4 Keys for Open Water Swimming this Spring
Open Water Swimming & Spring Triathlon Season is here!
The first local triathlons are coming up soon and our local club membership kickoff is right around the corner. This summer two local to the Pittsburgh and Eastern Ohio area lakes will have organized open water swimming for triathletes including safety boats as well as buoy marked courses set up. It’s my favorite time of the year!
I’ve invited Dinah Mistilis of Discovery Aquatics in Moorsville, NC, my fellow Fresh Freestyle author who also received the distinction of Master Coach during her time with Total Immersion, to share some of her insights with you and I. Dinah has distinct advantage as a triathlon & open water swim coach of living right on a lake with an endless pool in her ground floor.
Are you getting the picture? Take a day trip to Moorsville, spend a Saturday doing a 90 minute endless pool session, have a snack then go straight out on the lake to put your open water skills into practice. What an ideal setup for triathletes! Dinah your swimmers are lucky to have you there.
Here is Coach Dinah’s post…and if you read to the end you’ll also find information for our local open water swim events you can put on your training calendar.
It’s heating up!
This time of year is wonderful! The air is getting to be that perfect day time temperature and the lake water is not far behind. Open water racing is underway and the first local triathlons have been completed. Last week also saw Discovery Aquatics athletes swimming at the USMS National Masters competition in Greensboro NC. So much swimming to be done!
If you have taken a break from swimming that is okay too.Most of us will take a break from swimming at some point. It may be a few weeks, months or longer between swims. Making the decision to head back to the water is the first step. Now, what to do when you get there?
Take these ideas with you to make the first swim back enjoyable, purposeful and successful so that you will want to do it again. and again. and again!
1. Relax Into It – choose a warm up distance and pace that is a comfortable for you. The goal here is to find relaxed exhalation and inhalation, and to keep the body tension free. Use this time to make a connection with your environment by stimulating your senses – what do you see, hear and feel?
It may be 4×25 repeated 3 times, or 6×50, or 3-5 x 100, or a 300, or a 500. Make it your practice from the start by feeling what your body can do comfortably.
2. Find a Focus – training yourself to think about swim technique in all of your practices is important. Start in this practice by repeating your warm up distance, this time with one swim focus in mind.
You may recall the focus from previous coaching, or from watching a swim video, or self assessing your stroke, or by watching graceful swimmers at the pool. Make it your practice by feeling the focal point and holding the thought and form for this set.
3. Add Some Speed – just enough to wake up your neuromuscular and cardiovascular systems. Choose some short distance repeats, a series of 25s or 50s and pick up the pace. Keep the focus from the second set and allow yourself recovery time between each repeat.
4. Warm Down and Reflect – round out your first swim back with an easy relaxed warm down. Use this time to congratulate yourself and to reflect on the swim. What went really well today? What can you improve? and….When will you be back for the next swim?
Thanks coach Dinah! We always love your insight.
2016 Summer Open Water Swimming Opportunities in SW PA
Here is information for the local open water swims in our area of southwestern PA and southeastern Ohio. Be sure to put these on your calendar and note what the requirements & costs are.
The first opportunity is at Keystone State Park with a series of four monthly swims by No Boundaries Fitness. Each swim day has two start times, 10AM & 11AM. Show up for the first, or the second or for both. Safety kayaks will be present.
The second opportunity is weekly Monday night swims at Lake Arthur in Moraine State Park. These are set up by Joella Baker of Get Fit Families. In addition to the ‘open house’ swim setup, she has several open water races on her calendar as well. Joella’s swims have become something I look forward to every summer. Whether you swim 200 yards or 2 miles, it’s so gorgeous to swim in the setting sun on the lake with the safety of a marked course and plenty of kayaks. Usually after I swim I’ll hop in a boat to do some coaching as well.
This summer I’ll be doing some mini open water clinics in conjunction with her swims as well. If you’d like to be notified of those events, please take a moment to fill out this contact form.
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