Slaying the Open Water Swim Part 3!!!

As indicated previously, open water swimming has been an ongoing battle for me.  In the pool I can easily cover the distance and in the open water I should be able to easily cover the distance.  As I am not competing in a triathlon till next year I have some time to iron this out.  Difficulty lies in the reduction in available months the local lake temperatures will cooperate.

I outlined my earlier issues and diagnosed my problems in two earlier posts:  part 1 here and part 2 here.  So the ground work and the analysis has been laid.  Since then I have added sighting and breathing practice sessions to my swim training sessions and I have worked some issues out that could be resolved in a pool.  On Saturday I have another open water swim opportunity so I wanted to come up with a game plan and setup definitions for success.  This is important as it gives me a very attainable and clear goal to shoot for.

Primary goal: I will not get myself into a crawl before I reach the first buoy. Often I wear out my arms by panicking and getting out of swim formation before I really even start.  I plan to put my head down and not stop swimming till I get to the second buoy and the shallow area to stand.  If this is the only thing I do on Saturday I will be very happy with myself.  This is a major first step I need to overcome to become a good or adequate open water swimmer.

Secondary goal: Keep my breathing steady and use a 3 stroke to breathing pattern and sight ever 3 sets or so. I have practiced breathing and sighting and believe that I have the mechanics worked out at this point.

Secondary goal: Finish all 850 meters or so without getting into a crawl.  This is really a minor goal, but figured I would set it up just in case things go really well from the primary goal, then I have another goal to aim for.

So that is it. That is my plan and definition for success.  I think having this goal set, while it may seem a little low, it is the most important piece to make the remainder of my open swim goals possible.  Til next time…



  1. Determination will get you there my man !! go on and go forth ! tomorrows is one of my buddies open water swim trials, your post reminds me of him,

  2. Thanks. I believe the only way to get better is to figure out the situation, figure what can be done to solve the problem and come up with a plan to resolve the issue. Should be fun to see how things play out tomorrow.

  3. […] will just have to be really careful and not add too much stress.  I might even just settle for my smaller primary goal and work on swimming to the first buoy and back several […]

  4. Can you clarify to me what you mean by getting into a crawl?

    1. For me it is almost a modified doggie paddle. I am no longer flat in the water but upright leaning forward a bit with my head out of water. I start to paddle with my arms and push with my legs. It makes me super tired when I get into this position instead of staying in a swimming position.

      1. Oh, I see. I’m assuming this happens when you’re starting to get really tired? If you don’t mind, I’ll try and get some suggestions posted to my blog once I get a minute. I’ll let you know if I have more questions.

  5. […] of working out including running 4.3 miles, not bad for just a couple of runs for me.  Also, I posted that I was still going to do the open water swim on Saturday.  When I awoke, my blood pressure was […]

  6. Actually I do it before I get tired, almost an immediate panic. I believe it was caused from not practicing citing enough. So i would start my swim and before i was at the first buoy I would pull myself up and start crawling, trying to make sure I was going in the direction, also panicking a little bit. I need to stay in a swimming position and not use up as much energy.

  7. […] that open water did not equal pool swimming, I panicked and struggled as I got to the first buoy(detailed in 3 part series starting here).  Unfortunately the season ended and I did not get much farther than a mile or so.  I felt […]

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