Since my aunt has her first tri coming up (Go Pat! You'll do awesome!), and she asked, I've been contemplating some suggestions for a 'smoother' swim. Actually, I just don't want to have that panicked, breathless feeling again.
So, some thoughts of my own, and some stolen from other sources.....
- Try and forget about the piranha, black lagoon creatures, and loch ness monsters that are most likely (NOT) circling below you. The fish are certainly more afraid of you than you are of them.
- No, there are no sharks in fresh water lakes
- Start to the outside of the pack, and towards the back. Yes, there will be some seconds lost as you watch the mad scrambling in front of you when the gun goes off. But I think the lack of panic and smoother stroke the space will allow more than makes up for that.
- There is nothing wrong with taking a breath on every other stroke until you can settle into a nice rhythm of every third or fourth. Extra oxygen can only be a good thing....well, unless you're hyperventilating, but that's a different subject.
- Practice breathing on both sides. That way if you encounter waves or the person next to you is very splashy (and this comes in handy at the crowded pool too), you can comfortably get a breath.
- Don't crowd the turn buoys as you pass. That's where the swimmers will certainly bunch up as everyone tries to take the shortest route possible. Again, the extra seconds to swim a little further out can be mitigated by keeping a nice stroke and not fighting for position.
- Try (altho I always fail at this) not to go out toooooo fast. I tend to sprint out of the 'gate' and end up gasping for breath and that leads to panic.
- Practice, practice, practice.
Okay, now if I can only follow my own (and others) advice, maybe I'll be okay on my next open water swim. Wishing you all smooth waters and relaxed swims.