Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Swimming in Triathlon

There has been a lot of hub bub in the triathlon community the last couple weeks with the change to some WTC events being no longer a mass swim start. They are hoping this will help reduce the amount of deaths during the swim in triathlon. This article was in USA Today about the issues: Swimming Deaths Trouble Triathlon Officials

I know I am the not typical triathlete. The swim is my part of the 3! I LOVE the swim! It actually completely calms me on race day. I get in the water with typical race day nerves but I get to do what I am good at first. I luckily don't deal with the anxiety of open water swimming. I know how to deal with someone swimming over me or on top of me or drafting off me. Like I said I know this is out of the ordinary in the sport of triathlon.

When I do swim only races I am not the fastest swimmer by any means. I have been lucky enough to win some swim races but I was a sprinter in my day. I have had to learn about swimming in open water and how to swim longer distance. I can easily show anyone who would like to see the difference in a 50 freestyle stroke and 500 freestyle stroke.  I mean I get it this isn't most triathletes.

But please people- if you are going to do a triathlon race and you have swim anxiety do yourself some favors. Take some swim lessons, get in open water before race day, put yourself in the right place with the wave you start with (or mass swim start), do some visualization, get some coaching on dealing with the anxiety. You are not doing yourself any favors MUSCLING through your swim anxious and stiff as a board. Swimming is better when you are RELAXED. If you are nervous about getting trampled- put yourself on the outside in the back- or wait 30 seconds let the masses go. Really what does that matter to your overall time.

I have to agree with the thought D had about the new Ironman rules on swim start. Make people prove they can do it. I can't sign up for some swim races without proof I can swim a distance in a certain amount of time. Well WTC- how about you do something similar? Instead of everyone having a lifeguard sign off for them. How about you require everyone do participate in 2 WTC 70.3 distance events within 2 years of doing an Ironman? Sounds like a huge win for you- you get their money for participating in 70.3s and you decrease your odds a bit. Now I get it just because you have done events doesn't mean you won't have anxiety and just because you are healthy doesn't mean you won't have a RANDOM heart attack in the middle of the swim. WTC has done something right- offering people more places where they can stop and take a break. It seems many people haven't mastered the idea of flip onto your back and float for a bit so offering areas where people can take a rest while swimming I think will help some.

And just in case anyone is wondering- if I do for some freak reason happen to die in a triathon- know this now- I died doing something I am passionate about and I LOVE!

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