Friday, June 4, 2010

How to Become a More Confident Open Water Swimmer

Hope you're not expecting some fabulous training plan... no... just more of my blithering thoughts.. ;)

This really works though... I was the test subject, so I can say that in all honesty.

JJ (coach) knows I'm nervous about open water swimming.  I recognize now that I can go the distance (in the pool) but it still feels different in the big, open space of the lake and I've been working on mental calming techniques so I don't panic.

Last night I showed up to Kelso and was told 'I have someone I want you to swim with - she's new and has never been in the lake before'.... um, okay, I thought to myself... wow... this should be good...I'm pretty pathetic and he wants me to help someone new..?

I met my new swim buddy (Lorraine) and we waded into the lake together.  I showed her how I go in slowly, get my face wet (and proceeded to splash her and go under and blow some bubbles for a little bit to get acclimatized.  I assured her that although you can't see anything in the water because it's cloudy, it tastes far better than a swimming pool and in a wetsuit, it's a no-brainer to float around if you feel tired.

We swam a little bit of breaststroke and chatted.  She is just about to do her first try-a-tri on Sunday at Milton.  She has only been swimming for a year and is self-taught.  It was her first time in a wetsuit and the first time being in a lake.

I wore my "Nemo" swimcap and so I was easy for her to spot as she swam along... we took our time and a few little breaks along the way while we practiced sighting and staying on course...


The 'newbie' swam 1000m!  Imagine my delight on her behalf!  What a trooper! 

She thanked me for swimming with her and helping her feel so comfortable for her first open water swim and was so excited that she had found her first 'coach' (Who?  Me???).  It was I who thanked HER... together, we swam without fear of the open water.  We built our confidence and enjoyed the experience together. 

Hard to say who benefited the most from that teaming up of like-minded souls:  Lorraine or me...

JJ, smart coach that he is, knew that with someone else to think about, my own fears would take a back seat... way to go, JJ!

I can't wait to see Lorraine again and hear about her first triathlon - I'm betting she ROCKS the swim leg!!  Woo hoo -- you GO, girl!!!

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