Category: watch


Ah Queenscliff. Finally. ūüôā

After recent craziness in my life, I took the afternoon off after training Saturday morning, napped on the couch and actually watched a DVD. It was heavenly. In the evening Mr Nemo was out of the house, leaving me with sole responsibility for the remote and menu choices for the evening. Healthy dinner, no alcohol (after Freshwater I learnt my lesson) and an early night.

As a result, I woke up feeling like a million bucks!

Even better, the sun was shining, and the ride to Queenscliff was gorgeous. I arrived at the beach found my crew, and together we marveled at the beautiful day.

The first race was touted as an 800m event. In the end I think it was a little longer than that…and for me a little longer again as I managed to come in way wide of the finish line. Not entirely sure how I managed that as I had no idea I’d even done it until after. No excuses, either, the conditions were pretty friendly. I went hard in this and treated it as a sprint. I am so¬†not a sprinter it was perhaps that that threw me out!

The toughest part of the Queenscliff event was the start/finish. I haven’t swum there before, so not sure if it was¬†just¬†because of a low tide, but the run out (and then back in at the end) was loooong and very bumpy. Anyone who managed to not stack in one direction or the other was definitely the exception rather than the rule, and I was certainly not one of them! It was also pretty hard work for¬†people¬†like me who are definitely more comfortable putting in their effort in the water instead of the sand!

The other trick was in the short course – keeping your cans in order. The way the course was laid out had one of the cans ready for the long course in a very awkward spot. Differentiating the difference in colours between orange and red wasn’t really that easy once you’re in the water and only head height!

Other than that, though, it was a cracking day. The longer course was also very enjoyable and it was so nice to be swimming in the sun again! It was a little odd for a while as there must have been a delay in getting the last wave started. 20 minutes in and I hadn’t been passed by the leaders of the age group behind me…I was starting to get a little paranoid that I was swimming way off course or something!

Overall a great race!

 

There’s a bit of a long story about the night before the Freshwater swim. It involves a photography course cancelled at the last minute (for the second time) and ends with a few more wines than was probably a good idea (especially given my pre-race routine usually involves none at all).

But what can you do?

It’s been ages since I raced due to the stupid weather and 100 million* reschedules and what would be an insignificant number of personal alternative commitments any other season. So a bit of a gee-up from a once-upon-a-time kind-of colleague (in that we worked for the same company and had mutual friends there but never actually worked together…is there a name for that?), had me signing up the day before.

I woke up on Good Friday. On the upside, the traffic to get over there was pretty much non-existent. And the weather was stunning. I really enjoyed the ride OTB and arrived to a beautiful day. As usual on the bike, I scored a primo parking position. and wandered up over the dunes….to find a nasty, nasty choppy angry-looking washing machine of an ocean out over the “always” calm Freshwater.

Pre-race I was feeling a little nervous. It’s been too long between races and I wasn’t sure I was in the right headspace.

And intra-race…well, I was also pretty sure it was a bad idea to be out there. It was as rough as it looked and choppy the¬†whole way.

Around the last can, though, things started to look up. I spotted the signature flouro swimmers of the lovely Bel M….I thought it might be possible so sucked it up and put on a bit of a surge to swim with her. The last leg of the race was looking up. It’s a bit hard to explain how much you can actually communicate with people in a race in the water, but it’s a very powerful thing to find yourself alongside someone you know and have trained with and consider a friend, and in this case it really lifted my (somewhat queasy) spirits.

As we headed in, the waves were helpful..and not. they were good for catching in to shore, but they were also just a touch on the scary side.

Short story –

  1. Cleaned up by a massive wave
  2. Lost goggles. Finished event without goggles.
  3. Evil calf cramp. Bad one. Bad enough to stick with me for a while Baaaaaad one.
  4. Bel, who if she was uber-competitive could have left me and kicked my butt, hanging around to check I was alright. Highlight of my race. And making me remember, yet again, why I do this particular sport, with these particular people.
  5. Bel and Jacki crossing the finish line together! Finishing on a high note!

So, in the end I finished. Probably not my finest hour and certainly not my most impressive race. Lessons learned: 2. First, alcohol and ocean swimming are¬†not a good combination. And second, never take for granted what the conditions will be like. Mother nature will throw you a backhand every time…especially if you tempt fate by ignoring lesson 1!

*not actual number

Freshwater 1.5km 2013

Freshwater 1.5km 2013

I swear I didn’t plan it that way but the big weekend of the Huskisson Triathlon was on while we were on holidays camping nearby at Cave Beach. I’m not a triathlete, but apparently it’s quite a big deal.

I also didn’t know (significant other suggested the holiday destination, not me) that there was an ocean swim on Friday night to get people into the swing of things before the bigger events started on the weekend.

I did hear about it a few days before.

I tossed up whether it was the right thing to do, but on the day of the event, my beloved came down with a toothache, and took some painkillers and settled into the tent for a long sleep. At that point, I figured I wasn’t actually sacrificing any “together” time, so jumped in the car, drove the 10 minutes to Huskisson and did an on-the-day registration.

The race was a bit¬†of¬†a funny one. It was a 1km course in a triangle and the water was pretty well dead flat. The majority of the swimmers, though, were triathletes. And triathletes tend not to put too much emphasis on the swim portion of their training as it generally doesn’t make up that much of the overall race.

It was very interesting sitting on the beach and overhearing snippets of conversations. There were a lot of¬†very fit people on the beach who were quite worried about a pretty short race in pretty easy conditions. I was trying not to be smug…especially¬†given¬†how I would feel if faced with a triathlon!

The race itself was pretty good. I’m so not a sprinter, and it’s been bloody ages since I did a race¬†that¬†short without following it up with a longer one straight after. So¬†decided¬†to consider it a sprint.

For all of the nerves, it was a reasonably paced race. I couldn’t resist and did a bit of a comparison with a more specific ocean swim race of the same¬†length¬†with a¬†similar¬†number of competitors and the tri race was¬†faster at the winners end, but otherwise the finishing profiles were¬†surprisingly¬†similar.

Here’s a bit of a chart with the male and female fields split out….

Husky Analysis

Sorry – I know it’s super geeky, but I honestly didn’t expect to be racing. I didn’t have my camera with me, I didn’t have my garmin on, and since we did a deep water start I forgot to so much as hit the button on my stopwatch!

It was a nice swim, though, with lots to see in the water…we even swam over the top of the least-timid wobbegong I’ve even seen!

Update – Yep, in response to a few questions I’ve had…lot of them wore wetsuits and tri suits. More than you’d get in an ocean race, although I guess that’s understandable. IMHO, though, would’ve been bloody hot!

I woke up on Sunday, and it could not have been brighter or better!

After the…errr…challenging¬†conditions at the first Can Too Goal swim at Palm Beach, it was brilliant to see the sun shining, the tiny shore breakers the only waves lapping at the beach, and the smiles more common than furrowed brows on the orange-clad sea of Can Too swimmers buzzing on the beach.

As for the race, well the water was clear and the course was well marked. The main thing of note with the race was¬†just¬†how¬†crowded it felt out there. In particular, in the 1km the wave start I was in was men and women 30-39. In a race this size that was a¬†lot of people. It felt like you were swimming and being jostled the whole way along. I twas hard to overtake, and it felt like you were being pushed from all sides as faster swimmers passed. In the 2km this was slightly improved as they split the start group by gender, but it was still a¬†big group. And it still felt super crowded out there. I’m normally a fan of not stretching the start times out too far (Cole Classic anyone?) so that the water safety people don’t have to be out there for hours, and people aren’t having to wait too long on the beach at the start and¬†the¬†end, but I did really feel this race went to the other extreme.

Other than that, though, the races were great. The water was clear and there was minimal swell.

As usual for me lately, I got no joy out of the 1km race. I’ve just been working too much on distance to have any idea how to sprint…and it was never my strong point in the first place. I seem to also overthink it…worrying about whether I’m going too hard so I’ll lose it in the longer race and then worrying I’m going too slow and don’t need to. then somehow I do these completely rubbish times.

The 2km, as usual for me lately, was a sheer delight. I felt good and strong and kept a fairly good line and came out with a PB for that distance even if you account for the fact that the course was a little short.

I’ve added the GPS maps for each race below…and thought it’d be interesting to add the 1km from a couple of weeks ago…just to show that a 1km course isn’t always the same thing…even at the same beach only a ¬†couple of weeks apart!

Ah, Palmy to Whale. It’s such an event and such a big part of the Can Too journey, It’s literally the “Big Swim” (unless you’re doing the Big Little swim). Advertised as 2.5km, it’s generally longer along one of the most beautiful courses you can possibly imagine. It’s tough enough to be a challenge for just about anyone and just achievable enough that anyone with a decent training plan, good coaches, proper preparation and a bit of a stubborn streak can manage it. It is also the long-course goal swim for the Can Too Swim program.

I loved this race last year. It took everything I had to finish it ( it was my goal last year) but I was really elated at the end. I was feeling fitter and better prepared this year, plus a few of my mentees and some of my friends were attempting the race for the first time so I was really looking forward to it.

Then I woke up and looked out the window and saw this.

20130205-161507.jpgNot just raining. Pouring. Absolutely bucketing down. windy and cold and wet and miserable. And definitely not what I had wished for my nervous new swimmers.

Still after double checking everything was still going ahead I channeled that stubborn streak of my own, added a brolly, and headed down to my lift.

It’s a fair old drive up there from the inner west and took a while, but thanks to our ever-patient driver Ean we were there in plenty of time to register and set ourselves up and check bags and cheer for the 1km event swimmers. Lovely to see so many orange swimmers in the brand spanking new shorter event as well, and I was so proud to see so many of them survive what was a really, really tough event. Possibly the toughest 1km event I’ve ever seen!

I’ve had more camera issues (new one bloody well leaked! Again!) so I’m afraid I’m a bit low on photographs from the day. There are a couple from my phone…but with it being that wet you really needed a waterproof feature even on the beach!

Here are a couple I snapped back up the beach while under the marquees set up for registration and pack collection:

Umbrellas. Yep.

Anyway, what can you do, but what we train for.

I did a bit of a warm up and watched the earlier wave starts. It was quickly obvious that there was quite a sweep from right to left, so my place at the start line was definitely hard right. And then we were off.

Funnily enough, although the start was pretty rough, I must have timed it just right and gotten the line spot on. It felt like a couple of porpoise moves and I was through the worst of it and off and swimming.

This seemed to be backed up by the fact that for the first part of the race I saw several people pass me who I know are much faster swimmers than me. Only a good run through the break would have put me in front of them

Before I knew it I was at the first can, feeling good, pulled around it and I was off and headed south.

I found this out-the-back part pretty hard work last year. It was pretty much the first event I’d ever down that was out around a headland and there was quite a swell, so I was swimming in conditions that I¬†wasn’t¬†really used to.

What a difference a year makes.

This year, I have a number of swims like this under my belt. I’ve trained all winter, and trained hard with races like this in mind. I’m fitter and stronger and have been working on my technique. It wasn’t a matter of whether I would finish, so I decided to put the boot in and see if I could push myself. I spent a lot of the race counting strokes and doing regular surges. I didn’t want to completely wear myself out, so I’d count out 30 strokes at my regular pace, and then 90 hard. Over and over. It wasn’t a bad way to stay focussed, and it kept me from getting distracted by the view!

The view…ahhh…even in the rain that is one beautiful swim.

I had hoped to finish the event in under an hour. Around the last can I had a peek at my watch and realised it wasn’t going to happen for me (not this year, anyway ūüėČ ). Undeterred, I decided to finish as though I was just about to make it!

I went out very, very hard. I may have¬†slightly gone off track a bit as I discovered a little late I was sighting at something that wasn’t actually the finish line. D’oh! Rookie mistake! I came in a bit to the left of the finish line..which wasn’t too bad in the end, as from the reports of other people, coming in right at the finish line was pretty tough work.

I did manage to kind of catch a couple of waves for a nudge in where I was, though. They were already broken and really, really frothy and messy, but they were all going in the right direction so I figured I’d jump on for¬†whatever¬†ride they’d offer.

I learnt my lesson from last year, and did a few foot flexes before trying to stand up. It certainly helped as I managed to navigate my way from horizontal to vertical without planting my face in the sand on the way. Win!

As usual, there was a noisy orange-clad cheer squad. It is so great to have that motivation at the end when you’re tired and just need a little extra boost to get you out and over the line.

Despite the weather, it was a great race, as usual. People who were scared at the start were smiling at the finish line, and we managed to brace the rain and celebrate at the Can Too tent afterwards! I wouldn’t miss it for the world!

Finally, a massive congratulations to any and all of the Can Too participants, particularly those who were doing this race for the first time, and even more particularly those who were in my mentor group and stepped up from their initial plan to do the Bondi 2km and pushed themselves to take on this challenge. I am so proud and have found the mentoring journey one of the most rewarding things ever.

I’ve never done the Mona Vale swim before. It has a reputation as being a tough one, but¬†definitely¬†didn’t live up to it’s bad boy reputation this year.

The usual carpool suspects were all out of action – Ronene’s been jetsetting for work, Fiona’s been out for a little bit (something to do with a ¬†big story about having a baby), Vanessa has been sick, Sonja had plans, and Allison already had a ride. So I rode the motorbike up the coast for a change. Made parking a breeze!

There wasn’t a huge contingent of 4SEASons swimmers there. I kind of get it – it’s a fair way to go for a 1.6km event.

I rocked  up and spotted the motley band in orange and blue waiting for the shuttle bus to take us to Warriewood (race is a destination swim from Warriewood to Mona Vale). I ducked into the change rooms to get my motorbike gear off and my swimming gear on, and when I came back out the bus had arrived and was full so I had to wait for the next one. All on my own!

By the time the next bus came, we got down to the beach, did a bag drop and a quick dip, it was time to start! All a bit of a rush really…I usually like just a little time to collect my own thoughts! Should have walked around if I’d known how long that second bus was going to be, so it was my own fault really.

The race itself ran smoothly. There wasn’t much in the way of surf or swell or chop. The buoys were easy to spot and the course well marked. I felt pretty good and arrived at the other end before I knew it!

So all in all it was a pretty good event. I just came away from a bit dissatisfied and it took a bit of thinking to figure out why. I think that really where i’m at right now, a 1.6km isn’t enough of a push for me. Or I need to really dig in and consider that sort of distance a sprint. Just something to mix it up and make sure I don’t phone it in. Time to make sure I push myself in the shorter races as well, I think!

Smooth sailing - Warriewood to Mona Vale

Smooth sailing – Warriewood to Mona Vale

Last Sunday was the North Bondi Roughwater. It was the first race back after Christmas (let’s just say I’m still struggling to get back into a decent training routine) and my first double up (1km and 2km race at the same event) this season. I’m hoping to be in good enough shape by April to swim the Coogee to Bondi 5km¬†¬†(like how I slipped that major bit of news in there without too much fanfare since I’m still kind of feeling a bit weak at the knees whenever I think about it) so I’m really needing to do distance swims wherever I can at the moment. That means double training sessions and race double-ups.

Doing a race double up is kind of a funny thing. It can totally mess with your head. Do you treat the 1km as a warm up? go hard? go easy? conserve your strength and energy or stretch out and try to find your pace early? Just so you now…those aren’t rhetorical questions! If you know any of the answers please let me know!

What I do know is that I didn’t get it right at this event. Well, the first part anyway. The 1km took me over 28 minutes. To put this into context, this was my very first event ever ever ever 3 years ago and my time was 29:20. My time for my third attempt was not a whole lot faster. You’d think I’d have some sort of analysis or theory to present as to why I swam so poorly, but I don’t. There was a lady swimming right next to me with quite a serious and distracting wardrobe malfunction, and I did find it kind of hard to focus during that part of the race….but honestly, that’s just clutching at straws as far as excuses go.

The truth is, it was a touch choppy out the back, and I didn’t really have a clear strategy about whether I would go hard or easy so i kept changing my mind. And I kind of went in with a bad attitude. I don’t know where it came from and I wish that nasty little negative voice that occasionally crops up in my head would shut the hell up.

Anyway, I knew it the whole race, and I knew it when i finished, and I knew it when I was waiting to line up and do twice the distance. To be perfectly honest, I was in such a crappy headspace that it would not have taken a lot of convincing me to give up and go home for a nap.

Fortunately (sometimes), I’m kind of stubborn. I put on my big-girl pants and figured I would hop in and at least give the 2km a go. Did I mention it was the first ever race for the inspiring first-season-swimmers Chad and Sonja who I had at least some hand in influencing into their idea to take up this crazy caper? Making me¬†apparently the person who was supposed to be the example or the good influence or something). I had also talked my dive buddy Steph into coming to support and a bunch of mutual friends of everyone was there. You might think that I’m about to tell you how that all shamed me into swimming properly for a change.

Well, not exactly.

What did happen, was that the combination of those things got me back in the water. The funny thing about swimming is that it’s very much your own race, every time. And somewhere around the second can, inexplicably, I realised I was having fun.

The awkward rhythm and inability to get into a reasonable pace were gone. All of a sudden i was focussed and enjoying myself. It was amazing!!

Others around me were stopping or breast-stroking to sight and figure out where they were, and where the were going. I felt like I was on track without any effort at all. I let go of overthinking things andmanaged to get full focus on my technique.

My internal monologue was going something like this:

  1. Toes – brush big toes together.
  2. Legs – 2 beat kick. (Yes, unlike pool swimmers, ocean swimmers generally do a 2-beat kick…various reasons I should write a whole post about!)
  3. Knees; Stop bending them too much. Kick with the hips for the love of everything that’s holy, Jacki.
  4. Back and shoulder blades. Up and back. Good body position.
  5. Elbows. High.
  6. Hips: Rotating.
  7. Arms….hold. hold. hold. Big thing at the moment for me is this so it was pretty front of mind.
  8. Over the barrel.
  9. Palms down: No stop signs!
  10. Don’t cross that midline with your arms, Jacki! And not too wide either!

And most importantly, don’t over think it! If you get too tense you sink!

Believe it or not, this is a good thing for me. It sounds like a lot, but remember this is over 44 and a half minutes. If I’m thinking about this stuff it leaves a whole lot less room in my head for negative bullsh1t like:

  1. thinking about how much it hurts
  2. or how tired I am
  3. or that I’ve been sick. however long it’s been
  4. or that I’ve been injured. however long it’s been
  5. or why I can totally justify giving up and getting one of those nice water safety fellows to tow me in.
  6. or what else I should be doing, or who’s cleaning my house, or whether my husband bought milk so I can have a coffee when I get home…or, or, or, or……

Yeah….so where was I? Negative self-talk = boo, focus on the moment = yay. Bondi roughwater 1km = boo. Bondi roughwater 2km (same day) = Yay!

So what’s the end verdict? Well…the day was actually about a lot more than just the ridiculous voices in¬†my head. For a lot of amazing and inspiring people it was their first race and they were ah.may.zing! Whatever my issues with a half-goo half-bad event day were quickly eclipsed by seeing so many people having so much fun.

Wort every second. 2 thumbs up!

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Photos courtesy of Steph!

I get a lot of questions about my swim watch. I have written here before about the considerations and decision-making process I went through when deciding on what watch to buy.

I ended up with the Garmin Forerunner 10 (Green) Рnot actually a swim watch, but it is waterproof and for the price it did what I wanted.

So, the verdict? There are pros and cons to this watch…..

PROS

  1. It looks great. It’s small and not bulky like most GPS watches.
  2. The Garmin plugin works great, even on my Mac, and I’ve never had any problems with the uploads.
  3. The Garmin site is great, I like the split options, the replay of your course, and especially the maps.
  4. You can’t argue with the price. Especially since I got mine on sale at Wiggle.
  5. The GPS mapping works OK.

CONS

  1. So, I’m not sure if I have a faulty watch, but mine seems to double all the distances. I’ve contacted Garmin and they gave me some things to try, none of which has worked. That being said, you can easily edit this once it’s been downloaded. At the end of the day I could probably return it, but since I’ve figured this out it doesn’t really bug me enough for me to be without the functions I¬†do have at this time of year.
  2. I think this is the case with all GPS watches, but you have to go in and start it searching for satellites, and only then can you start your swim. There is no straight-up stopwatch option without GPS so if you were inside it would be a bit useless. Also, once it’s hit the “ready” point, it times out after a couple of minutes, and you have to start the satellite search again…although to be fair it’s usually quicker the second time around. What this usually means is I remember to search for satellites, then get distracted at the start line (training or racing), and then when I go to start the thing it’s timed out and not ready. Part user error, I know, but still irritating.
  3. The other thing that kind of annoys me, is that when the watch is running and tracking GPS, there are a few different options of what you can have displayed, but the actual time of day isn’t one of them! When I’m training I may want to track a few different circuits, or I may not be sure what time I’ve actually started, but I may need to be somewhere at a particular time.
  4. One thing I’d really like to have on this thing, is a lock option. It’s probably my own fault for using a run watch for swimming, but I have knocked the buttons on several occasions, and the “finish” button is on the right hand side of the face…so for a right-hander wearing it on their left had, it’s easy to do if you bend your hand back.
  5. This watch is not approved as a swim watch, It’s a gamble I’m taking based on the things I like about it and the price. The Garmin support have told me on several occasions this is definitely not designed as a swim watch so I can’t officially recommend you get one for that purpose. Just in case.
  6. Again, possibly my own fault, but the satellite technology could still use some work as the course gets very jerky and odd down at a close look. This may be due to the watch losing satellites when the watch is under the water.
  7. Garmin in general – I use the maps a lot when I download my swims. It would be nice if I could easily copy them to use elsewhere. At the moment I have to screenshot and crop. Not a deal-breaker but kind of irritating.

So….overall? this watch has limitations. But it also has an awesome price-point and kind of does the things that were really important to me. So, I’m actually happy.

Would I recommend this watch? Maybe. If your needs are the same as mine, go for it and give it a whirl. If you have a little more cash, though, I’d possibly suggest you get what you pay for and it¬†might¬†be worth doing a bit of your own¬†research.

So…there you have it. My ramblings on my swim watch. Well…one of them ūüėČ

Update – May 2013

I get quite a lot of traffic here from people obviously looking for information on this product. I just feel like I should add a bit more information from what I’ve learned a bit further down the track. Click here to get to the follow-up post.

Sunday was the Bilgola 1.5km event. It’s about an hour’s drive away and OTB (Over the Bridge) from¬†my house, so Allison and Ronene and I carpooled and drove up to the Northern beaches.

There had been some internet chatter about a “southerly” couched in terms of doom, but we were pretty happy on the way up. The sun was shining, it was so warm we needed the air conditioning on, and we could see the sun sparkling off the flat water.

We made it in good time and pulled up into the rugby club carpark and lined up for the courtesy shuttle bus down to the beach.

And then the southerly arrived. Just. Like. That.

The cloud rolled in, and the air turned cold and the wind picked up. Literally in the time it took us to get to the beach, things had turned nasty.

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Most importantly, the wind was whipping up the waves. And then blowing the tops off them spraying water all over the place.

After last week I did my best to calm the nerves and assure myself that I do relatively better in rough conditions and that I would be totally fine. That I know what I’m doing when I’m out there. That it’s just one buoy to the next, and one arm in front of the other.

And that’s kind of what happened. Plus mouthfuls of water, and not being able to see the buoys because the waves were too big and the wind was blowing so much water off the top of them that it felt like it was raining hard.

I actually had to stop 3 times during the race…and I can’t remember the last time I had to stop even once. The first time because my goggles were a bit fogged…and I was having so much trouble seeing anyway I needed all the help I could get.

The second stop was¬†because¬†I managed to inhale/swallow what felt like the contents of a small lake. I swallow a bit of water on a regular basis and it doesn’t really freak me out any more…but this was a different volume altogether. Enough that I had to stop and cough. And maybe gag just a little.

The last stop was literally because I was so horribly lost. I knew I’d gone off track after the first main can and had gotten myself back on track to get out the back and that had cost me too much time already. The field was so spread out, and no matter how much I sighted I couldn’t see a buoy. I kept swimming in vaguely in the direction I thought I was supposed to be going, but when I started seeing waves breaking onto rocks ahead of me, I decided that wasn’t a course I wanted to continue. 2 guys who had been swimming nearby also stopped for a look. “Where the hell is that can?” one asked. “No idea” was my response.

Not exactly a straight line....

Not exactly a straight line….

Next minute a really big wave came along and from the crest all 3 of us spotted the buoy at the same time. A quick swear word later and we were all off back in the right direction (and swam basically together for the rest of the course).

So in the end, I finished. That’s about the best that could be said. My time was atrocious (47:45) and I was sloshing full of seawater.

A couple of our 4SEASons swimmers didn’t finish and¬†there¬†were¬†plenty¬† of people who obviously struggled as much as I was far from last.

I’m off on holidays from next weekend so that’s the last swim for me until the new year. Let’s home the conditions give me a decent one soon, because that Billie swim with a southerly felt like¬†hard work!

Technology and swimming

Swimming itself has been around probably asking as people have needed to cross rivers and stay above water if they fell in. Open water swimming as we know it is generally credited to Lord Byron Swimming the Dardanelles in 1810

Just because its been around a while, doesn’t mean that all the joys of modern technology have no place in the sport. Far from it, in fact.

There are a couple of categories of technology that are particularly useful for me in ocean swimming.

First category is weather technology. The weather is super important because of how it affects conditions in the water. I have the Surf-forecast website bookmarked at Bondi, and use it for advance warning on race conditions at other beaches. iPhone apps I find useful are Hurley Surf for real-time condition information including regular photo and video updates, and Magic Seaweed for info on patrols and hazards.

The second category is tracking. This mainly refers to sports watches that I’ve written a bit about before. Garmin and Swimovate are big players in this field for. GPS, lap timing, and tri watches.

The third category is for just one website. It’s Oceanswims and pretty much all the races I do are on there with a planning calendar, race information, maps, links to individual race websites, race entries and race results. What more could you want?

Then we have the category of ordering kit online. Wiggle is usually my go-to, but eBay, Surfstitch, Amazon and Funkita have all seen me with items in my shopping cart from time to time.

The last category is social networking. I use Facebook extensively for organising and connecting with other swimmers. 4SEASons runs pretty much everything out of the Facebook page, including event planning for races.¬†I’m¬†reasonably new to Twitter but I do follow a few elite swimmers, in the hope that some magical tweet will prove the key to all of a sudden turning into a gun swimmer. I also follow @BeachwatchNSW for updates on ocean quality.

Oh, I may have missed something. like, say, this blog! Including this post that I’m writing on my phone whilst waiting for a bus. How technological is that! I also follow a few other swimmer blogs and the Daily News of Open Water Swimming for plenty of inspiration.

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