My swim ability is the turd in the punchbowl of my otherwise respectable triathlon skill set. I have long confused an ability to survive in the water with an ability to actually swim. This past year I have learned swimming is a skill and athletic ability that does not come easy. Laps in a pool are hard; swimming in open water is more challenging.
Last week Saturday I joined some friends for a day on Okauchee lake. Everyone pitched in to rent a pontoon boat and I brought along my kayak and swim gear for some open water swim practice. The day was very enjoyable and I was thoroughly exhausted and sun burnt by the time it was all over.
It was a hot day and I was surprised to dive in the water and be greeted by balmy 80 – 90 ˚F temps – hardly refreshing. Lap swimming at my local gym did not fully prepare me for open water. The open water was unnerving as there was no bottom in sight, occasional chop, and I kept ending up off course. None of this is unexpected but I was happier to experience it on this day rather than race day. It took a while before I was comfortable and able to maintain a rhythm.
I am proceeding with cautious optimism that I will be able to get my swim fitness to the level needed to confidently complete the 500 yard swim leg of the 10 Sep 2011 sprint triathlon I would like to do. I am a big fan of personal responsibility and if I cannot swim further than this distance continuously prior to the event I won’t put myself and others at risk by entering.