Over the past several weeks I have gained confidence swimming in open water. This was a very difficult thing for me at the beginning of the summer. Though I knew that I could swim, and that I can float, and always backstroke if I have to, I tended to panic in the open water. Part of it was fear left over from childhood and part of it just a lack of practice.
It has been great to go out and have support both with kayak support and with a supportive group of friends. This has been a big factor in helping me progress and feel better in the open water. My stroke has also improved this summer with all the work Sam and I have been doing on technique in the pool. My stroke feels much stronger and I am faster than I used to be.
Last week I swam a mile open water for the first time. Today I didn’t make quite a mile but I had another victory. We had one kayak, several fast swimmers and a couple of back of the pack swimmers. At one point I realized that the kayak was quite a ways away from me but I didn’t panic as I might have a few weeks ago. I realized that I was fine, I was going forward and that I was at least half way to the turn point for the mile. I sited and then just kept going. I did eventually get close to the kayak and checked where I was going at the turn since I have only done that portion of the swim once, and looked to see how far ahead of me the rest of the group was already. Some people swim half a mile, some swim a mile. It varies by week and what people feel like or what they are preparing for race wise. I turned for the mile but then turned back part way down since I knew that I was pretty far behind the mile group. I was happy with my time and with my swim. It was a little faster than some of my times but not quite my fastest time to date.
I am looking forward to seeing how I do on the swim at Luray. I am hoping my times are much better than last year but you never know. At this point they should be though. Lake Arrowhead is a small and very calm lake that is lovely to swim in. I certainly won’t be as panicked as I felt last year when I was far from shore.