Monday, August 18, 2014

10 Things I Hate About ... Open Water Swimming

Until I moved to Fort Wayne, I didn't know about going to the lake or that going to the lake was a thing.

But, apparently, it is. 

You load up all of your stuff, stay in a teeny, tiny house for the weekend and eat lots of sugar, sit on a boat and go to the beach. It's a very good time - or so I heard up until this weekend. 

With much gratitude for a generous uncle, Mark, Miles and I got a taste of lake life with my grandma and two sets of aunts and uncles. We did the sugar thing and the boat thing and the beach thing. It was a grand time until I got the wise idea - and a dare from Mark - to do a little practice swim before Saturday's Go Girl Triathlon. 

Open water swim

Let's just say I didn't return to the beach loving open water swims.

10. The water is not climate-controlled and it's chilly, some spots more than others. It is especially so on a cloudy, windy day.

9. Buoys are farther than they appear. Standing on the beach, the buoy that I was to swim to and back didn't seem all that far away. The more I swam, though, the more it seemed to drift out. Either that or I was swimming in place and/or backward.

8. It's difficult to actually swim forward depending on the current and wind levels. It was a dreary day for the beach and though it didn't seem rough, I don't think I got any kind of advantage.

7. If you need to stop to catch a breather, it's not so bad to tread water. However, getting started is much more difficult as there is no wall to push of of. 

6. When you stop to take a breather, you will realize that your feet do not touch the bottom and it can incite panic.

5. There is no lifeguard on the beach to help you if you panic and can't get your shit together. Thankfully, I got my shit together. 

4. Breathing in the water is not an appealing concept. It's dark, murky, cold and shit lives (and poops) in there. Even with a nose clip, I didn't like submerging my face yet, swimming like a turtle is friggin' awkward.

3. People think you are crazy. Why? They go to the lake and beach not to actually swim but to play in the water. And what I was doing was not playing. It was W-O-R-K.

2. Water in the goggles ... nose ... mouth. Not cool.

1. It makes me feel defeated and absolutely terrified of how I'll do at Go Girl. I know that I just need to survive the swim and I can hammer on the bike and run. But, surviving isn't always a pretty prospect.


  1. Awe .. you'll do great I'm sure. I think it was smart to "get your feet wet" (baahaaahaa) before this weekend. You have taken some of the unknown out of it. You'll do better than expected I'm sure. Good luck!

    1. Thank you so much for the encouragement. And, you are so right - the unknown is gone.

  2. You'll be fine! At least the swim is the shortest thing and you will get it done and out of the way. I've done one open water triathlon and what I learned while swimming is that when tired, just flip on your back! You can still swim but you can breath all the glorious air you want. No worries on running into people since there is plenty of room for them to swim around. I spotted by tipping my chin down and looking at what direction the people behind me were facing and adjusted that way. In the end it made me like the open water more because I didn't feel as rushed as I do in the pool that I need to get out of the way for the people behind me. Good luck!!!

    1. Thank you, thank you, thank you! I never would have thought of flipping on to my back. And I'm an awesome floater!

  3. I am happy you got an OWS in! Better to have these thoughts now, than at the race!

    Going to the river/lake was always a thing for us, growing up! Are there not many lakes to swim in around where you live?

    1. There's tons of lakes with an hour or so of Fort Wayne but I've never really been. Growing up in Cincinnati, there was the Ohio River but no one swims in it. That I know of.

      We did go to this lake as a kid but I always thought it was because we didn't have money for vacation. Because I'm weird. Obviously.

  4. You just need more practice! Is the water too warm to wear a wetsuit? It is way better and you feel more comfortable in the water with a wetsuit. Plus it gives you buoyancy! It is better that you got in a practice swim to a least know what you are up against! You definitely need to remember to breath!! If you need to change strokes or back stroke works pretty good to at least catch your breath!! You will do great!! Good luck!!

  5. But when you're swimming at the race you won't be alone AND you'll be racing, both things that will distract and motivate you. You're going to be great!

  6. Going to the lake is totally a thing :-) My family has a house on Lake James and you have no idea how much I miss it! I only get to go once or maybe twice a year now since we live so far away.