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beginnergirl

Open Water Swimming

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Ocean swimming and I don’t have a great track record. It usually ends with me having a panic attack/hyperventilating and having to be rescued by the lifeguard or having to tread water for 5 + minutes until I can lower my heart rate.

Given the amount of swimming I’ve been doing in the pool and the distances I’ve been doing, I thought I’d enter the Aus Day Ocean Swim today.. 1.25km ... where the water is usually like glass and crystal clear.

Was nearly a non starter when I got there and saw the white caps and chop on the water. Within the first 50m I had to stop and tread water.. I thought I was going to have to pull out. I waited til everyone had gone past and tried to find some space and get into some sort of rhythm. My swim fitness was fine.. I just seem to get bad anxiety. 

 I finished but it was awful. I have no issues in the pool or the river. I put it down to not being able to see the bottom.

Does anyone else have this issue? 

I will persevere.. there’s 4 more swims left in the series. 

 

 

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1 hour ago, beginnergirl said:

I have no issues in the pool or the river. I put it down to not being able to see the bottom

You can see the bottom in your river?  

 

Have you tried something like focussing on something close to you, like the bubbles from your hand entry?  Rather than looking down into the deep?    Works for me.   If you do it in the pool, you'll do it naturally in open water

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I know you go to the beach a bit, but do you get in or just sun bake?

Jump in the flags and play around a bit, have fun, don't "swim".

Its a safe environment and should help create positive associations with the beach, even if there is a bit of chop.

Then see if you can get along to some informal beach swim groups and go from there.

Do it in a relaxed, no pressure environment, which will hopefully take the fear out of it when you go out for an organised event.

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Oh, you're in WA, that explains a lot!  Everyone knows statistically what happens more in WA than elsewhere.

If you're up north though, say around Scarborough you're a lot safer but down Rockingham way... hmmm...

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I consider myself to be a pretty decent swimmer and I have had 3 occassions where I have hyperventilated at the start of a race. A combination of the sprint start (that I hate!) and the cold water against my face/chest. I had to breast stroke for a while

Come to think of it, it happened to me on that back half of a 100m fly race when I was a kid. Could not get any air in as my throat seized up

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14 minutes ago, Tyno said:

I know you go to the beach a bit, but do you get in or just sun bake?

Jump in the flags and play around a bit, have fun, don't "swim".

Its a safe environment and should help create positive associations with the beach, even if there is a bit of chop.

Then see if you can get along to some informal beach swim groups and go from there.

Do it in a relaxed, no pressure environment, which will hopefully take the fear out of it when you go out for an organised event.

.. I swim .. but usually only go out as far as I can stand up. 

Todays swim was an ocean start. I couldnt touch the bottom between the start bouys and was getting smashed with the waves even before the siren even went. 

Previously I thought I was because I’d worn a wetsuit.. but that theory was out the window today. 

Im also fine surfing. Is started surf lessons  to sort out my anxiety.. and have no issues. But normally I am i water where I can still stand up or am on the board. 

 

Edited by beginnergirl

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10 minutes ago, BC_J400 said:

Oh, you're in WA, that explains a lot!  Everyone knows statistically what happens more in WA than elsewhere.

If you're up north though, say around Scarborough you're a lot safer but down Rockingham way... hmmm...

Yep I live in Scarborough. I can hear the shark alarm from my lounge room 😊

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1 hour ago, beginnergirl said:

Ocean swimming and I don’t have a great track record. It usually ends with me having a panic attack/hyperventilating and having to be rescued by the lifeguard or having to tread water for 5 + minutes until I can lower my heart rate.

Given the amount of swimming I’ve been doing in the pool and the distances I’ve been doing, I thought I’d enter the Aus Day Ocean Swim today.. 1.25km ... where the water is usually like glass and crystal clear.

Was nearly a non starter when I got there and saw the white caps and chop on the water. Within the first 50m I had to stop and tread water.. I thought I was going to have to pull out. I waited til everyone had gone past and tried to find some space and get into some sort of rhythm. My swim fitness was fine.. I just seem to get bad anxiety. 

 I finished but it was awful. I have no issues in the pool or the river. I put it down to not being able to see the bottom.

Does anyone else have this issue? 

I will persevere.. there’s 4 more swims left in the series. 

 

 

Hey there. I did the 2.5km at Sorrento too, I swim OK and that was tough, especially heading out to sea. Didn't look too bad from the beach, much worse out there! And that outer marker buoy was close to 1km out to sea I reckon.

Swimming in big chop/swell is completely different to swimming in a calm ocean or pool, you'll go to breathe and get smashed in the face, so swallow water, you might end up breathing every 6 sometimes because of the waves and anxiety can quickly set in when you're deprived of oxygen, doesn't matter how strong a swimmer you are. And really races like today OWS experience really comes into it, doesn't matter how good a pool swimmer you are, if you haven't swam in heavy seas, you're going to struggle, at least initially. Persevere with the OWS series, but pick and choose your races depending in location and weather. Plus always come armed with your wetsuit, so if conditions aren't great you can swim with that. But don't become a slave to it!

The more OWS you do, the better you'll become at that, there are a number of things you can do such as timing your stroke and breathing in time with the swell so you don't cop a face full of water. Racing in shit conditions is great for your confidence and experience as well as anxiety. It might be an idea to come down for a swim in the sharknet when it's choppy. Most people opt to only swim when it's flat, which is fine as long as you don't get conditions like you do today! There are a few OWS squads too, a new one starts on wed am with Stuart Denton, PM if you're keen I'll pass on your details.

You might not feel it, but you gained a lot of swimming that race today. You will continue to feel anxious, that's normal, no-one likes sharks, but that will dissipate over time, the more you race. Check the forecast mid-week on seabreeze, I could tell conditions were crap on tuesday, you'll be better prepared and have time to register for a shorter race if you need to.

A lot of DNFs today.

 

 

Edited by zed
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46 minutes ago, beginnergirl said:

.. I swim .. but usually only go out as far as I can stand up. 

Todays swim was an ocean start. I couldnt touch the bottom between the start bouys and was getting smashed with the waves even before the siren even went. 

Previously I thought I was because I’d worn a wetsuit.. but that theory was out the window today. 

Im also fine surfing. Is started surf lessons  to sort out my anxiety.. and have no issues. But normally I am i water where I can still stand up or am on the board. 

 

Surfing lessons are so much fun, great way to get used to being in the ocean. You say you cant see the bottom or stand up? Im curious to know why that bothers you? 

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BG, are you warming up properly ? I know you said you're fine in other swimming environments but having anxiety over the OWS element and not warming up can make that constricted feeling even worse.

Edited by FatPom

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There really is nothing to fear if you are a good swimmer and you are sensible about what you do. Remember that. Then get out there with a few friends and gradually work into it. Swim easy, breastroke if need be, and just plod along with a couple mates right by your side. Then get the head under, but keep them visible in front and to the sides when you breath. Take it slowly and don't let the anxiety build. If it does, just remember that you are only just outside your normal zone, so head back closer to shore where you are more comfortable. 

Having friends you are comfortable swimming with will help.

 

First time I swam in the dark I was freaked. Now I love getting out to the dam in the early morning to get a couple km in before sunrise.

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Reckon open water swim anxiety is pretty common. I used to have it. Took a couple of years, actually probably longer, to get over most of it - not completely gone though. Just did what you are doing, open water swims, triathlons, all zen beforehand, positive thinking, I can do it, just like the 10/100/1000 people around me. Someone here suggested visualising yourself as a cork, if you've got a wetsuit on, you'll just float on top, and go up and down with the waves. Worked up to some 5km OWS swims. Still don't enjoy swimming that much, and not  running or cycling, but it does provide respite from them.  I reckon I'd still get the heebeegeebees if I went to swim across really deep water, like Geehi Dam in the Snowy Mountains.

I remember reading that a pro triathlete up at Falls Creek half ironman (now years ago :)) saying that for  the first time he got swim anxiety in that cold lake swim. 

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when I first moved to Oz, there were a couple of night surfing contests still going on. I've been surfing at night a few times and found it easier to see when there's less artificial light around.

Seaweed brushing your leg can seriously freak you out though.:o

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7 hours ago, beginnergirl said:

Ocean swimming and I don’t have a great track record. It usually ends with me having a panic attack/hyperventilating and having to be rescued by the lifeguard or having to tread water for 5 + minutes until I can lower my heart rate.

Given the amount of swimming I’ve been doing in the pool and the distances I’ve been doing, I thought I’d enter the Aus Day Ocean Swim today.. 1.25km ... where the water is usually like glass and crystal clear.

Was nearly a non starter when I got there and saw the white caps and chop on the water. Within the first 50m I had to stop and tread water.. I thought I was going to have to pull out. I waited til everyone had gone past and tried to find some space and get into some sort of rhythm. My swim fitness was fine.. I just seem to get bad anxiety. 

 I finished but it was awful. I have no issues in the pool or the river. I put it down to not being able to see the bottom.

Does anyone else have this issue? 

I will persevere.. there’s 4 more swims left in the series. 

 

 

I used to. I'm not a good swimmer. Just put yourself in the water and work through the issues in your head. That's what I have done. 

 

Was that at Sorrento? 

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Beginner girl. You firstly need to learn to body surf. And that will eventually entail catching waves from a depth where you can’t stand. 

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Yes, what Cranky and Ironman Foz said - and also practice duck diving under waves and swimming through, as getting out past the breaks is often a challenge in big surf.

Maybe also change the mental focus during the swim - instead of worrying about the waves or what’s lurking beneath, try to concentrate on the buoys and make that the focus. I still remember that from Nippers as a kid. 

Edited by wombattri

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Thanks everyone! Ive been working away for the best part of a year.. so find it hard to get any open water swim in during the week.. easier to find a pool. Will persevere tho... prob need to turn up earlier and have a bit of a warm up beforehand. 

I was swimming with a group in the river.. amongst the jelly fish and bull sharks.. had absolutely no issues.. so I am convinced it’s just and ocean things and a lack of comfort being out there. 

What doesn’t kill you.... 😊

Edited by beginnergirl
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1 minute ago, beginnergirl said:

Thanks everyone! Ive been working away for the best part of a year and only flying home on weekends  so find it hard to get any open water swim in during the week.. easier to find a pool. Will persevere tho... prob need to turn up earlier and have a bit of a warm up beforehand. 

I was swimming with a group in the river.. amongst the jelly fish and bull sharks.. had absolutely no issues.. so I am convinced it’s just and ocean thing and a lack of comfort being out there. 

What doesn’t kill you.... 😊

 

Edited by beginnergirl

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I panicked once when I got blutbottled for the first time but I can understand how easy it is to end up like that...

As Cranky said where is home? I'm sure there's a lot of us that would happily get together for a hit out and it's much less scary if you know somebody can call Westpac.

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BG, can you bilateral breathe when swimming? It can come in very useful when its choppy so that you can turn your head away from the incoming chop.

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Being in WA, she needs to get Stikman out, who can stand up in much deeper water. :)

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Yeah. Like Zed said, mid week this week is going to be great for ows. 

 

Easterly winds = flat conditions till midday at least. Especially Wed - Thur. 👍👍

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16 minutes ago, FFF1077 said:

Yeah. Like Zed said, mid week this week is going to be great for ows. 

 

Easterly winds = flat conditions till midday at least. Especially Wed - Thur. 👍👍

You got any races coming up mate? 

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7 hours ago, beginnergirl said:

Thanks everyone! Ive been working away for the best part of a year.. so find it hard to get any open water swim in during the week.. easier to find a pool. 

You don't need to go too often,  but I suppose at the beginning, the more often, the better. I go to one that runs every second Sunday but sometimes I have something on (and then there's the cold water in winter, which I'm not friends with) so I probably only go 6 times a year. It was great at first. Made a BIG difference. Now I just go to keep me used to it. 

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