General Discussion Triathlon Talk » Comfort wave or age group for first tri with ows? Rss Feed  
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2014-03-14 9:00 PM

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Subject: Comfort wave or age group for first tri with ows?

Hi, all.  I was just getting ready to sign up for a sprint tri that would be my first one with an ows.  I have done one pool sprint so far and will be doing another one in a week.  Both have a serpentine swim.  I have zero ows experience but plan on doing at least 2 open water swims prior to this ows tri.  As I was on the registration page I see they have the option to go in the last wave and they call it the "comfort wave".  The competitive side in me says to go with age group.  I seriously doubt I would podium though.  I don't for see any issues with ows such as panic but you never know.  What say you, BT?



2014-03-14 9:08 PM
in reply to: desertchica


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Subject: RE: Comfort wave or age group for first tri with ows?
There's a good chance you will panic. . . but I really wouldn't want to be with a group of newcomers who are all panicking. That doesn't sound like fun at all. Just start at the back of your age group and take the first 100 real slow.
2014-03-14 9:35 PM
in reply to: 0

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Subject: RE: Comfort wave or age group for first tri with ows?
With absolutely zero OW experience, I'd go with the comfort wave. I don't know the conditions where you will be swimming, whether it's in a lake, river or ocean... Experience, water temp and conditions all play a role in how people act in the water. Why not jump in and see what you think before you sign up.

I can say, I'm happy that I've always swam with my age group. It's only an elbow to the face that you will be missing if you go with the comfort wave.

One more thing, this is your race, you paid for it and you trained for it. Do the race as you want to, not because others don't want to swim with someone who may or may not panic.

Edited by AndyEWU07 2014-03-14 9:38 PM
2014-03-14 9:43 PM
in reply to: desertchica

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Subject: RE: Comfort wave or age group for first tri with ows?
You don't say how good a swimmer you are, but it sounds like you have some swim confidence, which is half the battle I think. I say go for it if you are a decent swimmer and your practice OWs goes well, otherwise hang back a bit but still start with your AG.
2014-03-14 9:51 PM
in reply to: AndyEWU07

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Subject: RE: Comfort wave or age group for first tri with ows?
Hmm... Thanks for the responses. I like hearing from both sides. The swim for the tri will take place in a small man made lake and the water temp will be colder than I am used to in the pool. I swam in a pool last year that was so cold it took my breath away. I got 3/4 of the way down my lane and had to hang on the lane line because I couldn't breathe. It was not fun but a good learning experience. I did manage to adjust to the temp and swim a bit. For the tri I will have a wetsuit. As far as waiting to sign up after my owe practices, price would go up. Decisions, decisions. Lol
2014-03-15 8:12 AM
in reply to: desertchica

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Subject: RE: Comfort wave or age group for first tri with ows?

I love the suggestion of starting with your age group toward the back/side.  That's what I would do.

If you don't think you will panic, don't give that a second thought.  I think sometimes the panic feeling is a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy. 

Good luck!

 



2014-03-15 8:14 AM
in reply to: ziggie204

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Subject: RE: Comfort wave or age group for first tri with ows?
Agreed. I grew up in the water, swam on a swim team as a youngster, am an avid whitewater kayaker (talk about violent underwater experiences), etc. It never occurred to me that I would get panicky in my first tri. Didn't even cross my mind. Still, my first sprint in a calm, warm lake I started breathing hard, got jittery, the whole thing. My brain was absolutely dumbfounded that this could be happening. I thought, are you kidding me? Anyway, I slowed down, started breast stroking, and it passed.

Having said that, I might lean toward the back of your age group rather than a bunch of others who are going to be causing chaos. If only so you don't have to share in their pre-race angst.
2014-03-15 8:19 AM
in reply to: switch

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Subject: RE: Comfort wave or age group for first tri with ows?
My first tri was a 400m ows. I had some experience of swimming in lakes but typically the crystal clear water of the muskokas and poodling around doing breast stroke.

I found it easy enough to start with my age group. The good swimmers get a move on and then the field thins nicely. I did have some negative thinking but switched down to breast stroke a couple of times.

My guess is that the comfort wave will be the weightloss guys and gals and swim beginners. So might be more of a liability than the AG.
2014-03-15 8:49 AM
in reply to: desertchica

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Subject: RE: Comfort wave or age group for first tri with ows?

I've walked in at the back of regular waves the first several years. Then just moved up during the swim, after everyone else had tired out from the early mayhem. Had no idea about podium or not at first either. 

Is there anything else you get by being in that last wave? At some races they might have swim "angels" or swim buddies that will go along with for encouragement.

2014-03-15 9:31 AM
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Subject: RE: Comfort wave or age group for first tri with ows?
Well, I just reread the race info. Website says there will be 4 waves of 150 people or less and ample time between waves with the comfort wave being last. I am leaning more towards starting with my age group's wave and starting at the back. Maybe I am a fool but I can swim fine. I have been swimming for 1 1/2 years consistently. Don't look at my logs though because I should be faster considering how much I swam last year. Lol. So if I am in a full wetsuit and feel painicky I can just float, right? Maybe it that adrenaline surge at the beginning of a race that I am not taking into consideration. I had that at my pool tri last year and was shaking like a leaf. Since it was a serpentine swim I had about 40 minutes to get settled down before my start. I went to the warm up pool and just swam slow until I calmed down and all was fine after that. Anyway, as usual I am way over thinking this.

Edited by desertchica 2014-03-15 9:33 AM
2014-03-15 10:47 AM
in reply to: desertchica

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Subject: RE: Comfort wave or age group for first tri with ows?
Register in your age group wave. If any issues come up, I would be greatly surprised if the RD wouldn't let you move to the comfort wave on race day.


2014-03-15 4:50 PM
in reply to: tedjohn

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Subject: RE: Comfort wave or age group for first tri with ows?
It sorta depends on how big your wave is but seems to me there is 3 swimming "zones" within a wave:
Zone 1) The fast swimmers will sprint for the first 75-100 yards to get away from zone 2. You gotta be pretty fast (<1:15/100) to get into this group.
Zone 2) "The scrum" 75% of the decent swimmers will be pretty crowded for the first 200 yards or so until it evens out. Here there is lots of kicking and jostling just based on everyone getting into the limited space in the water. You gotta be pretty confident in the water to not get a bit freaked out in the scrum, at least at first.
Zone 3) The less confident swimmers will start at the back of the pack and not try to get in the rough and tumble of the scrum. Too slow though, you will end up getting mixed in part of the next wave but it should be pretty evened out by then unless you are really slow.
2014-03-15 4:55 PM
in reply to: Oysterboy

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Subject: RE: Comfort wave or age group for first tri with ows?
Yep, I am with the group that says go with your age group but stay off to the side and toward the back. I still honestly do that although I have been doing Tri's for years. Just don't like being in the middle of the washing machine.
2014-03-15 5:13 PM
in reply to: desertchica

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Subject: RE: Comfort wave or age group for first tri with ows?

An OPEN WATER swim with serpentine?!?  Huh?

 

 

2014-03-15 5:43 PM
in reply to: faded_memories

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Subject: RE: Comfort wave or age group for first tri with ows?
Originally posted by faded_memories

An OPEN WATER swim with serpentine?!?  Huh?

 

 

Maybe I was a little unclear in my op. I did a POOL sprint last year with a serpentine. I will be doing the same pool sprint in a week. The tri with the OWS is at the end of April.
2014-03-15 5:50 PM
in reply to: desertchica

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Subject: RE: Comfort wave or age group for first tri with ows?
Thanks for all the replies. I have no interest in getting in the "washing machine" of an ows. I don't think that would be a good idea for a first timer. I will sign up with my age group and stay to the back and side. Off to sign up up and quit over thinking.


2014-03-15 7:30 PM
in reply to: desertchica

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Subject: RE: Comfort wave or age group for first tri with ows?

Something else to consider is that if you swim with the comfort wave then you will be with a lot of nervous/poor swimmers. Which has the potential to be worse than starting at the back of your AG. 

I spent my first few years of triathlons having OWS panic issues that we finally attributed to not warming up prior to the swim. My HR would sky rocket and then it was hard to get it back down. I"m still not a fast swimmer by any means. 

The scariest swim/triathlon that I ever did was a women's sprint for beginners. Women were crying and hanging onto buoys, calling out for help, back and breast stoking. I wasn't nervous going into the swim but being around all of those people who acted like they were going to drown scared the crap out of me.  

Start at the back of your AG. 

2014-03-16 6:49 AM
in reply to: Catwoman

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Subject: RE: Comfort wave or age group for first tri with ows?
My first tri was a 70.3 and they had the option of the comfort wave. Swimming by far is my weakest leg of the tri but I still decided to go off with AG wave. I was pretty nervous but when the gun went off I just waited a few seconds and let everybody go before I started. Also, I stayed a little to the outside of the bouys. I ended up having very little contact with anyone.
2014-03-16 7:11 AM
in reply to: Oysterboy

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Subject: RE: Comfort wave or age group for first tri with ows?
Is comfort wave a common thing? I've never been in a race with one that I know of.
2014-03-16 4:07 PM
in reply to: aliddle9876

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Subject: RE: Comfort wave or age group for first tri with ows?
Originally posted by aliddle9876

Is comfort wave a common thing? I've never been in a race with one that I know of.

i've seen it in a few mores races lately...

it's nice for beginners who are weaker swimmers or worried about the washing machine. plus there are typically lots of kayakers who ride right next to the group if they need to hold on to something.
2014-03-16 8:02 PM
in reply to: desertchica

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Subject: RE: Comfort wave or age group for first tri with ows?
if "comfort wave" is the same as novice (meaning has prizes) it might be worth doing. i missed a podium in my first 70.3 because i signed up with age group instead of novice…


2014-03-17 2:27 PM
in reply to: desertchica

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Subject: RE: Comfort wave or age group for first tri with ows?
So what's the difference in a "comfort wave"? Is it guaranteed to be a smaller wave than other AG waves? Is it done using a TT start? If not, it may end up looking much like a regular AG wave and it may be a similar experience.

What I recommend is to practice some "close proximity" swimming before the triathlon. This can be done in a pool or in open water. Getting used to swimming shoulder to shoulder with a little bumping around will go a long way to reducing the chance of panic in the race.
2014-03-17 2:45 PM
in reply to: desertchica


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Subject: RE: Comfort wave or age group for first tri with ows?
You'll be fine in the back with the age groupers. If you know how to swim open water is nothing different other than the mental aspect. My first open water swim was in a half ironman. I didn't follow triathlete forums or really know any other inexperienced triathlete's so at the time I didn't even know to be nervous and I wasn't. I was just shocked how how far 1.2 miles looked. Other than that it didn't bother me.
I suspect if you feel confident as a swimmer you'll be fine, unless you convince yourself to be otherwise. One other thought. If you're with age groupers, you'll be with a pack mentality of confidence. If you're with the comfort wave, I would think you'll be surrounded by a lot of others with fear. And it's amazing what other's mental state can do to your own. I'd say be confident and swim with the age groupers.
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