Swimming has been a part of my life since the days of eating erasers and teasing girls in elementary school, with the exception of my time in college, during which I was too busy experimenting with the party scene to make my way to a pool for some exercise. Unlike most lifelong swimmers, I never really developed a specialty stroke or event, instead going with what feels best at the time. I've been a backstroker, breastroker and butterflier at various junctures, but I never managed to get a feel for freestyle? until recently.The team with which I currently swim practices in an Olympic-sized pool, so I have gotten the opportunity to workout on a 50-meter course for the majority of the year.
The extended laps, coupled with the fact that I have more muscle on my frame than any other point of my life, has helped shape my body for long-distance freestyle. Mind you, I don't want to be a distance freestyler because it involves more time spent in practice honing endurance skills and swimming the grueling longer events at competitions. I can deny it all I want, but my performance in the open water events (swimming in lakes and oceans) has forced me into accepting this as a new reality.I love competing in the open water; it's just that the distance events in the pool are tediously boring, firing off lap after lap (I get enough of that in practice). There is nothing finer than swimming in a cool lake on a hot summer day, and the lack of visual repetition (not the same walls to turn on or the constant black line at the bottom) is a refreshing treat. So far this summer I have competed in ten individual open water swims and I placed within the Top 3 in my age group in all of them.
I was also a part of a six-man relay, which swam a 12-mile race across the breathtaking Lake Tahoe on the California-Nevada border. I can't argue with these successful results and I will forge ahead with more events outside of the pool in an effort to keep improving.Those of you who like to swim, but are growing weary of the mundane aspect of lap swimming, I highly recommend looking into entering an open water event. Trying a new environment can reignite your swimming desires, and making the plunge with beautiful landscape all around you is a powerful feeling.
But before you head out to the nearest swimming hole without lane lines, try out these practice tips in the pool:.· Out in the open water there are no convenient black lines on the bottom to direct you. Experiment with swimming with your eyes closed for short distances to get s sense of how straight you can or can't swim without directional help. You might be surprised just how vital the black line is at keeping you on track.
· Sighting is the art of looking up to see where you are going. In open water swims, there are floating markers which map out the course and give you something to focus upon in your efforts to swim straight. In the pool, find a focal point in the distance and practice lifting your head and looking forward every few strokes. You will eventually get into a comfortable rhythm of doing this, and it will prevent you from straying too far off course and landing in trouble (like I did when I found myself in a coral reef during an open water swim in Hawaii).· Try swimming without touching the walls or the bottom. Instead of doing a flip-turn or touching the wall and pushing off, make a U-turn before the wall and continue swimming.
This is a good drill to see how far you can go without interrupting your stroke or taking a quick breather. There are no walls or lane lines to grab onto out in the open water, so it would be wise to get a good feel of continuous swimming.The open water may sound a bit daunting at first, but with a little practice and a healthy dose of confidence you just might be pleasantly surprise how thrilling it can be. Start off with a short-distance race and gradually build up to the longer stuff once you feel ready to tackle a bigger challenge. And, most of all, remember to have fun!..
SwapThing.com is a site focused on building a strong swap community online. This article comes with reprint rights. You are free to reprint and distribute it, as you like.
All that we ask is that you do not make any changes, that this resource text is included, and that the link above is intact.
By: Brian Kohlmeier