Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Braving the open water...again

Yesterday was the second Monday this season that the Elite Triangle Triathlon Team has scheduled an open water swim practice. It was also my second open water swim practice of my entire triathlon career, and perhaps one of the better workouts I've had in the past month. Since my swim last week in Jordan Lake was a bit abbreviated (I arrived late and missed going out in the water with the majority of people), I made sure to get in a solid swim at the pool on Sunday.

Stacey, Nasrin, Monett, Danny, Duncan, Paul, Alysia and 4 team friends also showed up for the open water swim, making a total of 12 of us. The guys fishing down by the water were amused as we wiggled our way into our wetsuits and took off across the lake. The slow kids started first so I was sure to get out at the front of the pack with a nice headstart. The first swim was about 600m across the lake to a tree that was slightly bent (there were many trees making sighting a real b$*@h). I kept an eye out for brightly colored swim caps and splashing. That was how I sighted my way across the lake.

We treaded water there until everyone had caught up (namely, until I reached the point where everyone else was already waiting) and then picked another point along the shore to swim too. This time my distance calculation was way off and with the way the sun reflected off the water I could barely see the swimmers in front of me. I was giving it everything I had and the other swimmers were still steadily getting further away. I tried long, powerful strokes and quick, speedy strokes, neither of which seemed to get me any closer to the rest of the group. I kept picked different trees along the shore to sight; all of which must've been the wrong one since we just kept swimming and swimming. Finally, when I was nearly out of breath, I caught up to the others who were treading water in the middle of the lake. They were ready to start the next part of the swim out to the bridge. I was not.

My arms were still sore from the day before and I was breathing hard. Swimming is my weakest of the 3 legs, but thankfully it is also the shortest leg of the triathlon and so I make out okay. Also, thankfully, another girl wanted to swim back to shore and so we rested another minute and then took off in the opposite direction from the bridge, back towards the little beach, the fishermen, and our stuff. Nasrin was way ahead on the 1000m swim back to shore, but I kept her green swim cap in view and I felt pretty safe the whole time. I normally panic in open water, wondering what else is in there with me, but the more exposure I get, the more comfortable I seem to get as well.

Maybe I'll even go again next week.

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