Overcoming Fear In Open Water Swimming
Part 4 of 9 – Managing Real Fears and Danger
Fear is a healthy response to danger. We don’t want to do away with the necessary triggers and healthy responses to it. We need it to survive and to succeed. What we want to do is train so that we recognize real dangers, practice appropriate responses to them, and after each experience refine our understanding and responses even more.
Here’s a short list of rational fears of real dangers that came to my mind- things that are based on facts- that we may encounter in our favored body of wild water.
- Physical exhaustion
Boredom or Anxiety Attacks
Succumbing to exposure
Collisions with boats or swimmers
Wildlife and creatures, microscopic organisms even
Some of these dangers are in the environment around us and some of them come from within ourselves. These are real dangers that must be taken into consideration and prepared for. However skilled and fit we become, at best we’re still visitors to the great blue (or grey, or murky brown). We need to be prepared not just in fitness of body, but to know the ways of that water, about how to swim through it, and how to manage our body and mind while doing so.
I want to present a 3-part strategy to managaing rational fear and dangers in open-water swimming.
We want to train in such a way that we understand how we can exercise control over our exposure to these realistic dangers and so we that have a skilled response when we voluntarily or accidently have to face them.
We’ll look at the first part, Technique, in the next essay…
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