SWIM

Distance sea swim, approx. 4100 meters. Started at 8:45am. Water 24 degrees C. Sea had moderate swells, offshore wind, then increasing wind and chop. Weather was warm, sunny.

Time 38 min to half way rock, 32 minutes back. A couple stops to enjoy the view on first half.

WHAT I LEARNED TODAY

  • I believe I have a 5km swim in me already.
  • I can’t wait to swim without a wetsuit. I don’t like the restriction or the false sense of speed.

COMMENTARY

Today was my first swim in the sea this year. I had a couple neighbor friends who wanted to tag along but upon getting up so early they interpreted the fog bank over the sea in the distance as a threat of rain and so bailed out. I was not totally bummed since having guests along would mean I got no serious distance swim. So I snacked and sipped tea, talked with my wife for a while then headed to the beach on my own around 8:30.

The foggy-like clouds were gone. It was sunny, and the water was 24.5 degrees C taken at the shore, while there were pockets and layers of colder water out further. I slipped on my quickjohn and swam along the coast about 25 meters out, 38 minutes down to the big rock-island by the cliffs, and back in 32 minutes. There were moderate swells as I started, but the wind picked up. By the second hand it was choppy and I was getting shoved around a little, having a hard time finding the deep, fast rhythm I would normally enjoy on the second half. I am estimating the total distance to be like 4100 or 4200m- I don’t know how accurate Google Maps is at this level of measurement.

The water was clear, the temp with wetsuit was just right- not too warm, not too cool. The sea floor about 4 or 5 meters below me was sand and green slime and a beer can here and there- not very interesting. There were occasional groups of fish, until I got near the cliffs and the floor became boulder-strewn, then there were lots of fish- I swam right through swarms of them, then parted a swath of guppy-sized fry as I reached the big rock, my turn-around point.

The swells were no problem to swim with, but the chop added some challenge to rhythm and breathing toward the sea and wind. Although I was coming back faster, it was notably fatiguing to swim against the chop. But the conditions were well within my skill level and did not disrupt my focus or calm. Still quite enjoyable.

My left wrist felt a little strain as I got into a steady stroke in the first 20 minutes- I felt this last year in the sea as well, although I don’t feel it in the pool. So I wonder what is different. This can get a bit more uncomfortable and worrisome as the swim progresses, but I tried to focus on keeping a high elbow and reducing the twist at the wrist and the strain seemed to go away. And in that first section I had a little soreness in the right shoulder, just like last year, so I also paid attention to rotating my shoulder to follow the lead hand, while relaxing the recovery arm as much as possible and I did not feel the soreness on the second half.

Between the bouyancy of the wetsuit and the bouyancy of the salt water I was really a floating fish, and my legs felt restrained from kicking at all. I had to concentrate to make them initiate the hip thrust. Also, I noted how my triceps seemed to feel tired early on, while in the pool I never notice them. Somehow the wetsuit encourages shoulder-swimming for which I have to focus on torso rotation to avoid the fatigue that I felt easily creeping on even in the first half- however on the second half I felt tired in a general, good way and seemed to have better torso-stroke so I kept going comfortably.

Upon jumping in the sea I was wondering how far I could go. I had time this day to go further so I started going and as I got to the 25 minute mark I assessed my joints, and my energy level and saw the cliffs not too far off and decided to go for it- the satisfaction of going the full distance was appealing and give me some performance to compare against in the sea swims to come.

It was so nice to be back in the sea. It will be better when I can drop the wetsuit.

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