Open Water - Close Encounters of the Creepy Kind

Jul 21, 2006
Open Water - Close Encounters of the Creepy Kind

When you swim in open water, you have to be ready for just about anything. In the ocean it might be blobs of translucent jellyfish or paper-thin sheets of bright green seaweed. In a lake, it might be a floating fish or something even bigger (my husband once swam right into a dead beaver, how's that for keeping your head down). One of the most common impediments these days is Eurasian milfoil, an invasive weed that is choking many lakes in the USA.

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Why Do It:

Swimming through milfoil or other weeds can be pretty yukky. The stuff gets entwined in your fingers. It hangs onto your shoulders and the corners of your goggles. And it often gets draped around your neck. It can wreak havoc with your stroke and your focus. It's not so bad when you're just swimming for pleasure, but in a race you have to keep going.

This drill "Close Encounters" can help you prepare for swimming through weeds, while you're still in your nice, clean, clear swimming pool.

How To Do It:

1. Fill the lane(s) with pool stuff that floats. Kickboards are good. So are pullbuoys, noodles, water belts, flipflops, etc. In the video clip, we've used a lot of Zura Alpha fins, which are good because they float.

2. Swim several 25s freestyle, swimming through the floating debris. Don't avoid it, swim right through it.

3. Stay relaxed and focused, and keep your strokes nice and long. Make sure to exhale to help you relax.

How To Do It Really Well (the Fine Points):
If you want to kick it up a notch, swim two abreast in your lane.

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