Just as bad as I expected

You know how sometimes you are absolutely dreading something, but then when you finally do it, it isn't that bad? That's not what happened when I did my first ocean swim of the year yesterday. It was just as terrible as I thought it would be.

Tri for a Cure is now just 2 weeks away so I knew I needed to stop making excuses and get myself in the ocean. I headed down to Spring Point Light so I could practice on the actual course, slithered into my wetsuit, popped on my goggles, and headed into the water.

2 weeks from today this will be me
I gasped when my toes first hit the water. It was SO cold. I refused to let myself turn around though and kept heading into the water. I took a deep breath and then dropped myself into the water. I did the breast stroke for a minute or so to let my body get used to the water. Then came the part I was most dreading- I had to put my face in the water.

The cold took my breath away. I came up panicked and gasping. And so it went. Put face in water, gasp from the cold, panic, come up gulping in air. I couldn't find a rhythm.

I lived through the swim last year
My usual strategy in the cold water is to come up for air every 2 strokes, instead of the 4 I do in the pool. This means my face isn't in the cold water for as long and I get more chances to breathe. Except yesterday that wasn't working. The tide was going out so there was the tidal surge creating chop on one side. Then, it there was also quite a wind coming in from the sea, which created chop on the other side. Meaning that every time I lifted my face to breathe I got whacked in the face with a wave of water.

If it was that awful yesterday, I can't even imagine how bad it is going to be when I in a giant pack of people.

I know that I will get through the swim somehow, I've managed to do it the past 2 years. But, I feel like I am really good shape this year, and I really want to race. I'm going to be really disappointed in myself if I can't freestyle the whole swim. Plus, I feel like open water swimming should be getting better with time, not worse!

Help! Any ocean swimmers have any tips for me?


  1. I am not an ocean swimmer, so no tips... but am wondering if your water is a lot colder this year due to the polar vortex? Lake Michigan was about 25 degrees cooler than it usually is, a few weeks ago!


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