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Open Water Swim: 650m

My first (well, technically, it’s my second, since my big sis Minel brought me on my first open water swim @ La Jolla Cove last year, but a first for wearing my wetsuit) open water/ocean swim clinic and it was awesome!

Our instructor was Dave Mueller (I know him from my Club Run LA days, and he and his (now) wife Ellen were team leaders!) gave us (other people in the class) some brief instructions before getting into the ocean, at Bayshore/Alamitos Bay. Whilst he spoke, my other big sis Annelle and I were zipping ourselves up into our wetsuits. We bought them last year when Minel competed in her first Olympic triathlon in Malibu. They were a steal at $149.99 for full suits (Xterra Vortex 3, model). Long story short, whilst pulling up the rest of the material, I already snagged my wetsuit and it has a small surface-tear on it. *cry* I went to the Xterra website and they recommend using wetsuit glue, so I’ll be looking for that online. The wetsuits fit great, too (for me anyway) but one other thing I noticed is that my neck kinda chaffed. I’m going to have to put some body glide to remedy that the next time we go.

Anyway, back to the swim — getting into the water was a shock cos it was rather cold!! I was also kinda cringing when I stepped on some slimy ocean algae *shudders* Maybe at my next Bayshore swim, I’m going to wear my Vibram Five Fingers. Once I was in the water, though, it was pretty neat. I wasn’t doing doggy paddles to prop myself up, either — the wetsuit itself kept me buoyant! Soooo cool. In fact, sometime that morning, I was just playing around in the water, “standing up” in the water, in the middle. Hehe, it was fun floating upright.

During the clinic, Dave began by telling us to swim around and he’ll observe each swimmer and let them know what they’re doing wrong, etc. When the time came for him to watch sis and I, he noted that I needed to learn how to sight and then showed us how to do it. Of course, being the resident dolphin, he made sighting look super easy. It was around this time that I got some ocean water in me. *Blech* Attempting to sight is kinda difficult and needs a lot of coordination! LOL.

You see, in the open water, unlike the pool, it’s not as clear and so, you can’t really see more than a foot in front of you when underwater! Sighting is a great way to see where you are going — a useful skill if you’re swimming in a race and need to know where to turn! LOL. Of course, in races, they have other competitors that you can follow but sighting is still used to make sure: 1) you’re not veering off course; 2) you’re not veering into someone! 🙂

So we swam about, going up and down the bay. I didn’t actually make it as far as the Pier but I did a good 650 meters worth of swimming that morning. Dave also told us to find our rhythm. I still haven’t really found it yet (especially when incorporating sighting into the mix!) but I’m hoping to practice that at the pool this week.

Overall, I’m very excited with what I learned this weekend and am looking forward to swimming in open water again.

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