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Choppy water

I walked around the swim site and started complaining.

I don't want to get in the water.

This stinks.

Look at those waves.

It's starting to rain.

The joke on one of my listserves this week was that while there is no crying in triathlon there is whining.

And I did more than fair share of it before this swim.

Ah, but then I said enough of this whining. Sometimes you just have to put your face in and go.

So I pulled up the wet suit, climbed down the ladder and got into the choppiest water I had ever been in. OK, granted, it was only my fourth time in open water, but still, the veterans said that on a scale of 1 to 10, this was probably close to a 7 in choppiness.

The water was warmer than the air temperature, so at least I wasn't dealing with waves and cold. Sergio, true to his word from last week, spent the majority of his workout swimming with me. We did a short distance, probably about 150 yards or so, taking it 10, 15 then 20 strokes at a time. He gave me tips and let me grab on to him once when I caught a wave in my face and needed a moment to cough it out.

Oh, it wasn't pretty. But it was better. As with pretty much anything in life, the more you practice, the more comfortable you become. My technique stinks, but I'm not worried about that right now. I want to get used to swimming with no wall every 25 yards in a wet suit that restricts my movement (but helps keep me warm and buoyant, so the trade off is worth it). I decided that even if I finish last in the water again at Quakerman next week, it's just fine. My goal -- to do more freestyle and sidestroke than backstroke.

Other things I learned in this open water session:

1. The sidestroke really is rather effective.

2. A combo of aqua jogging with a breaststroke motion with my arms is a better alternative to my doggy-paddle stroke.

3. Sherpa will threaten to throw my keys into the lake if I call him for a rescue because I locked myself out of the car.

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