There were two things I was going to try and do to help improve my swimming and ensure I’m better prepared than I was for my 70.3 FL. One of those was to do more open water practice.
Playtri has a Playtri Club that among other things, does a weekly Saturday open water swim. During these swims, they have coaches that actually coach and teach you the skills needed to successfully open water swim. I wanted to practice with them before my 70.3 but the timing just wasn’t good. They only do the swims starting in late March and through September. When they started, there were only two Saturdays that I could have attended before my 70.3 and for one of these, I was out of town. I foolishly decided not to bother to do the one available practice. I don’t know if it would have changed the outcome, but I would have at least been just a bit more prepared.
I went to my first swim today with them, paying the drop-in fee of $10. I wanted to try them out before joining the club ($99/year) as I wanted to ensure that it was worth it. The lake where the swims are done is almost a one-hour drive so I would have to drive a total of two hours to do a one-hour swim.
The net result is that it was totally worth it! There were two coaches there, one worked with the advanced swimmers and the other worked on skills with the beginners. I obviously joined the beginner group. We practiced sighting and drafting on another swimmer’s hips. I need a lot of work on the drafting as I found I would easily lose the swimmer, but for the sighting, I started off rather rough, but after enough laps and practice, I saw a definite improvement during this one session.
Another benefit is that I got to swim in murky water where you can’t see anything and the only times you can see is when you are breathing. That was one of my issues in FL. I even got tired on the last lap and flipped over on my back to take a breather. This was good practice for an actual race.
While I knew I was not really prepared for the swim at 70.3 FL based on how it ended, this practice opened my eyes even more and I know without a doubt that I was not prepared.
I will be joining the club and while I will not be able to swim with them every Saturday, I figure I should get at least 2 swims a month and possibly 3. That will be a lot of practice between now and September when the stop the sessions.