Friday, 23 February 2007

When last did you get in the water?

At school I swam for the team (all strokes). For 7-years at varsity I played club and Provincial underwater hockey. The only other time I've spent any decent time in the water was due to "The Foot Injury of 2002". I'd swim up to 4km a day and aqua-jog up and down the lanes until I could get back to running. But that was then and this is now and until last night, I probably hadn't done any formal swimming since 2003. Tomorrow I'm doing Xterra Lite...

For adventure racers, swimming must be the most avoided discipline. Flat out swimming is just something that we don't really need as the only time we need to swim is to get to the shore when we've fallen out of our boats or cross rivers and short sections of dams. In full clothing, socks, takkies and dragging a backpack, lengths in a pool are not going to help a helluva lot (except for water confidence and upper body strength).

On Sunday at the Quantum Adventures sprint in Grabouw, we swam through a little dam, assisted by a rope strung from one side to the other. We also swam around a buoy in another small dam with tubes under our bellies. No style or technique needed here...

With Xterra Gauteng looming, I thought I'd better get in the water to remind my muscles just what it feels like to swim again; and the experience was actually pretty good. I had flashbacks to those long sessions a few years back when I'd rhythmically swim length after length after length... it's quite hypnotic. I definitely felt it in my shoulders and a couple of times misjudged the distance to the wall so when I tumble-turned too early my toes had to stretch for the side.

I swam about 1.2km and this morning suffered no ill effects, with the exception of a sore left ear when I woke up. Would you believe that I can be dunked by rapids, drift down mucky rivers, slither through mud and swim in dams yet my immune system succumbs to nasties in the gym's pool? I had to go to get drops.

One thing I can say is that the 600m swim of the Xterra Lite (1.5km for the Xterra) doesn't worry me; it's swimming with loads of other people at the same time that I've never done. I'm also not so sure whether I want to mountain bike with my cycle shorts over my swim suit and then how to I get my crop top on? After degreasing my chain (I received good instruction at AR Club this month on the correct procedure) I'm going to surf the web for some transition tips.

If, like me, you're doing your very first triathon (albeit off-road) tomorrow, good luck.

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