Friday, November 17, 2006

Swimulation #2

A while back I touted the idea of swimming with closed eyes. The concept was to simulate open water swims, at least the kind experienced in this neck of the woods. At that point, I figured simulating the inability to see in the water was easier than the chop experienced in the lake.

That was because I was a Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday swimmer. Since coach Mike Ricci from D3 Multisports suggested a few more swims, I have been able to experience the joy of also being a Monday, Wednesday, Friday swimmer. Those days, they are quite a bit different.

That's because MWF is when the morning water aerobics class is held. And at this YMCA, there is only one pool, and the water aerobics class feels obligated to take one of the three swim lanes for their class. Apparently, one of the primary goals of a water aerobics session is to generate as much water motion as possible. This is accomplished through various techniques. Running in circles creates minor currents, mostly pushing away from the class (and into the wall). Various forms of jumps and kicks result in chaotic chop that would make the wildest lake proud. Finally, the participants take as much joy in splashing in the water as B-Boy does during his bath.

The end result of all this energy is a lot of odd chop in the pool that makes it challenging to find a good rhythm. Though it won't prepare me for swells, strong currents (minus the wall), and 2500 bodies attempting to swim in the same space, these sessions have helped me deal with open water issues. It is not uncommon to find water where air was expected during a breath. The normal "four strokes, breathe, four strokes" routine often fails, resulting in the need to take a breath two strokes later or on the weak side. And having one lane gone generally leads to 3 or more bodies in one lane.

So, if you're trying to get used to open water swims, find yourself a small pool with a needy water aerobics class. Grab a few friends, start doing laps, and close your eyes to simulate murky water.

What can I say, I'm here to help.


Cliff said...

Iron Pol,

Lesson I learnt from last season's open water swim. I don't swim straight. I find that..when I swim with my eyes closed, I will swim like i swim in open water, not straight.

My best experience in dealing with choppiness was one time i did a open swim with a class. It was white caps like mad and I felt like I was in a washing machine. It felt good :).

Comm's said...

the water aerobics class I competed with last year full of elderly ladies who invariably tread into the swim lane, you know "to have more room" not withstanding that there was only two lanes and they had 75% of the pool standard 25 yard pool for only twenty women.

TriBoomer said...

Sharing a lane with two or more good practice for drafting. Take turns leading and drafting and get used to staying in their bubbles.

Stay tuned...

innocuous said...

nice blog

Lisa said...

I have heard that many times before. :) Water aerobics can be the bane of a swimmers' existence, especially during the battle over water temps. But it makes for good open water training. ;)

Wendy said...

A lane with 8-10 people in it can also help simulate both choppiness and jockeying for position.

Loosening lane ropes can also helpful in the simulation.

Pol, if you can get your goggles to fog up, you may have another open water simulation variant. Or you could go without (provided you don't mind the effects of chlorinated eyes for several hours following your swim).

Comm's, don't they leave a lane line in to segregate the activities?