I still remember my first open water swim which I did during PD triathlon last year. It was so nerve wrecking and scary that I almost raised my hand and yelled and
cried like a baby called for a rescue. There was a very thin line between me continuing the swim and make it back to the shore to the transition area, or just simply gave it up. But I’m glad I made the right (but painful) decision at that time. Mind you, open water swim is a no play-play.
Let’s rewind among the reasons why I almost quitted the 1.5km swim at Marina Bay, PD last year.
- It was my first attempt to swim in open water.
- It was so deep, the water was murky and there was no line at the bottom of it (as in swimming pool).
- Coz’ I know there are lots of
hungry creatures inside the water.
- Too many people swimming very nearby and I kept on touching and bumping into other triathletes (and vice versa).
- I did not train enough with my front crawl (free style as some would call it). Never did I swim 1.5km or more than 10minutes non-stop.
- Last but not least, I did not know how to sight while swimming.
You see? There were at least 6 main reasons for me to quit. And although I thought I have done enough front crawl training, I had to switch to my berenang-asal-tak-tenggelam style as soon as 3 minutes upon entering the water.
Out of these 6 reasons, the initial 4 are external factors and 2 are internal factors. And I know I cannot do much about the external factors which I have no control. So, what are left are the internal factors. I just need to train, train and train.
Fortunately it did not rain that much yesterday evening and I took that opportunity to spend more time in the pool. Not that I have any specific training target, but I know I need to train more.
I did my normal stuff. In addition to that, I suddenly came across the taught of doing sighting. Sighting is the act of taking out your head (or vision) out of the water for the purpose of navigation while swimming. Not easy I tell you.
First, I tried doing sighting with every 4 strokes. I did the counting in my head. 1… 2… 3… 4… and raised my head forward to look what’s in front. I repeated that for, ermm, I forgot how many laps. Not long enough, I started to lost my breath.
Next, I tried doing sighting with every 3 strokes. Tangan dah penat, paru-paru pun dah penat.
1… 2… 3… sight.
1… 2… 3… sight.
After 100m doing so, I stopped and took a short break by the pool wall.
Not fully satisfied, I took another step further. This time, doing the sighting with both eyes closed while inside the water. I repeat, BOTH EYES CLOSED! Which means, I only opened my eyes when sighting, trying to simulate open water situation where at times the water could be very murky that you cannot see anything underneath.
Kali ni lagi biol bin sewel. First time sighting, my bearing went 030 degree. The next time I sighted, my bearing shifted to 340 degree. I never could swim straight. Gosh. Ini baru berenang sorang-sorang, belum lagi berenang secara berjemaah.
But, no matter how it is, I will continue this training. I know when we put more training, we’ll get more used to it and with experienced friends around they can also help by adding more and more advice.
Doing triathlon, there’s no short cut for success.