Triathlon Sisters

June 25, 2007

Open Water Swimming

Filed under: swimming — by hawk @ 12:50 pm

It has been pretty quiet on the triathlon homefront since my big trip to Denver. However this weekend was pretty exciting. I’ve been concerned about the whole open water swimming thing. I’m not scared of lakes or anything like that, but I’ve never done distance swimming before, just beach ball swimming.

Ohio Street BeachThe main place to swim in Chicago is Lake Michigan. I’ve been a bit scared about open water swimming because I didn’t know where to go, if there are any water dangers, or how I’d do in the big pond!

So I found an open water clinic for first time triathletes. Normally I don’t go for such things. I’m a solo kind of learning. I like the comraderie but I learn best be experimenting and practicing. But I was getting worried. Jenny‘s encouragement was the thing that sealed the deal for me (thanks!).

The clinic was fabulous. It’s not that I learned anything I didn’t already knew (except the insight that waves are not random; they ususally have a pattern that you can anticipate), it was that I was in a safe environment with people who were good decent human beings striving to try something new too. There was a guy there from Zoot talking about their products and letting us borrow suits for the clinic. Thank God! is all I can say because Saturday was one of the coldest, rainiest days of the summer! Once I was in the water I felt like a little cork because I kept bobbing up to the surface. I couldn’t keep my legs from flipping up behind me because I was so buoyant! I felt like a kid in an anti-gravity suit or something! The coaches led us through drills and personally commented on our technique and suggested ways of improving. It was just so cool to be in the open water and to be swimming. It was dang cold, but I was very psyched. We also practiced mass starts and swimming in a tight group of people. Kinda scary, but again, safe environment so I could see how it felt. I didn’t do any distance that day but feel confident that I could go there with a friend and practice. As soon as it get warmer, that will be my primary swim place. And you’ll be happy to know that no fish nipped on my toes and there were no jellyfish to be found.

Now what I’m still a bit fearful of is the fact that when in the lake, I feel like I am swimming hard but going nowhere. That makes me nervous. Also, in this area of the lake you can touch the bottom in most places. What’s it going to be like when that isn’t the case?!



  1. Jellyfish? in Lake Michigan? I think I missed that Discovery Channel show. I think you are well on your way to the comfort zone of open-water swimming. Nice!

    Comment by barracuda — June 27, 2007 @ 6:58 pm |Reply

  2. […] some cold water Filed under: swimming — by hawk @ 5:07 am Feeling very empowered by my open water swim clinic, I was anxious to get back to the lake. I even canceled my gym membership (which I had gotten only […]

    Pingback by that’s some cold water « Triathlon Sisters — July 3, 2007 @ 3:55 am |Reply

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