Blog Archives

Difference between Pool Swimming and Open Swimming

Pictograms of Olympic sports - Triathlon. This...

Image via Wikipedia

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

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

Now where is that mouth wash…