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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
<p>Backstory (very condensed version):</p>
<p>Last November I got caught in a rip current and spent close to 45 terrifying minutes* trying to get out of it.  Prior to that, I was F E A R L E S S  in the water -- any body of water.  No fear at all.  I was always the deepest one in the ocean (the one the lifeguards have to whistle at to pull back in b/c I'm out so far they can barely see me).  Always the first one to jump in any body of water.  Took swim lessons as a kid and a masters clinic in the pool the past year plus.  Swam in a lagoon in Greece with no one watching, no lifeguards, etc.  Just fearless.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>Now, however, I am a big fat chicken.  I didn't want to admit it at first, but I am finally accepting that my swim times were off this season because of my head... not because of my ability (or lack thereof).  Blogging about it helped a bit...  but I don't want to just accept and recognize my fear.</p>
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<p>I want to CONQUER it.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>Any advice?  Just... swim more?  Anything else? </p>
<p> </p>
<p><span style="font-size:11px;">*(So I'm told.  I blanked out for part of it.)</span></p>
 

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<p>I was scared of the water for a few years after being caught in a horrendous rip current, too.  Later I read that you should always swim perpendicular to the rip, as it is essentially a river.  Duh, makes sense sitting comfortably at my computer on dry land, but I sure didn't think of that at the time.</p>
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<p>Where am I going with this?  Dunno.  I can relate to your feelings, though.  For me, it just took time and baby steps to get back in the water.  And even now, a good rip current would probably scare the bejeezus out of me.  Lucky me, all the triathlons around here are in fresh water.</p>
 

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<p>I've had a huge fear that stems from a really bad experience on the swim team when I was 8.  I quit after that experience.</p>
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<p>My suggestion- find people that you trust, that can swim with you in OW.  I had Kristine! She would swim right with me and then she'd stop and we'd just float getting used to being out in the lake.  Now before races I go out into the water and just float and bob trying to get used to the movements and making my peace.  It worked for every race I had this season. </p>
 

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<p>Ok, first a story, which I hope you find funny.... so I've been a fishie for long time. No fear of water. Me and a buddy were out swimming in this river and just having a grand old time. At one point, some of the scout leaders were screaming at us to get out. Bah. Idiots. We kept screwing around (dunno how old I was, maybe 10? and could swim a mile no problem).</p>
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<p>Finally when we got out we got a grade-a yelling at. the leader was FLIPPING his noodle.</p>
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<p>Apparently... we were playing IN the rip currents and that wasn't safe. We had no clue, we were just getting in and out of them and bouncing around like a couple stupid 10yrs olds. We didn't know HOW to get out of them we just "did". We came in when we were ready and the rip currents were basically an adventure ride. We thought it was normal.</p>
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<p>NOW, back to you.... and my pretend Physchology degree (actually, I do have a minor in Psych - except Purdue doesn't have minors they have "associate degrees" but the school of science doesn't recognize "associate degrees" only minors, cuz apparently the liberals are the ones with "associate degrees"... or maybe liberal arts. Dunno... I digress....)</p>
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<p>What you need is desensitation therapy. Systematic, repeated exposure to the stimulus with a positive reuslt until you overcome the issue.</p>
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<p>So at the extreme you look at water. Eat a cookie. Graduate to next step.</p>
<p>You put your feet in water. sing a happy song. Graduate to next step...</p>
<p>and so on.... little steps going up to but only just touching your uncomfortable zone, but having a happy reward.</p>
<p>Repeat until you push the limits</p>
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<p>So if you CAN still swim OWS, then that's huge, you just need to get out there. A lot. With a buddy. Somewhere safe, where you can stand up, for example, if you need to. And repeat this.</p>
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<p>It will be fine, trust me, so many people have had this trauma - you're tough and you'll get through it. ADMITTING it is the first step to recovery (or so they tell me in the meetings... oh wait, I digress again)</p>
<p> </p>
<p>Above all, you need to have fun. Remember the fun. Look forward to the fun. This is a temporary speed bump.</p>
<p> </p>
 
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<p>Ron's story reminded me of one of my swim workouts this summer - we were camping for two weeks with a triathlon at either end of the vacation.  I didn't want to go two weeks without a swim workout and suddenly have to race, so at one of our campsites I found a small "swimming hole" with a pretty healthy current, strapped on my goggles and swam against the current, slowly inching my way further and further into the current in order to swim harder and harder to stay in place.  It was kinda freaky and really neat at the same time.  Every time I started going backwards I'd get this little panic thing going (nothing deadly downstream, but still, scary!) and would immediately diagonal back to the beach.  If I'd have done it 25 more times it would probably have eventually felt like no big deal.  I did it 3 or 4 times and it was somewhere around the "tolerable" level.  Good enough!</p>
<p> </p>
<p>Anyway, it was definitely one of those workouts I will remember for a long time.</p>
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
<p>Thank you all.  I knew you'd be able to relate!</p>
<p> </p>
<p>I did do a few sprints this summer, and 3 of them were in bodies of water I'd never been in before... so there was no familiarity or sense of comfort.  I had a complete panic attack, however, in my last tri -- which was a race I'd done last summer as well, so I had swum there before.  I mean, <em>wave the lifeguard over and hang onto the side of his kayak for a good 5-6 minutes before starting to swim again</em> panic attack.  It SUCKED. </p>
 

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<p>it did suck, BUT YOU STARTED SWIMMING AGAIN, and THAT is what you need to focus on, not how crappy it felt to stop and panic.</p>
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<p>the more you can expose yourself to the situation, the better.  if it seems to be just race situations, get outside your comfort zone and sign up for an OW swim race (if you feel like coming up to MA, we've got some great ones, not sure what you've got down your way).    treat it like any other prep work you do and get it on your schedule.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>good luck!!</p>
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
<p>Thanks!  I saw the coach of my adult swim clinic last night and told her what happened.  I asked her to throw things at me, dunk me underwater, and otherwise abuse me in the pool from now on.  <img alt="smile.gif" class="bbcode_smiley" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies//smile.gif">  A swim-only race is a great idea.  I'll research for next year.</p>
 
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