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Is an open-water swim all that different than swimming in a pool?


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1 minute ago, Razors Edge said:

Kramer preferred it.

If you do do it, choose the Caribbean.  There are some island to island races/events down there, and the water is pleasant.

It will be local.  I have already been over a mile at the pool a couple of times, but I am still slow.

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1 minute ago, Randomguy said:

It will be local.  I have already been over a mile at the pool a couple of times, but I am still slow.

You can drink straight out of the Hudson River nowadays!  The East River is the source for most bottled water on the East Coast (like Deer Park).

Do it!

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1 minute ago, Razors Edge said:

You can drink straight out of the Hudson River nowadays!  The East River is the source for most bottled water on the East Coast (like Deer Park).

Do it!

I don't think you did your research correctly.

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1 minute ago, Randomguy said:

I don't think you did your research correctly.

Did I spell the river names incorrectly?  Wait, the Hudson is the source, and the East is where you can just bring a straw (or grab one from the bank) and sip away.

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There are no walls on the open water, and it’s often too deep to stand. So, you have to tread while resting. And really trust your lungs to hold you buoyant. Water displacement feels different. And like @ChrisL said, there might be currents and swells that drag you around. I tried swimming in the designated area of San Francisco Bay, and in the ocean a couple of times, and it was a workout! 

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1 hour ago, Randomguy said:

I have not been in a big swim, and a friend of mine wants to do one this summer.  I would also like to do well.

Discus.

Yes, especially if it's in salt water - much easier on the eyes.  There are plenty of beaches along the Chesapeake Bay and near the salty mouths of rivers feeding into it and the water is warm (usually in the 70's) in the summer.  It has a lot to do with why the vast majority of kids living near the Bay can swim well.

As kids, we used to visit a cousin of a friend's with a house on the water, swim 1/2 mile to a small, uninhabited island, explore and then swim back.

If this is a big, long swim with a lot of people and you're not worried about taking your time, the backstroke is what most people turn to when they need to go easy for a while.

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So, I was a private residence community in the Abacos.  Michael Phelps was coming over for a promotional deal.  When he got to the top of the boat ramp he met a local guy named Willis. The two exchanged barbs and Willis challenged him to a swim.  Phelps said sure at which point Willis jumped up 4 feet onto the dock railing and said "Let's go!" 

Phelps moved the race to the following day and insisted on starting from a boat.  Phelps excuse for losing badly was that he was a closed pool swimmer, not open water. 

So, I guess there is a big difference. 

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1 hour ago, Wilbur said:

So, I was a private residence community in the Abacos.  Michael Phelps was coming over for a promotional deal.  When he got to the top of the boat ramp he met a local guy named Willis. The two exchanged barbs and Willis challenged him to a swim.  Phelps said sure at which point Willis jumped up 4 feet onto the dock railing and said "Let's go!" 

Phelps moved the race to the following day and insisted on starting from a boat.  Phelps excuse for losing badly was that he was a closed pool swimmer, not open water. 

So, I guess there is a big difference. 

Yep, probably lost because he didn't know about the petroleum jelly trick.

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I did an open swim as part of a mini triathlon. The swim was half a mile in a lake. Mass start was horrible. Boats going up and down to watch the swimmers made it choppy. It was the hardest part of the race. 

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Fewer alligators in the pool. That said, as part of my lifeguard qualification had to swim 1/4 mile across the lake. Started from my back yard and the instructor followed/supervised in my rowboat. 

While I wasn't employed as a lifeguard when I lived in Daytona Beach, the lifeguards there routinely jump off the pier and do an open ocean swim parallel to shore. 

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...most places open water is colder than pool water. And if you don't have to turn, you don't get that push off the wall every time you turn. It's easier to hit a natural rhythm and maintain it in open water, but there are also things like wind and wind driven waves that complicate your life. There's a a guy I see doing open water swims in the American river near here, by the college. That guy must be nuts, because that water comes right out of the bottom of Nimbus lake, at the dam, and it is colder than a well digger's jock strap.

If you are not accompanied by a boat nearby, take along some sort of inflatable flotation. They make them for open water swimmers, with a little CO2 cartridge, and they usually strap to your waist.

Do not wear a speedo, because your willie will shrink to half its normal size, and girls will point at you and snicker. That is all.

 

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So here is the deal.  It's vastly different. Here are some things most people don't consider.

1.  Get used to using your arms.  There is no wall to kick off of every 50 meters.  This is a big deal.  People kick and glide so far in a pool.  Think about working into a rhythm and just staying there.  Don't use wall momentum.  I got to a point where I would not kick off the wall at all when I was training.  

2. Make sure your shit fits right.  I would do sets in the pool.  10 X 100, 4 x 500 whatever.  The point is that you usually stop at some point.  You take your google off and take a drink, scratch your gonads, and put your shit back on and continue.  I was not prepared for how much my goggles hurt after 2.4 miles continuous.  I wish I would have had more comfortably fitting ones for the race.

3.  Speaking of drinking water....  Do lots of it.  learn how to drink a lot before the race.  You can pee in the water so that is not a concern, but you can't drink or eat during a race unless you have it on a kayak.  Starting the IM was a big concern to me because I was starting a LONG day and I was going to be about an hour behind on hydration and nutrition.  Be prepared for everything that you manage to take in to taste like mud.  

4.  Sighting is hard.  Sighting in slight waves is even harder.  Practice it in the pool.  You don't have lane lines to keep your eyes on when you breath.  

Having said all of this I feel like they are really closely related though.  I feel like the fitness carries over.  It's not like riding a trainer VS riding a bike outside (which I feel like does NOT translate well).  I never once felt like I was not fit enough to do any swim in any race.  I would love to do longer swim races even now, just really no where to train.

 

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13 hours ago, sheep_herder said:

I hear mass starts can be brutal. Rumor only, as I have no experience.

They can, but it's an easy fix.  Just start near the back and go slow at the beginning.  I didn't care.  I had been a lifeguard and was a really strong swimmer.  So I got up in front and mixed it up.  But the big majority of my swim races (especially the Ironman) were all shotgun starts.  Starting a new swimmer every 3-5 seconds.  You used chip time and not a gun time.  This eliminated a bunch of the mass start chaos.  Not all iromans are like that.  This one was because the start was in a river.  People lined up at a boat dock and 3 people jumped in ever 5 seconds or so.  There were a bunch of people on houseboats down there that were docked all yelling, cheering you on, and making it a fun environment with music pumping, etc.  I am getting chills now just talking about it.

When I exited the river there was a MF'er holding up a sign that said "You only have 138.2 more miles to go!"

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One final note, swimming up river in a race can be demoralizing.  You put in a lot of effort and don't go very far.  Don't let that get to you.  Just keep your face in the water and keep moving forward.  Once you make the turn it's like someone is pushing you.  Your land sights just fly by.  

Damnit man, now I really want to do an open water swim.  I will just utilize all of my free time to train for it.

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1 hour ago, Parr8hed said:

I would love to do longer swim races even now, just really no where to train.

We have a big lake that works good for this. I’ve been the safety guy in my kayak  when my friend Amy practiced he open water swim. She actually taught a class for triathletes out at the lake a couple years. The first time I ran kayak for her she had invited me to swim with her or run kayak. I wanted to swim with her but she is way out of my league. I showed up an hour early and got my swim in before the rest got there.

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One more IM story.  

Not long after I jumped in I got kicked in the gut.  I sat up and treaded water for just a second while I coughed.  I saw a boat head towards me and I waved them off.  They kept coming and went right by me.  They were doing CPR on a dude that was on a small kayak.  (obviously not ideal CPR situation).  He didn't make it.  Suffered a heart attack in the swim!  

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30 minutes ago, Parr8hed said:

One more IM story.  

Not long after I jumped in I got kicked in the gut.  I sat up and treaded water for just a second while I coughed.  I saw a boat head towards me and I waved them off.  They kept coming and went right by me.  They were doing CPR on a dude that was on a small kayak.  (obviously not ideal CPR situation).  He didn't make it.  Suffered a heart attack in the swim!  

I get his stuff.

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2 hours ago, donkpow said:

His pictures and trophies line the wall over there. He is a legend.

 

12 hours ago, jsharrwick said:

How did you get that picture of @Chris... from his University swimming club?

This is the only picture you need to see of me in swimming trunks

11B23B9B-3CE7-41AE-8B42-7AC5824EAF07.jpeg

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