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2013-07-18 8:40 AM

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Subject: Swimming in the Ocean

I realized when training for my last race how different an OWS was from a pool swim. But swimming in the ocean is completely different from a lake also.

I have a sprint coming up in a few months, the swim will be in the Gulf. Does anyone have specific training tips for competing in an OWS in the ocean???

I went to the beach yesterday and had a great time playing in the surf but the waves would slam into us one after another & this was a good ways out, past the 'break'. No matter how many I dove under, with my feet unable to reach the bottom and ground myself, there would be a wave now and then that would catch me and carry me way back toward shore no matter how hard i tried to fight it. And then there was the undertow, a strong undertow pulling us .... I quickly realized this was a whole different kind of open water swimming. Surprised 

How do I train to deal with specifically the waves and the undertow?

....and then there is the whole SHARKS thing (this was recent and just a few towns up from the beach where race will be).... but no real way to train for them I guess other than increase speed...



Edited by Meljoypip 2013-07-18 8:40 AM


2013-07-18 8:44 AM
in reply to: Meljoypip

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Subject: RE: Swimming in the Ocean
I have no advice to offer you. I recently was vacationing in Southern California and did some ocean swimming...it was AWESOME! But, as you said, very different. Good luck!
2013-07-18 9:03 AM
in reply to: Meljoypip

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Subject: RE: Swimming in the Ocean
Where/Which race you doing? Congrats! I'm in Panama City/ PCB and yes, the gulf swim is different than lake. Don't worry about the undertoe, typically those manifest near shore and in narrow channels. AS for the breakers/waves crashing, that usually is only near shore as well and once you get out past the sandbar, it's just a roll. Time your breathing between the swells if there are any, and be prepared to rotate to breathe to either side.

Don't worry about the sharks. Our water is so clear, they can see you just fine and know you're not food. If you saw what some friends of mine caught within blocks of the IMFL swim course weeks ago, you'd be scared! An 8 foot Bull Shark- but unless you're swimming out there at midnight, sharks are not a factor. Frankly, as far as marine life, i'd rather swim in the gulf than most lakes in FL!

Bottom line is the more you can practice, the better it becomes. One suggestion if you're in PCB area. At the east end of Thomas Drive is the St. Andrew State Park. There are jetties. There is a "kiddie pool" = a natural lagoon of protected water formed by the jetties. This is a good protected place to swim as you don't get as much rough water. Like a small lake.
2013-07-18 9:18 AM
in reply to: Meljoypip

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Subject: RE: Swimming in the Ocean
Personally I find swimming in the ocean a lot faster and easier than lakes. Part of that is the extra buoyancy of the salt water, part of it is the current, part of it is just the exhilaration of being in the ocean! I'm guessing wherever your race swim is that there won't be *that* many waves that factor in, simply because you'll probably start by swimming out, then parallel to the shore, then in, meaning you'll only get waves swimming out. Or, more likely, the RD has picked a spot where the waves are dissipated by a natural formation.
2013-07-18 10:03 AM
in reply to: Meljoypip

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Subject: RE: Swimming in the Ocean
Practice makes better for sure. If I'm swimming parallel to the beach I try to turn my face towards the beach to breathe. Usually, depending on the waves I would get a face/mouth full of water if I turned towards the sea. Sometime the side stroke is an alternative depending on sea state.
2013-07-18 12:14 PM
in reply to: Meljoypip

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Subject: RE: Swimming in the Ocean
Hey Mel,
The Race Club did a series of videos on how to race an ocean tri. They have some corny humor but some good tips on how to deal with the race.
http://www.theraceclub.net/category/videos/

Some of my tips:
1. Having just completed an ocean race with some tough conditions I can tell you that a strong kick helps. When you have big swell or chop, you don't get to establish a nice rhythm on your stroke, you'll need to get some power from your kick to get you through the peaks and troughs.

2. Be comfortable breathing and on both sides. The conditions (wind, chop) may not allow you to breathe on one side. And you may get "buckets" of water dumped on your head when you expect a breath.

3. Sight often. Many amateurs think that drafting is the biggest benefit to OWS when bigger gains can be made by swimming a "shorter" route. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N42wl2IzPQo

4. Be flexible with your stroke. When swimming in the pool you always get to reach out and enter the water in the same spot. In rough water you may slam your hand into a wave right at your shoulder, next you'll reach out and grab a handful of air when your on the high side of a wave.

5. Stay positive. Everyone is racing in the same conditions. You can make peace with it or you can let it defeat you.


2013-07-18 1:51 PM
in reply to: taylorz13

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Subject: RE: Swimming in the Ocean

Originally posted by taylorz13 Where/Which race you doing? Congrats! I'm in Panama City/ PCB and yes, the gulf swim is different than lake. Don't worry about the undertoe, typically those manifest near shore and in narrow channels. AS for the breakers/waves crashing, that usually is only near shore as well and once you get out past the sandbar, it's just a roll. Time your breathing between the swells if there are any, and be prepared to rotate to breathe to either side. Don't worry about the sharks. Our water is so clear, they can see you just fine and know you're not food. If you saw what some friends of mine caught within blocks of the IMFL swim course weeks ago, you'd be scared! An 8 foot Bull Shark- but unless you're swimming out there at midnight, sharks are not a factor. Frankly, as far as marine life, i'd rather swim in the gulf than most lakes in FL! Bottom line is the more you can practice, the better it becomes. One suggestion if you're in PCB area. At the east end of Thomas Drive is the St. Andrew State Park. There are jetties. There is a "kiddie pool" = a natural lagoon of protected water formed by the jetties. This is a good protected place to swim as you don't get as much rough water. Like a small lake.

I am doing the Santa Rosa Island Triathlon. I am in Alabama, about 100 miles from Pensacola. We generally go to Navarre because it is absolutely gorgeous and my husband and son love to fish there so I KNOW what is swimming in that ocean!!

It was Gulf Shores I was at yesterday, yellow flags were out so the surf was a bit rough, hopefully will not be that wild in October, but you never know.

Yes I can see I need to actually practice there, I guess I have a good excuse to go to the beach more this summer. Cool

2013-07-18 2:00 PM
in reply to: blbriley

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Subject: RE: Swimming in the Ocean

THANKS for all of the tips everyone!!

blbriley -The videos look like they will be great - I will check them out this evening.

More kicking??? But I need to save my legs for the run!! Just kidding - I will be practicing my kick more in case I need it. I can breath pretty well on both sides so at least there's that. 

Having on e of those "What was I thinking signing up for this race???" moments but knowing I WILL do this and then look to see what I can get into next Smile

2013-07-18 2:07 PM
in reply to: Meljoypip

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Subject: RE: Swimming in the Ocean
Practice makes perfect. It's a sprint so you'll probably have to contend with surf, there's not really any way around it. I wouldn't worry about sharks (easier said then done right?) The video you link said "near shark attack" I didn't see at any point that being close to an attack. If the person taping that made a move towards the shark it would have more than likely swam away pretty quickly. Ever been bit by a shark? Me neither, but I've been stung by a jellyfish several times. Funny how standing on the beach at the start I'll hear people talk about sharks but nobody mentions the jellies
2013-07-18 2:14 PM
in reply to: rjrankin83

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Subject: RE: Swimming in the Ocean

Originally posted by rjrankin83 Practice makes perfect. It's a sprint so you'll probably have to contend with surf, there's not really any way around it. I wouldn't worry about sharks (easier said then done right?) The video you link said "near shark attack" I didn't see at any point that being close to an attack. If the person taping that made a move towards the shark it would have more than likely swam away pretty quickly. Ever been bit by a shark? Me neither, but I've been stung by a jellyfish several times. Funny how standing on the beach at the start I'll hear people talk about sharks but nobody mentions the jellies

I agree about practice and the shark video (not an attack) but still, it was pretty close to shore!!!

Jelly fish are bad news too but you probably hear more people worried about sharks because jelly fish can sting you but sharks can kill you (or at least take off a limb) !! 

2013-07-18 2:29 PM
in reply to: Meljoypip

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Subject: RE: Swimming in the Ocean
To each their own. I grew up and live at the beach. Have seen sharks surfing the same beaches my local races are held and not really budged. Let me see a jelly and I can almost walk on water.


2013-07-18 5:17 PM
in reply to: Meljoypip

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Subject: RE: Swimming in the Ocean

don't psych yourself out.  it's just water.  And salt water gives you more buoyancy.

If it's rough- think of it like the difference between road biking and mountain biking.

 

Or how about this analogy:

Pool swim= running on a treadmill

Lake= running on a track

ocean = trail running.

2013-07-18 5:50 PM
in reply to: Meljoypip

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Subject: RE: Swimming in the Ocean

There really isn't that much difference between ocean swimming and pool swimming.  In the end...99% of it is just swimming your normal stroke.  You do have to sight more often, but I think the biggest key is to just stay calm and swim.  The instant you start worrying about needing to do something differently is when you'll start to panic and needlessly increase your HR and breathing pattern.

As for sharks...I wouldn't worry abou them.  A friend of mine told me that if you're ever scared of sharks during a race, just bring a knife with you.  If you see a shark...use the knife and cut the person nearest you and keep swimming. 

2013-07-18 10:20 PM
in reply to: Jason N

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Subject: RE: Swimming in the Ocean
niceeeee quote!
2013-07-19 8:07 AM
in reply to: Jason N

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Subject: RE: Swimming in the Ocean
Originally posted by Jason N

There really isn't that much difference between ocean swimming and pool swimming.  In the end...99% of it is just swimming your normal stroke.  You do have to sight more often, but I think the biggest key is to just stay calm and swim.  The instant you start worrying about needing to do something differently is when you'll start to panic and needlessly increase your HR and breathing pattern.

As for sharks...I wouldn't worry abou them.  A friend of mine told me that if you're ever scared of sharks during a race, just bring a knife with you.  If you see a shark...use the knife and cut the person nearest you and keep swimming. 

haha I'll keep this in mind Laughing

 

  Originally posted by morey000

Or how about this analogy:

Pool swim= running on a treadmill

Lake= running on a track

ocean = trail running.  

 

This is good, I don't trail run much, but when I do it's always really fun!

 


2013-07-19 9:21 AM
in reply to: Meljoypip

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Subject: RE: Swimming in the Ocean
Originally posted by Meljoypip 

This is good, I don't trail run much, but when I do it's always really fun!

 

sometimes in an ocean swim- they'll be enough "texture" on the surface to make it feel like you're getting airborne (like, half your body come out of the water).  You can choose to either freak out... or say to yourself "cool- that was fun".  I did a race a couple weeks ago into a headwind with a 1-foot chop.  yeah- it smacked you in the head and you needed to watch your breathing a bit more, but it's fun to have the extra challenge.  And- everyone out there was swimming in the same conditions.  It's so much more about 'Attitude' than anything else.  Think about the other things you might do in life.  Skiing a black diamond bump run is 'harder' than a blue groomer... but, it's also more fun.  Mtn biking on rough terrain is 'harder' but it's also 'fun'.  

Attack the ocean with a smile on your face and go for the challenge!



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