General Discussion Triathlon Talk » OWS first timer. Rss Feed  
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2013-09-30 4:58 PM

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Subject: OWS first timer.
I learned to swim last March and have been going to the pool as much as I could. Pretty confident in water i can't stand in.

Joined a local tri club (Temecula Valley Tri Club) and today is my first training OWS at Vail Lake. I have a tri wetsuit and I heard these things float. I know from experience that my arms are up to it if my legs are buoyed up. I will bring my training fins, which I used to refine my strokes, along just in case. I guess all I need now is to maintain composure as I look down into the murk.

I don't know why I am posting this LOL. I think I'm just nervous. Maybe some of you can share lessons learned?


2013-09-30 5:36 PM
in reply to: BikesOfALesserGod

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Subject: RE: OWS first timer.
Heh Get wet! It's amazing how calm and conferable it is once you're in the water! Do just what you're comfortable with a step at a time, and you'll be an expert in no time.
2013-09-30 8:03 PM
in reply to: Pacific John

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Subject: RE: OWS first timer.
If you panic, which is common, breath very quickly, get that heart rate out of control, slash your arms around like crazy, try to grab and hold another swimmer nearby with your dear life, and you should be good.

Just joking, enjoy and have a great time. Swim safe in OW. Make sure someone else is around or you have a safety float attaches.
2013-09-30 10:09 PM
in reply to: Jpro19

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Subject: RE: OWS first timer.
Ate some humble pie today. Until I learned to relax it seemed that I was getting tired too quick. After I took it easy and focused on my hands entering the water in front of me it started clicking somewhat. Still, lots of baby steps to take. I couldn't sight worth a crap and had to swim parallel to the shore.
2013-09-30 11:16 PM
in reply to: BikesOfALesserGod

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Subject: RE: OWS first timer.
You'll do great. Get back in as soon as you can. One thing that helps swimmers at all levels is to remember to exhale well. This is almost always a factor with new ows swimmers, but I've seen advanced people forget to do it and lose their composure. With just a little work, you'll think it's easy!
2013-09-30 11:24 PM
in reply to: Pacific John

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Subject: RE: OWS first timer.
Originally posted by Pacific John

You'll do great. Get back in as soon as you can. One thing that helps swimmers at all levels is to remember to exhale well. This is almost always a factor with new ows swimmers, but I've seen advanced people forget to do it and lose their composure. With just a little work, you'll think it's easy!


My swimming buddy told me stop "top breathing". His term for exhale well. It helped.


2013-10-01 8:40 AM
in reply to: BikesOfALesserGod

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Subject: RE: OWS first timer.
Originally posted by BikesOfALesserGod

Ate some humble pie today. Until I learned to relax it seemed that I was getting tired too quick. After I took it easy and focused on my hands entering the water in front of me it started clicking somewhat. Still, lots of baby steps to take. I couldn't sight worth a crap and had to swim parallel to the shore.


I had a similar experience my first time. I was able to swim away from shore, but only went out and back about 50 yards a couple times. Even though I grew up swimming in lakes, it had been about 15 years, and I suddenly found that I wasn't comfortable with it anymore. I think the problem was that I read too many horror stories and started to internalize other people's fears. There was someone else there for his first OWS that evening, and he wouldn't go out over his head. I noticed that if you are sincerely trying, though, that is the most important thing to most triathletes, and they will be very supportive. Even if you felt humbled, I hope you weren't embarrassed. With a little practice, it will become comfortable.
2013-10-01 10:27 AM
in reply to: BikesOfALesserGod

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Subject: RE: OWS first timer.
One helpful thing my swim coach told me is that "water is water". I was a disaster during the OWS in my first race. Hadn't been in the OW for over 10 years and I thought my old surfing experience would make it a piece of cake. WRONG. Took way too long to settle down after mentally thinking through all of the negative thoughts, e.g. why is this so hard already? what if I have to quit? I can't believe I did all this training only to fail in the first 10 minutes, etc etc. But once I realized that I wasn't going to drown, and that my arms and legs were not hurting, I began to almost think I might be able to finish it. I started telling myself, "it's just like being in the endless pool. water is water." It's not really 100% true but it did help me settle down and focus on what was actually happening rather what COULD happen. I ended up actually having plenty of strength and gas in the tank even after the initial freak out and was able to finish much stronger than I had started. I plan to use it again this coming Sunday.

Not going to lie, it was also actually helpful seeing people clinging to buoys and kayaks. I thought "I'm not the only one struggling out here, but I think I can keep going".

So much of that swim was mental. Maybe even 90%.

Water is water.

2013-10-01 10:42 AM
in reply to: BikesOfALesserGod

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Subject: RE: OWS first timer.

Originally posted by BikesOfALesserGod Ate some humble pie today. Until I learned to relax it seemed that I was getting tired too quick. After I took it easy and focused on my hands entering the water in front of me it started clicking somewhat. Still, lots of baby steps to take. I couldn't sight worth a crap and had to swim parallel to the shore.

Definitely take it slowly. Stay within your depth until you're comfortable and confident swimming for extended periods. I still get nervous during my first few OWS each season. Takes me a several workouts before I can complete a mile without stopping.

Practice a lot, and with time it'll start to feel much more natural.

2013-10-01 2:50 PM
in reply to: Brit Abroad

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Subject: RE: OWS first timer.
Yep, that's all I could do. Keep coming back and keep trying until the confidence builds! I just learned to swim last March so I'm not doing too bad
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