Open Water Swimming – my First Experience (Part II)

Continuing from my previous post…

I did not mention a couple of critical safety checks in my previous post…. First and foremost, my first swim in the open water was under adult supervision. Secondly, I did not stray away but kept close to the shore line.

Before embarking on a longer swim stretch, I spent a few days swimming close to the shore to adapt my mind and body to the open water and to establish my baseline. Slowly and surely, under close supervision, I kept venturing further into the deeper waters.

My maiden swim in the lake made me realize a number of things that I took for granted. For example, I was nervous that the bottom of the lake was not as visible as that of the pool. And, the black marker lines at the bottom were gone too.

I continued to wonder how I would be able to swim in a straight line. And of course, every now and then I had to look up to realign (sometimes referred to as open-water sighting). Based on whatever wisdom I have gathered over the years, I should have practiced swimming in straight line with my eyes shut in the pool. Well, now I always mark a tall building or tree in the swim direction before getting into the open water. Over time, it’s relatively easy to master sighting with practice.

As I swam away from the shore, I felt the need to adjust my goggles. But, not having the lane lines to hold on to and being in a territory where the depth was more than my height, it was challenging. I made some makeshift adjustments to the goggles and continued on. I definitely did not have a right pair of goggles.

Freedom of open waters is great but is without the reassuring guiding lanes and lane lines.

I was fortunate enough to have my initial open water experience in a lake where there were few swimmers and rarely any boaters. Having many swimmers and moving boats could potentially add to the anxiety. All things considered, I was having a good time in the open water and at the same time I felt a sense of accomplishment.

More stories, lessons learned and open water safety tips to share as I continue to walk down my memory lane…

– Meghna Sil


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