Remember A Few Safety Precautions
Don’t sign up for a triathlon before you know that you can manage the swim course. If you are afraid of being in the middle of a large lake, pick a race in a smaller one. If you can’t move competently through a surf line under most conditions, find a flat-water race. No matter what, the decision to get into the water on any given day must be your own. Don’t assume that the race director will keep you safe, or that his or her judgment is superior to yours. Be true to yourself and don’t go into the water if you feel the conditions or the race are beyond your personal abilities.
New and nervous swimmers face a formidable challenge in the sport of triathlon. Forgive yourself for past mistakes and be patient as you make new ones, and you will. Practice these skills one at a time in a safe, unhurried environment, and add challenge as you progress. Eventually you will see that the swim really can be the easiest, most comfortable part of your race day.
Ingrid Loos Miller is the author of Fearless Swimming for Triathletes and other Ironman series books. She is the founder of the Fearless Swimming Open Water Course for Triathletes and is a USAT Level 1 Coach in Irvine, Calif.