Open Water Anxiety, Dealing With Currents

I swam 3800+ meters today @ 8:00. At Konyalti Beach, from cliffs towards the west. The sea was 27 degrees C. Sunny, hot, water surface was smooth, but water visibility was only like 2m- the sea bed was stirred up by a strong western sweeping current and the previously settled slime had clouded everything up.

With such low visibility I was essentially blind in the water which surprisingly was better for concentrated swimming- at least it helps me with any anxiety I might feel about deep water. It’s obviously not a debilitating fear I have, since I don’t hesitate to swim alone in the sea, but still it’s an elevated caution or unnerving sense of vulnerability I feel about things I cannot see in the deep blue below me. It’s part of the challenge I face in swimming calm under any circumstance so I practice pushing past it.

I swam with the current for 30 minutes, then back against it for 39 for a total of 69 minutes. A 9 minute difference and yet I knew I was swimming at a negative split pace so that reveals how strong the current was.  It was a good effort, but I was not willing to extend my distance today because of having to swim back against the current. When it is calm like this, from the shore I cannot tell if there is a current or which direction it might be going. Which beach I show up at determines which direction I swim- today I discovered the current only after swimming into it after several minutes in the water, now committed to my path, then at the half-way mark realizing how swift it was and that I now had to work against it all the way back. It’s one thing to have it planned into the workout, but a bit more intimidating when it is unexpected.

But still it is a condition to train for.  Any given race or sea swim could be current-assisted one way and opposed in the other- so training mentally and physically for both is essential. This is where having ‘gears’ appropriate to different conditions becomes so useful.

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