FROM POOL TO POND
ANOTHER SEASON OF open water swimming is fast approaching and it won’t be long before it’s time to dig out the wetsuit. But, before you put a toe into any open water, there are a number of things you can do in the pool to make the transition a smooth and satisfying one. While most of the preparation for open water swimming should happen a month or two before the start of the outdoor season, sighting is something you can, and should, practice yearround. I regularly dedicate several hundred metres of warm-up time to sighting, having people practice sighting every fifth to seventh stroke. Sighting needs to be effective and smooth in order to hold a straight line and minimize momentum loss.
1.There are essentially three different ways to sight while swimming: The first is simply to look up and then back down without taking a breath. Many beginners start with this method. The second is to sight and breathe. Look up and then, as you dip your head back down, turn to the left or right and grab a breath. The third method is to breathe and sight. Here you take a breath and then essentially follow your recovering hand to the front, take your bearings, then drop your head.
All three of these methods should be executed within one stroke and you need to be careful not to drop your hips as you’re taking the sighting stroke. Taking one or two stronger kicks as you’re sighting can help keep your hips up high in the water. Try all all three methods until one stands out as the best for you. Make sure it still fits and is holding together. If it is an older suit the rubber might be breaking down. It’s best to find this out in training – not 600 metres from shore.— CL
OPEN WATER PRACTICE TEST OUT YOUR WETSUIT AT LEAST ONCE IN THE POOL BEFORE HITTING THE LAKE OR OCEAN FOR THE FIRST TIME.