I am posting a couple days early as I am going to do my best to turn off the brain (working part anyway) for the next 3 days to enjoy the Memorial Day Weekend. With warmer weather approaching and many outdoor pools around the country opening up for the first time this year, I thought it might be helpful to review a few basics of the pool and open water. First reminder put on sunscreen so you can better enjoy that first dip in the pool, or if your lucky enough a lake or ocean swim during the holiday weekend.
Ok, pool first.....
- Before entering the pool, check to see if anyone else is in the lane. If so, make sure you communicate with your lanemate on whether you are going to split the lane (swim side by side) or circle swim (counter clockwise). If more than 2 people then you will need to circle swim.
- Enter feet first in a cautious manner. Make sure none of your lanemates are going to be in harms way as you enter the water.
- Now if this is a masters swim practice, chances are you will be grouped with people of similar speed, so you will just need to figure out your swimming order.
- If you are swimming with people you do not know, then use your warm up laps to help determine your lanemates speed.
- In either situation, you want to avoid swimming right on someones's feet as this can be unsafe when dealing with the turn and help minimize potential collisions coming off the wall.
- If you notice that your lanemates are catching up to you rather quickly, two things you can do, 1. as you approach the wall, just pull to the right corner of the lane and let them pass. Think slow traffic, keep to the right. 2. Switch to a lane that has swimmers more inline with your speed.
- If you choose to wear fins, paddles or both don't run over your lanemates (aka crawl up their butt) or change the lane dynamics due to your increased speed. Good rule of thumb when wearing gear, you need to accommodate to their speed, not them trying to keep up with you.
The open water.....
- Know the conditions and "when in doubt, don't go out"
- Wind, water temp and visibility can change quickly, so pay attention
- Swim with a buddy or group of buddies. If you do choose to swim alone, let someone know that you are doing so.
- Wear a swim cap (bright colors better for visibility) Helps you also stay a bit warmer too.
- Like the pool, enter feet first to play it safe. Submerged objects in the water can be dangerous.
- If wearing a wetsuit, don't forget some bodyglide or vaseline to minimize chaffing and make it easier to get the wetsuit off after the swim.
- If your doing a group workout, to get ready for an open water swim or triathlon, this is a great time to practice swimming on peoples feet to practice drafting. Courtesy tip* Do your best not to smack the crap out of the person's feet you are following.
- If in the ocean, practice some in's and out's so you can get more familiar with the waves and how to safely navigate them when starting and finishing your swim.
- From a navigational stand point, try and pick non-moving land object (group of trees, big rock, house, etc. vs an object floating in the water (buoy or floating boat) as these will have a tendency to shift with wind/current.