After college I took a break from working out, then slowly found my way back to it. I started training again and went back to my old club swim team to practice with them. I did a full season both short course and long course. And ended up having a lifetime best in the 100 M butterfly. It was a really great feeling, but I definitely couldn’t keep it up.
The 4 am practices and crossfit I was doing as cross training were breaking me down. So I thought it was time to try something new. Light bulb: let’s sign up for a triathlon.
Long story short, I ended up doing only two triathlons, but it was fun for that season. One thing that really stood out to me was how many of my swimming friends from over the years had also switched to triathlon.
The one issue everyone had when I asked how they were going? Sighting. They couldn’t sight to save their lives.
Well, that’s not really true, because they’re all still with us to this day. But their sighting was terrible, absolutely terrible.
Some of them were coming in after first time swimmers just because they’d veered so far off course that it took them forever just to get back on track. And I can relate.
Last year during our first Bahamas Training Trip that we host for SwimBox, I swam every open water practice with my head up and out of the water. My alligator eyes was basically a Tarzan drill, and it meant I had some quite excessive chafing on the back of my neck from my wetsuit, not to mention a sore neck.
This year however, after a ton of sighting practice, I noticed a huge difference. I was able to swim all practices using a rolling sight. I stayed on course, and my neck was chafe free.
The point I’m trying to get at is you can’t neglect your sighting. We’ve had a lot of clients who think they can, but their races are always impacted negatively from this.
My favorite thing to tell people is that just because you’re a swimmer doesn’t mean that’s going to save you out in the open water. I’ve been swimming for over 24 years and all of those practices never prepared me for having to find my way without a black line guiding me on the bottom of the pool.
If you’re going to pick one thing to improve upon for your swim this season it should be sighting. Hands down.
Having proper sighting will help everything else in your swim fall in place, and you won’t add a ton of time fixing your mistakes from falling off course.
And you know what a faster race time means? Fewer fellow athletes you have to fight to get food from hospitality after you’re done!
Coach Lissa Henderson