Last night I went down to an open water swim session run by U Swim, at Manchester Salford Quays, it was a really well run session and> was a great first experience at open water swimming. Luckily it is right where my swim will take place so was great to get in there and> try it out, now I wouldn’t say I loved it but I also wouldn’t say I hated it, so for a first venture in the great outdoors, successful.
First thing to do, get into my wetsuit, now this in itself is a workout, pulling and> tugging to get it up and> on. Once I was finally in the suit it was time to take my first step into the water!!! It was a reasonable 16 degrees, and> with my wetsuit on the temperature was not an issue, however panic set in as I started to swim and> all my fears came to the forefront of my mind. Would I be able to swim? Would/could I drown? Would I be able to put all my new technique skills in to practice and> what scary river creatures were lurking under the water! These were all overshadowed however by my biggest fear – swallowing the water!!! This fear of swallowing water caused me to panic when swimming and> I couldn’t get into a rhythm with my technique and>/or breathing and> I think actually caused me to swallow more but although I did swallow/ingest a fair amount, I am still alive and> kicking for hopefully next time round this will go some way to allaying this fear! One tip I heard is to focus on counting your strokes rather than on anything else, your natural rhythm takes over, so this is something to try next time!
I didn’t really manage much swimming, 400 metres breast stroke and> 400 metres attempting to do bits of front crawl and> breast stroke, after the first 400 metre lap I didn’t want to get back in but took the support of my other (better) half to persuade me to get back in and> try again, and> second time round things didn’t seem quite so bad! I did struggle with front crawl as when I tried to do my breathing properly I was unable to see where I was going and> due to panicking my breathing was stunted and> after a few strokes I had to stop, either due to panic or swallowing water. I did overcome this in the pool so hopefully will get over when in open water, practice makes perfect.
All in all as mentioned a successful first attempt at open water swimming, and> I feel proud of myself that I am over the first hurdle and> in water, things can only get better!!