Just a quick recap of our Open Water Swim swim today in Coronado, California.

My Garmin didn’t connect with GPS so I don’t have a map for ya. We only did about a mile, so it wasn’t much. It was a beautiful day and sometimes, it’s nice not having a computer tracking your every move. As much as I love data, I’m ok without it once in a while.

Last week we were in Glorietta Bay. It’s technically open water but there’s no surf or swell to throw you off like there is in the ocean.

One of the things I didn’t mention in last week’s post was the swell, the current and how your mind can play tricks on your eyes.

The Swell & Current

In the ocean, the wind is always moving the water. Nothing is still. We jumped in the water (which is much colder than the bay) and swam past the surf. We regrouped and got a head count. We took off south towards the Hotel del Coronado. It’s only about a half-mile and we swim with the current.

Swimming with the current makes you feel like a champ. I swam about 800 meters just under 9 minutes which is pretty dang fast for someone just getting back to it. It was effortless and easy. The swim back was not nearly as fun. Not only were we fighting the current the swell was messing with our breathing.

One way to deal with this is to “bilateral breathe”. Basically, you need to learn to breathe on both sides.

Swells are unpredictable and inconvenient. Being prepared and knowing where the swell is coming from is one great way to neutralize any problems you might have. We had one guy on our swim today breathe in a mouthful of salt water and he decided to call a day after that. In a race, you’ll have to learn to keep going.

Another tip is to wait a second before you inhale. Doing this will give you a chance to see if there’s a swell coming and prevent choking on water. If you’re in a freshwater environment, this is less important, you can swim normally.

Mind Games

One of the things I hate about open water swimming is my mind. In San Diego the seafloor is dark sand. This means that you can’t see much below you. This is both good and bad. It’s great because you can’t see anything and you’re not distracted. I feel like I’d have problems swimming the Kona Ironman because of how clear and beautiful the seafloor and reef are. I’d seriously forget I was racing and look at a turtle or something, I’m sure.

The dark seafloor is bad because my shark week infested imagination will get the best of me. Any refraction of light in my goggles will have me thinking there’s a great white shark or a giant mana ray below me. Twice today I had to pause and pull myself together. I had an inner dialogue about the odds of a dolphin or seal in the area and I couldn’t shake it.

There aren’t any tip for getting over any ridiculous fears like this. I think swimming in groups and staying together is comforting. Come race day I think the adrenaline and amount of people in the water makes it easy to forget your fears. You’ve just got to go with it and trust that nothing is going to happen to you regardless of whether or not it’s logical.

Published by Bryan Monzon

USAT Certified and Swim Specialist.

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