Difference between Pool Swimming and Open Swimming

Pictograms of Olympic sports - Triathlon. This...
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I have been practicing Total Immersion Swimming for a few months now, and I have become faster and longer lasting. I have only been practicing in a swimming pool. Last friday I saw an article about the RBAF Triathlon this 31st July 2011, and they had a group category, If it was only individuals then I wouldn’t go, I don’t have enough training or equipment for 10km run and 40km cycle. So I signed up with the intention to just do the open swimming. I subsequently have found my team members.

Having been practicing total immersion based on time per lap and total time, I had no true idea how far I could actually swim, so yesterday, I actually counted my laps. I found I could do 30 laps easily. (1 lap is 2 lengths both ways), so I could actually swim 3km! This morning, there was an open swim trial run at the watermanship centre at pantai serasa. and I rediscovered (I did one in 2005, but i was then too tired/weak to realize most of this) the difference between swimming in a pool and swimming in the open. Here are the things I found out.

  • The water is salty! – it stings the eyes, mouth and nose! The discomfort slightly distracted me. Reminder to have some mouth wash in the bag.
  • The water was muddy! The place is more like an estuary rather than the ocean. this has its pros and cons, I don’t see anything strange, but I don’t see where i’m going either.or whether i’m swimming straight. it also made the next issue worse.
  • There are no underwater lines! – there are only buoys that are the turning points. I think there should have been floating lines on the right, just so I could track my location. In this case there wasn’t. I thought I could just use 1 swimmer on my right, even then that was difficult to see. Initially I stopped after 40 strokes (yes I count them, what else am I do underwater? sing?) and found that I was often off course, and had to stop for a while to locate the buoy. The waves only made it worse, it kept pushing me in either direction. I finally found 10 to 20 strokes were best times to look up and see where i’m headed. So unlike pool swimming, I often had to do correction above water.
  • initially there will be crowd, and facekicked or facekicking is a possibility – this one i didn’t experience, but the experienced triathlete share it with me. I guess i’ll be experiencing this on sunday. His tip was swim faster initially to avoid the traffic.. I think I’ll just swim at the outer edge.

So the lessons I learned about open swimming is basically, withstand the pain/discomfort and move on, (also bring mouth wash), Focus on the turning points/buoys, unfortunately constantly focusing on the goal itself is not efficient if you swim while looking at them, it is more efficient to do what you need to do (swim) , and frequently/occassionaly check whether you are on the right course, and do corrections if necessary.

Last but not least, I’d like to share that I was the first one to finish out of 5 people at 31 minutes. 2 were military, 1 is an MOE officer who is an avid triathlete. 1 person knew of the total immersion technique, but has yet to master it, he was 3rd place. Some thought that I either had strong legs or hands, but I’d like to emphasize that the total immersion technique is practically effortless for me, and I believe that a person who has mastered the technique would find that out as well. Finally, I would like to add that I may have beaten 4 guys in swimming, I’d like to acknowledge that they would definitely kick my ass in cycling and swimming. I’ll be working on that after raya. I heard there will be a national triathlon held at the end of this year.

For more information on the RBAF triathlon go to http://www.mindef.gov.

For more information on total immersion search for it on youtube or this linkes

Now where is that mouth wash…


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