For any triathlete, the open water swim can be somewhat scary. There is no black line to follow at the bottom of the lake or the ocean. The water is not crystal clear but rather dark and ominous. More often than not, triathletes put off “open water” swimming until the last minute and then wonder why they have such slow times on race day. If you really want to be a fast open water swimmer you have to get out there and practice!
One of the key things I do leading up to race day is head out to the local lake with all my FINIS gear and do my swim sets in the open water. I practice my sighting while focusing on my stroke rate, body alignment and getting comfortable with not having a wall to push off of every 25-50 yards. I have actually found that the more I practice in the open water the better my sighting has become and the less often I have to sight. In addition, my new Lighting Goggles give me a wider view without any glare.
Prior to becoming a FINIS sponsored athlete, I had problems with my goggles in just about every race. They were too tight, too foggy, too leaky or they were too narrow to see the other racers around me and the buoys that I was aiming for. Since signing with FINIS for the 2013 season, I have had a vast amount of success in my open water swimming thanks in part to my new goggles and my improved technique in the water.
So, get out there and don’t let your open water swimming experience, or lack of it, be the reason that you don’t hit your race PR this season. As my mother always said, “Practice makes perfect.”
Cheers and Happy Training!