I need you all to lay down your sighting wisdom on me. I'm sure it comes with lots of practice, but I'm having trouble with it. I've tried my best to watch and learn, but it still seems extremely awkward to me. I do have an easier time sighting if I turn my head up and to the right slightly, but from what I've seen you should be looking straight ahead when sighting, so apparently I'm doing it incorrectly anyways >:-( Any help would be appreciated!
Definitely practice, like everything else. Every time you are in the pool, even though it can look dorky. In the club masters program, the coaches like making us do head up drills.
Here's the drill, though they are talking about doing it for other reasons:
Sighting it good to practice, but I would focus more on keeping your body balanced so you swim in a straight line. If you sight too much, you lose momentum and your hips drop. When you breathe to the side, you should be able to take a quick peek ahead, and then take a few more strokes in a straight line. If the course is poorly marked, sometimes doing one or two breast stroke pulls gets your head out (your shoulders actually) high enough that if there are waves, you can see over them and get yourself back on track--and you won't lose as much momentum because your head comes out of the water naturally with the flow of the stroke.
Keep your eyes open - hah - obvious. I saw on YouTube swimming video that you should keep your left arm pointed at the buoys - Haven't tried this yet. I do sighting drills in the pool as well.
What kind of sighting drills do you all do? This is only my second season of triathlon so I'm kinda of a newbie. I've looked up a few on YouTube and GoSwim, but they seem somewhat complicated for a beginner, and I feel like I would have difficulty replicating them.
So when I sight I should be looking straight ahead, correct? Seems like a stupid question, like duh who wouldnt know that? I've practiced that a little, but the trouble for me comes when I look up to sight then have to turn my head to breath. I haven't quite got that down yet, and it ends up being very, very awkward, and usually results in the swallowing of water.
Also, club partner WaveOne is holding OWS clinics at Sandy Pt., the first one this Saturday, April 14; sighting makes up part of it:
So I checked out some of the links (thanks!) and they've been very helpful, but I'm still not getting the whole sighting thing very well. Yes, I can just look up, but it totally interrupts my rhythm and balance.
I sight off of other swimmers, especially during long course races where the buoys are usually farther apart. Finding swimmers is a lot easier than finding buoys that are 200 yards away.
I'm bad at swimming but like Tuan said, I use other swimmers. If I see a bunch of them around me then I figure I'm okay. Also, I take a quick glance for the buoy. You don't need to really zoom in on it and focus on it, just a quick glance.
One thing you should do before you enter the water is look for landmarks that stand out to help you sight. Also, study the course and the set up of the buoys, how many and what color are they. Another thing is that as you approach a buoy is to look beyond that buoy and sight for the next one.
There is nothing like open water swimming. I prefer it to the lap lane anytime.
I can glimpse things and pretty much get a good idead of where I'm going or need to go. It's just getting my head from the regular swim position up to sight then back down to breathe that is giving me the trouble. It just feels so awkward.
I second what Hugh said, look for landmark before you get in the water. I sometimes practice in the pool by making sure I look at a clock on a wall or something else in the middle of a lap.
It can be a quite hard to go from pool to open water swims and maintain your form. I believe Sarah Thorpe and SSPT in their OWS classes stresses form and head positioning while sighting. And WaveOne in its classes discusses stuff like figuring out your optimal stroke count stroke count for sighting.
Wow, there's a lot of really good advice in here--use other swimmers; find a landmark (big building or tall tree contrasting against the sky).
If there's one thing missing, from my experience, it's that you shouldn't expect to see/focus on something when you sight. When I sight, I don't really see much. MAYBE a shape or blurr of color. Sometimes my goggles fog up too which means I see even less. If I want to focus on something, I have to slow down or stop, which I never want to do.
The trick to me is knowing that you will only vaguely see. Use the collective blurs of color and shapes to get nothing more than a basic sense of how to go straight and avoid running into an inanimate object.
So in my opinion, before you figure out HOW to sight, you have to first be comfortable not really SEEING anything. If you're okay with that, you'll stay calmer, you won't interrupt your stroke as much and you'll save energy while going faster and straight
Thanks for all the great advice....and yes, I feel better hearing that I can be comfortable not really seeing anything, just shapes to guide me in general.
So here is my main dilema that maybe I didn't clarify in the beginning. I can sight, not well, but I can do it. It just feels really really unnatural lifting my head up. I dont know, maybe I'm just not used to it.
Something to get used to. I don't really lift my head up all the way most times. When you take a breath into your armpit, instead of looking back down again, I swing my head a little forward to catch a glance for the briefest moment slightly ahead--at like 1 or 11 o'clock. Eyes are barely above the water to use as little energy as possible
Taking a hard stroke with the arm opposite the side where you're breathing at the same time will help lift your chest/neck/head a little.
If the issue is that you don't feel strong, practice alternating laps of swimming with your eyes/mouth out of the water and then regular, long strokes. It's all neck and back. You'll find that you take shorter strokes to keep your head out and longer strokes with your head in, so when you're mixing them while racing, it's kind of a combination of the two.