Just watch an Ironman finish at the cutoff? It is especially common for athletes competing in open water races. (using only facts), and second, so damn what? You’re left with too few experiences to draw on in which things went ok (you lived) or even felt great. Inconsistent swim training has a cascading effect on your physical, technical, psychological and emotional readiness to race. Open water swimming can be daunting, but once you’ve mastered it, you’ll have a skill you can take to any body of water — and the knowledge that a few choppy waves can’t stop you! Besides, who cares if I come out of the water last? All the main characters are there: the show-offs, the bullies, the shy kids, the nerds, and a bunch of other kids just trying to make it through another day. We’re hoping the one who wants to punch the offending swimmer doesn’t get control. Diet aside (and there will be professional dieticians out there who I’m sure could advise), increased exposure to cold will improve your tolerance, endurance, and recovery. Could it be down to childhood experiences – memories of old films such as Piranha, Jaws and Open Water? The best goal is based on the effort you plan to give, not the time it takes you, where you finish, or how others see you. Not being able to see the bottom in the sea, lake or river can throw even the most experienced swimmer. Of course, swimming with an experienced and qualified open water swim coach is one of the best ways to address many of these issues, while also minimising the real risk! Different parts of your brain start fighting for control. Most open water swimmers experience fear at some point, but when the water is cold, fatigue can creep in making your swim even more of a mental challenge. Categories. A bit … Basically, heed the weather, your surroundings and your body. It’s the discipline many people are worst at and the thought of then taking their swimming skills into open water are just downright petrifying. By that I mean, your ability to get into the cold water, the time you can keep swimming in the cold water, and the time it takes to get your body back to normal once you’re out of the water. Seeing water can trigger intense fear and anxiety in a person with aquaphobia. Plans fail. While the idea of swimming in the ocean can be intimidating and sometimes, borderline impossible for some swimmers, this specific fear of water can be overcome. (Using only logic). A specific phobia is an intense fear of something that poses little or no actual danger. Here’s the running dialogue between your six brains: Here’s a cheat sheet about how to take back control of your own brain: You see the problem? It is a common emotion experienced by many swimmers - particularly in the ever-changing environment of open water. It’s one of the oldest parts of your brain and is the source of the fight-or-flight response and the fountain of all instincts, drives, and pleasure. Brain #1 is irrational, paranoid, very emotional, and thinks catastrophically. You can train your brain to swim fearless. Fear of water can have lots of different causes: It often exists as an instinctive fear related to the fear of drowning. The swimming blog Swimming Open-water swimming: how do you handle the Fear? One of the biggest misjudgments that people make is mistaking a failed plan for a failed person. Hope they’re useful! Open water swimming has a lot of perks. So I would say fear is a common emotion. It may be … It takes constant work and endless patience. Although it’s the shortest part of a triathlon, the swim often causes the most stress and anxiety. Specifically, I’m talking about open water swimming. But to address my seaweed fear, I’ve since spent a lot of time sea swimming at low tide through seaweed or even diving down and among it in depths of a couple of metres. Treat open-water swimming like a technical sport where mistakes could have very real consequences, says Hamel. Fear caused by lack of visibility/not being able to see the bottom. Remember, it’s not the “real you” talking, it’s your Chimp using tricks to get you to quit. The same is happening in your brain on race day. and love the feeling it gives me, but it also scares me! With some of the wind taken out of your Chimp’s sails, you are ready to regain control of your brain using facts and logic. For example, “I’m going to come out of the water last” would be dissected as: “I’m probably going to be at the back of my wave but the faster swimmers in the wave behind will catch us anyway up so no one really knows who’s in what place. Open-water swimming is not always easy for those used to swimming with their eyes fixed on the blue line along the bottom of the pool. Aquaphobia (from Latin aqua 'water', and Ancient Greek φόβος (phóbos) 'fear') is an irrational fear of water. Step 2. What advice would you give them? Fear of Open Water Ocean Swimming By Carol Scheible June 16, 2005 General. Of course irrational fear shouldn’t be confused with rational fear and real danger. The slowest athletes get the biggest cheer!”. Short, high intensity power intervals help prepare you for swim starts, and longer sets with video feedback from a camera phone help identify when your technique starts to break down. Also … And then the day came. (While a good coach will make all the difference, not all open water swim coaches are swim teachers so may not have the experience in breaking down and analysing your stroke.) Let it rant until it runs out of insulting and scary things to say. And of course, the more you do it and the more you push your mental boundaries, the stronger you become. Open water swim anxiety is characterized as the fear of swimming in lakes, oceans, and other open bodies of water. Open water swimming can be dangerous, no doubt, if you don’t know what you’re doing. Go on I dare you, make a quick decision about something scary in the future,  whether it’s entering a certain race known for big surf or signing up for master’s swim. So now you understand, I have to keep swimming, there’s no other option. Chlorophobia: Fear of the colour green. It presents with the same symptoms of general anxiety, and can be extremely dangerous to experience while swimming because panic can be crippling. The bike stationary trainer and treadmill remain fundamental training aids for the bike and run, yet so few triathletes see out complementary training aids for the swim. After your normal wash (perhaps with temperature slightly lower than usual), turn your shower thermostat to cold and enjoy! When the goal is under your control, you always get to define success and failure. The gun goes off and you sprint into the water. Overcome your swimming fear in these places: Kenneth Rippetoe, a swim coach at One With the Water, says he takes things slowly when people are learning to swim … The first few seconds can be bracing but exciting, and you will quickly settle. (One of the aspects of open water swimming I most love is being alone, away from people and even from land). Took a wee solo swim out from Wardie Bay beach thi, A gorgeous swim out to the white buoy this morning, A very happy new year to you all from me and my wi, For my 500th Instagram post I figured I should do, Taken the other day while swimming with my better, If you slip on the ice on your way to a swim, does, A very warm thank you to all you bold swimmers who, Was a bit of a wild one this morning! If you can, plug the shower area/bath so the water fills up and your feet are sitting in cold water. Below is a query I received recently that covers a few subjects, specifically cold water resistance and confidence, but also touches upon diet, fear, fatigue and risk. How to overcome fear of open water swimming. Go to a local river or lake that is not deep so you can feel the ground. Fear. Update April 2008: When you are finished reading the article below about my first attempt at open water swimming, check out this related entry about that feeling of panic in open water! Triathlon Magazine April 16, 2016 — By Jessica Adam. Seriously, are we ever as free as when we are open water swimming. Everyone is looking at my fat legs.” And on it goes. Fear and confidence while open water swimming … This is a big subject! I do some open water swimming in a lake in my area in the summer months. Stop avoiding things that scare you and instead confront them head on. Each of these is worth a post in itself, but I’ve boiled it down to answer this question with a few of my own personal thoughts and experiences, specifically fear of swimming in open water. Facing up to fatigue and fear of swimming in open water. “Fear” — even the word makes some people twitchy. But if you only do it … Notice how the wind, current and bottom surface affect how you’re swimming. Whether you’re hitting your local lake or trying the open waters on vacation, learn more about the body of water by talking with locals or using apps to track conditions in the area before heading out. From my observation, unless you want to race out the first 300m at full speed to find your space (that's just terrible advice), the initial theory is to relax and start when you are comfortable. The parts of your brain that are best described as the “real you” are located in your frontal cortex (Brains #2-6). After all, it’s only a triathlon. I do one day hope to add my own online resources in relation to swimming front crawl in open water. Be cognizant that there are dangers out there. People will, literally, swim around it or change lanes to avoid it. Move about, get your face in and head under, turn around so your back and shoulders get cold, too. Fears of swimming, especially in open water, aren’t rare. To regain composure and enjoy yourself, you need to take back control. And I think the realisation of that helps disarm its potency; it loses some of its sway over you. I’m not a real athlete. ), I’ll be trying to push the distance a wee bit, though staying within comfort zones. Fear of open water swimming is common in both newbies and season veterans. In fact, I’d say unless you grew up swimming regularly in lakes or the ocean, the idea of getting into a body of water that other things- aka fish and other sea creatures- live in doesn’t sound like a lot of fun. Fatigue makes the fear worse, hence my earlier tips about improving your resistance. Like many swim coaches, I’m often asked questions that aren’t always related to swimming technique or stroke development. An actual event combined with intense emotional experience gets quickly embedded into your nervous system making any thoughts of swimming an anxious moment. So, even though the triathlon and open-water swimming season will not be starting for some time yet, we would like to give you a few good tips about how to prepare for your first races. Recent research in neuroscience has told us a lot about why some people become extremely nervous and worried before the swim. The best way to overcome your fear of … Nothing in this world is going to help you overcome your fears faster…not a $1000 wetsuit, not a skin suit, not … 3rd May 2017. Acknowledge your fears.. Having a bit of fear about the open water can be your greatest strength. Hello, I’d like to increase my confidence and water skills. After all, everyone likes feeling listened to. Meanwhile, Yoga will help with flexibility, strength and balance. Start every new swim with this simple pledge: “No matter what happens today, I agree to give it everything I’ve got given the circumstances.” You might be unfit or under prepared, you might get your goggles knocked off, or be the slowest person in the lane or wave – these are all your ‘circumstances’ – but they have no bearing on the effort you give. Sea-swimmers all know the creeping dread that something awful – from sharks to evil seals to water … With the cold water right now, I tend to commit to a certain amount of time rather than distance, with a degree of margin on either side. Sight Often. By letting it say all the things that it hopes will persuade you to pack your bags and go home, it will start to calm down. For many new triathletes one of the most scary things is the swim. You will never get over your fear unless you actually swim in open water. Fear. Mental toughness is built by enduring in the face of failure, it doesn’t come from an easy swim during taper week. Without access to pools or coaches, there are plenty of online resources. For this reason, we call the frontal cortex, your “Professor Brain.”, For each of the Chimp rants, start to dissect each statement with two weapons: One, what is the actual likelihood of this happening? It means making a risk assessment before you get in, and making dynamic risk assessments throughout. For some, fear of open water isn't just made up; something really happened. At the beginning of each swim, I also have some anxiety. People are not failures. It’s hectic. Most people’s brains on race day are like an unruly school playground. The critical point is what we do with our failed actions and plans (or the thought of failure). Then you get punched twice and pushed under. Let it have 2 to 3 minutes of uninterrupted ranting. I’m enjoying using an app called Down Dog that lets you work on specific areas, such as flexibility, core strength or shoulders, while there are many YouTube videos on Yoga for Swimming. So if I had a wee wobble, I might say to myself, “I’m only feeling nervous because I’m becoming tired and cold, and I’m only tired because I’ve been swimming for an hour and the water’s cold, so that’s all quite normal. If you don’t live near an open water location or your schedule prevents you from getting to the pool enough, get creative. I am in the process of conquering this fear myself. Focus on the good things. But you can easily find out and apply certain strategies that will help you overcome the fear and anxiety you feel when even imagining yourself surrounded by nothing but water for miles. It can be caused by the fear of the unknown, of what might be lurking below the water surface in deep, cloudy or muddy waters. In addition, get a group of tri club members to meet you at a local OWS location and practice race-simulation entries and exits – complete with body contact, drafting, and mishaps. Neuroscience holds the clues to why open water swimming scares many of us. I hated swimming over it. And to swim the Channel, you have to train in open water, preferably the sea, a LOT. Building Confidence and Skills Start small, in shallow water. Thirty-seven percent of Americans are unable to … I don’t think fear when you’re swimming in a lake, loch, sea or river is irrational at all! The number one deterrent to competing in a triathlon is open water swimming. People will think I’m a joke. Having the confidence, bravery and commitment to be able to get into the cold water when the climate is at its most miserable is a brilliant thing to be able to do. I’d like to think that I’ve done that with many or the people I’ve swum with over the years. I’m amazed at the number of triathletes for whom the swim is their weakest discipline, or who are terrified of ocean starts, but never actually practice or simulate race conditions. Open Water swimming is a common fear, even among some of the toughest triathlon athletes. For some, the ‘pool drain’ phobia extends to the swimming pool lights and filters too. Meantime, I like the approach offered by Effortless Swimming and Carl 360, though there are others of course. There are a lot of ways to alleviate these fears. If we simplify the science, we can think of your ‘swim fear’ as a battle of six regions in the brain, each with different priorities come race day. 1.Your goggles get knocked off It's a nightmare situation in an open water swim, especially if you are a contact lens wearer or have sensitive eyes. The most common colour in the sea. Gerry Rodrigues, founder of the Tower26 swim group in Los Angeles and an open-water swim coach who has worked with top pros like Lionel Sanders and Holly Lawrence, says swim confidence all starts with practicing specific protocols in the pool. Eosophobia is fear of dawn or daylight. It presents with the same symptoms of general anxiety, and can be extremely dangerous to experience while swimming because panic can be crippling. The bonus here is that open water swimming is an excellent full body workout that will help you boost your Sighting is key for keeping on course and staving off disorientation. It’s common to have a fear of open water swimming as a newbie (or even experienced) triathlete. Eleutherophobia is a fear of freedom. Conquering your fear of the open water swim Tips to become more confident so you will not only survive but have a great open water swim. Edinburgh Leisure, for example, runs skills and drills sessions, as well as masters. Open water swim anxiety is characterized as the fear of swimming in lakes, oceans, and other open bodies of water. Sadly, I can’t help with anyone’s bioprene shortage, though I would happily share some of mine were that possible! Look at these statistics: Two-thirds of Americans are afraid of deep, open bodies of water and 46% are afraid of the deep end of a pool. I would always urge every open water swimmer to have a good awareness of the weather forecast, water conditions and their own ability before getting in to the water. There is no doubt that the open water swim of a triathlon is what many triathletes find the most intimidating portion of the race. Swimming with another person is a massive support, too, though I appreciate this might be difficult right now. The swimming blog Swimming Open-water swimming: how do you handle the Fear? Just at that moment, someone grabs your ankle. In fact, I’d say it was normal. As for your ability and water skills. That it’s a (relatively) safe yet scary sport! Not being able to see the bottom in the sea, lake or river can throw even the most experienced swimmer. The word comes from the Greek word “Thalassa,” which means sea or ocean. If you are in a place that has clear, ocean water, looking at the sea life can be an amazing experience. Getting out immediately means I can train my body to a faster recovery (which it has). Another thing I would recommend is agreeing with yourself how long/far you are going to do BEFORE you get in. Dr. Steve Peters, the British sports psychiatrist, calls this region your “Chimp brain” because it’s prone to tantrums and acts like an immature primate. I was eating less water, swimming in rougher seas, entering the water headfirst and even managing to increase my speed. The other reason for the fear of open water swimming is the crowds. Why not invest in a swim ergometer and bang out intervals in your garage? In a comfort zone-busting new experience, force your goal to be something you are always in control of. 1. And of course, with pools closed, practise is also a no. I’m going to get pushed under by those big waves. It’s a cliché, but the magic really does happen out of your comfort zone. If you have any issues with not seeing the bottom of the water you are swimming in, or retaining feeling in your extremities, this may not be for you. Actions fail. Causes. One of them has got to get control. Crazy huh? I wouldn’t recommend staying in once the shivers have started, and maybe don’t do that if you’re living on your own …. Aquaphobia is considered a Specific Phobia of natural environment type in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. This is a big subject! Towards the end of a longer swim, your ability to resist fear is lessened as you become tired. Overcome your swimming fear in these places: Kenneth Rippetoe, a swim coach at One With the Water, says he takes things slowly when people are learning to swim … Cold showers are a very effective strategy (I much prefer them to cold baths though they’ll be good too). For more information on open water swimming, check out the U.S. Masters Open Water Swimming 101. Sometimes the socially acceptable but devious brain (#2) takes charge by saying “Three strong kicks to the mouth should do it!” Sometimes the rational frontal cortex brain (#4) takes control and says “I’ll just swim 2 feet over to the left and all will be fine.” Depending on your personality, the brain left holding the reins is likely to vary. First off, swimming skins throughout the winter is a massive achievement and one to be proud of. It is a common emotion experienced by many swimmers - particularly in the ever-changing environment of open water. A shark is going to eat me. It’s the only part actually capable of thinking (as opposed to just reacting). All of your technique and breathing rhythm goes out of the window because it feels like you’ve been dropped into a warzone. Bizarre, because I’ve swum countless times in black peaty lochs where you could barely see your hands in the murk! I drove my daughters to the beach for a … There’s thrashing, there’s kicking. Most people don’t/can’t/won’t, so please do hold on to that. While you’re not going to be dragged under by a water kelpie or tangled up in demonic seaweed, factors such as cold water, inclement weather, poor visibility, other water users, etc, all bring their own hazards. This will really help if you’ve sensitive feet! Don’t interrupt your chimp. Rather than telling your Chimp Brain to shut up (it won’t work, it’s much stronger than you), try doing the exact opposite. With the water starting to warm up (almost double figures! But, again, knowing this helps to disarm the anxiety. Fear of open water is not always rational or easy to understand. If we let our fears and concerns linger long enough, we can become paralyzed by them, unable to make a decision. We take a look at some of the most common inconveniences and issues that swimmers face when in open water and give advice on how best to tackle them so that you can enjoy and thrive when swimming in open water. It’s called thalassophobia, which is a fear of open water. I don’t think fear when you’re swimming in a lake, loch, sea or river is irrational at all! On the other hand, other swimmers can’t cope with jellyfish, which don’t really bother me (though maybe I haven’t been stung badly enough yet!). Swim Ergs have the added advantage of providing data on your stroke (e.g., power, cadence, stroke length) and enable you to do very specific upper body resistance work to reduce deficits in your wet swimming. Sometimes, it’s good to be impulsive. Stop avoiding things that scare you and instead confront them head on. Without seeing you swim, it’s impossible to give a stroke analysis. Then someone grabs your shoulder. It also tells us how to do something about it. Once pools reopen, see if your local pool runs sessions on stroke development. Overcoming Your Fear of Open Water Swimming Step 1. When I started to do triathlon, one of the biggest obstacles I need to conquer is to swim in the open water. Recognize that feeling overwhelmed by fear and anxiety about the swim simply means that your brain has been hijacked by the part of your brain trying to keep you alive (Brain #1). Bathophobia is a fear of depths or deep things, (for swimmers who dislike swimming over deep water). We all swim at our own risk and that means being responsible for our own safety. Open Water Swimming: Top Tips from Olympian Keri-Anne Payne. This is in part due to the fact that I can’t see more than one meter below the water surface. Regardless of the outcome, you can see how very complicated this all is. But how have I gone from barely being able to get into a lake to being able to swim for 11 hours in the Atlantic?