyone else went snorkeling, but I skipped out...mostly because I really don't want to know that I'm swimming with fish. I'd rather just pretend it's a pool. Finally, on the Friday morning before we left, I went down to the lagoons with Brooke. She was planning on snorkeling and I was going to swim across the lagoon. I swam across the lagoon once and saw LOTS of fish down below on the reef and believe it or not, I didn't panic. I decided to just enjoy the fish and work on my swimming. I swam about 1000 yards and saw alot of fish, cut my finger on the reef (I was swimming along and all of the sudden the reef was 12 inches below me and my hand hit it), and had a blast.

Later that afternoon, I went swimming again and got another 1000 yards in or so and saw more fish and was feeling more confident. I actually even wondered if I should have done the Tinman in Oahu while I was there, but oh well... On Saturday morning and afternoon, I swam across the lagoon several times with my brothers and their wives. They snorkeled and I swam. We would stop to look at the fish and such, but I was truly feeling good about my swimming.

So, now I have some positive pictures to use when visualizing my open water swimming. I've also learned that it's okay to swim with fish and that I don't need to freak out. I'm hoping this will help my confidence for my next two races.