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Does anyone else swim drunk? Help!
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I looked at my swim GPS from a recent race and it looks like I'm staggering around out there. This is a 600 yd. swim, and my GPS puts me at about 900 yds.of actual swimming. How do you guys swim straight? Do swim files just look crooked? If you have some advice I'd love to hear it.

Some notes: my time was okay, about 1:35/100 yds (given the 600 yd course measurement). That's fine for me for an OWS, nothing earth-shattering, but reasonably in-line with what I can expect. I was out in the open with no one around, it was a pretty small race, could sight reasonably well until the run in to the finish chute, which blended in almost perfectly with the backdrop (!). It's the east-to west (this was a clockwise swim) portion that just looks ridiculous -- I really was just kind of cruising along, sighting at the far buoy (so I wasn't following a crooked picket-fence of buoys, I thought I was on a direct line for the turn to the north). The east-west portion is just a point to point swim - the shortest distance is from corner to corner, and all buoys are on the right.

Okay, gentle or outright mocking, stern advice, shared experiences -- have at it.

All best,
Andrew Moss

Last edited by: apmoss: Jul 10, 17 4:14
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Re: Does anyone else swim drunk? Help! [apmoss] [ In reply to ]
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GPS is pretty terrible in the water, unless you have it above water the whole time (e.g. in your swim cap). I wouldn't trust this at all.
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Re: Does anyone else swim drunk? Help! [apmoss] [ In reply to ]
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Looks better than most of my swims.
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Re: Does anyone else swim drunk? Help! [apmoss] [ In reply to ]
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Yep. I cannot offer any great advice, because I have not solved it yet either. Here is my map from my Garmin in a 2-lap open water swim Saturday. In general, I have found my Garmin to be very reliable in terms of seeing my path and overall distance. It does not have the precision for running and biking, but these traces look exactly like what I remember doing. For example, in my second loop, I was drawn by a tractor beam to the center of the lake and away from the final turn buoy. This absolutely captures that. Any, my turns at the buoys are very close between the two loops. In all of my OWS races, the Garmin is generally within 5% of the official distance, so at a rough order of magnitude level, it is pretty stinking good.

So, unless you have some other reason not to trust your TomTom, it probably captured your path. And yes, if you remember feeling like you swam drunk, and the TomTom gave you a drunken path, you probably swam drunk.

I definitely get worse when I get fatigued or have an imbalance in my stroke. In this swim, my left shoulder got sore about 1/2 way in. When that happened, I started to wonder a lot more.


Last edited by: exxxviii: Jul 10, 17 5:40
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Re: Does anyone else swim drunk? Help! [nickwhite] [ In reply to ]
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nickwhite wrote:
GPS is pretty terrible in the water, unless you have it above water the whole time (e.g. in your swim cap). I wouldn't trust this at all.

This.
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Re: Does anyone else swim drunk? Help! [apmoss] [ In reply to ]
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Quote:
Some notes: my time was okay, about 1:35/100 yds (given the 600 yd course measurement).

You swam 1:35/100 yds based on a 600 yd course.

That would make your time 0:9:30 which would translate to 1:03/100 yds if the swim was 900yds like your garmin shows. Which pace seems correct. Can you swim 1:03 's ?

My Garmin shows me all over the place in OWS and I don't sight that horribly I think. That or there's something wrong with my training because I am clearly capable of holding sub 1:00 for almost any workout and distance.
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Re: Does anyone else swim drunk? Help! [exxxviii] [ In reply to ]
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Cool, I think I can see me sighting and correcting every few strokes and you swimming straighter for longer periods. I sight like a madman in a race, but wish I would sight and then take 20 strokes or something. I know that I list to starboard, maybe I should actually sight less. I do stop every couple of hundred yards to do a couple of breaststrokes to sight.
Thanks!

Andrew

__________
"At the end he was staggering into parked cars and accusing his support-van driver of trying to poison him." A description of John Dunbar in the 1st Hawaii Iron Man
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Re: Does anyone else swim drunk? Help! [dyarab] [ In reply to ]
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"GPS is pretty terrible in the water, unless you have it above water the whole time (e.g. in your swim cap). I wouldn't trust this at all.
This."

Make sense to me. Does a GPS actually get thrown off by an armstroke, like you've got a sparkler over on your left hand? or it kind of breaks off when submerged?

Thanks for the insight.
Andrew

__________
"At the end he was staggering into parked cars and accusing his support-van driver of trying to poison him." A description of John Dunbar in the 1st Hawaii Iron Man
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Re: Does anyone else swim drunk? Help! [apmoss] [ In reply to ]
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apmoss wrote:
Make sense to me. Does a GPS actually get thrown off by an armstroke, like you've got a sparkler over on your left hand? or it kind of breaks off when submerged?
The main problem with GPS in the water is that cannot get any kind of position reading when your hand is underwater. So, it somehow magically grabs a position when it can, which may be every bunch of strokes. It may be that the watch only grabs a portion of a frame from the satellites while above water and then pieces them together for a position.

Regardless, I find that in all my open water swims, GPS is good from a macro point of view. There may be one or two outlier points, but for me, most of the points match pretty closely with how I remember swimming the course.

I would not throw out the watch with the beachwater. They are decent. And sometimes they crap out, but you can see those failures as well, just like in a run or bike when the GPS was totally off. I get a few of those a year too.
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Re: Does anyone else swim drunk? Help! [Leddy] [ In reply to ]
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"That would make your time 0:9:30 which would translate to 1:03/100 yds if the swim was 900yds like your garmin shows. Which pace seems correct. Can you swim 1:03 's ? "

Occam arrives. Although a simple solution would be a miracle new pace for me on race day. But then I guess we're in confirmation-bias territory...

In the middle of thinking through this, I have been recalculating my overall time and some pool times, and the more I think about it, the more your post explains what's going on:
I swim X fast (or medium or whatever) in general.
I swam pretty close to X fast yesterday if I use the race distance.

Ergo: I probably swam the race distance and the GPS file just looks a little wonky and/or my crooked swimming isn't inhibiting me that much.

I still have the question about how to sight better, but I think that's one for the ST archives. I may email my watch company and see if they have any insight on accuracy/mapping software. If they say anything good I'll post back.

Thanks, all! for the responses.

All best,
Andrew

__________
"At the end he was staggering into parked cars and accusing his support-van driver of trying to poison him." A description of John Dunbar in the 1st Hawaii Iron Man
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Re: Does anyone else swim drunk? Help! [apmoss] [ In reply to ]
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Hi - What mode did you use on the TomTom? True the arm action over/under water causes GPS errors and distance to be boosted. Although it was said our 4K came in at ~ 4.2. My Tomtom is now toast, again this is my 4th one!! Doesn't like me swimming with it.

I thought your swim was pretty good. 1:3 breath keeps me very straight. I was drafting first lap, the guy was all over the place. Too lazy to pass :(!!

I don't sight much 'cause I can't see worth beans anyway. But I do tend to line up with shoreline to the side as shown here & that got me in trouble.2nd lap I was in no-mans land and couldn't see anything but sun glare - and made those excursions in RED.




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Last edited by: SharkFM: Jul 10, 17 12:40
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Re: Does anyone else swim drunk? Help! [apmoss] [ In reply to ]
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My GPS has shown me swimming on land before.
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Re: Does anyone else swim drunk? Help! [exxxviii] [ In reply to ]
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exxxviii wrote:
apmoss wrote:
Make sense to me. Does a GPS actually get thrown off by an armstroke, like you've got a sparkler over on your left hand? or it kind of breaks off when submerged?

The main problem with GPS in the water is that cannot get any kind of position reading when your hand is underwater. So, it somehow magically grabs a position when it can, which may be every bunch of strokes. It may be that the watch only grabs a portion of a frame from the satellites while above water and then pieces them together for a position.

Decatur Lakeside, eh? I finished about 5 minutes behind you. I was surprised how badly the extra ~2.5 miles of bike (compared to your "standard" sprint) killed my run. I was almost a minute a mile slower than usual on the 5k.

GPS watches typically lose signal when you stroke underwater. When you recover, The watch is only above water for ~ 1 second. In that time, you're lucky to get a lock on the minimum 3 satellite signals required to get a crude fix. You end up with a series of crude fixes, several seconds apart, and the rest of the track is interpolated. That why your trace looks like you're drunk, and why the total distance always seems long.

I didn't even bother trying to track the swim with my old Garmin 310XT. Based on my experience, it would have had me swimming all over Nelson park, with a total distance of 12-1500 yards.
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Re: Does anyone else swim drunk? Help! [gary p] [ In reply to ]
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My old 920XT and current 735XT are consistently within 3% of the stated distance of the swim. It is not exact, but it is consistently reliable. And the paths they map are spot on. And, my watches typically measured a little short, not long. So, despite the challenges, the watches can be pretty freakin' good. I agree, thought, that the 310XT was crap in the water. Garmin has come a long way since then.
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Re: Does anyone else swim drunk? Help! [apmoss] [ In reply to ]
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The title of this thread led me to believe it had great potential. Now, not so much :)

Eliot
blog thing - strava thing
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Re: Does anyone else swim drunk? Help! [SharkFM] [ In reply to ]
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DC Rainmaker says that this one (which I bought in a kind of refurbished sale) should have a swim mode, but it does not. I just use "run" for SB and R. It is so "old" that is isn't recognized on the TomTom app/interface as a choice of 'watches.' I like it though.

I think we were in different races...but the fastest swimmers at Decatur swam about 200 yards extra, not because of GPS imprecision, but because they swam out to someone's houseboat. The final buoy was kind of out there on its own. BUT 100 yards to the south was a big old boat of some kind, like at Kona or something, looking suspiciously like a course marker. I kept seeing them out there and thinking, one of us is going to be pissed about the swim -- me for cutting the course and getting a DQ or them for doing an extra quarter mile.

Turned out is was me with a red face, for getting beat by a 14 year-old who swam 200 yards more and 20 seconds faster, but I digress...

__________
"At the end he was staggering into parked cars and accusing his support-van driver of trying to poison him." A description of John Dunbar in the 1st Hawaii Iron Man
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Re: Does anyone else swim drunk? Help! [DJRed] [ In reply to ]
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My GPS often shows me walking on the run. Same brand, I'll bet.
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Re: Does anyone else swim drunk? Help! [renorider] [ In reply to ]
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I swam after three beers in an hour once with people around who were capable of rescuing me in backyard pool. Convinced me it is a bad idea.,

Life is full of froth and trouble, two things stand in stone
Kindness in another's troubles, courage in one's own
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Re: Does anyone else swim drunk? Help! [apmoss] [ In reply to ]
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apmoss wrote:

I think we were in different races...but the fastest swimmers at Decatur swam about 200 yards extra, not because of GPS imprecision, but because they swam out to someone's houseboat. The final buoy was kind of out there on its own. BUT 100 yards to the south was a big old boat of some kind, like at Kona or something, looking suspiciously like a course marker. I kept seeing them out there and thinking, one of us is going to be pissed about the swim -- me for cutting the course and getting a DQ or them for doing an extra quarter mile.

Turned out is was me with a red face, for getting beat by a 14 year-old who swam 200 yards more and 20 seconds faster, but I digress...


Same race. I'm 99% sure I had the swim lead from the first turn buoy on. I finished just ahead of the 14 year old (see the recent "honor" thread elsewhere in this forum). If that kid swam around the house boat, he closed like a mofo because he wasn't ahead of me at the last turn buoy. FWIW, I was pretty far outside the buoy line all the way down, and had to come back right pretty hard towards the finish. Maybe it looked like I was aiming for the houseboat, but really it was just poor form.
Last edited by: gary p: Jul 10, 17 16:14
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Re: Does anyone else swim drunk? Help! [gary p] [ In reply to ]
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Nice swim!

I only picked out the little guy because I seem always to see one of those and it seems like insult to injury. The rest of you guys who are out in front of me, well, that's just par for the course and somewhat unremarkable. (Looking back, maybe he was the EIU/collegiate guy -- he sure seemed young to me!)

About the houseboat: I kind of wish they had parked that by the swim finish: I could NOT sight that thing.

And, yeah, you guys did close fast -- impressive.
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Re: Does anyone else swim drunk? Help! [apmoss] [ In reply to ]
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apmoss wrote:
About the houseboat: I kind of wish they had parked that by the swim finish: I could NOT sight that thing.

Yeah, the course was so well marked up until the last turn buoy, I wondered for a moment if I had turned too soon when I made the second right. I had to sight four or five times before I picked up on the cones on the pavement above the swim finish.
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Re: Does anyone else swim drunk? Help! [apmoss] [ In reply to ]
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As someone else mentioned if you put in your swimcap it should work well. Try and see if it shows you swimming straight. But attach a piece of string to it and something else like your wetsuit zipper. Someone else also already pointed out you likely cannot swim 900 m in your posted time.

Life is full of froth and trouble, two things stand in stone
Kindness in another's troubles, courage in one's own
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Re: Does anyone else swim drunk? Help! [apmoss] [ In reply to ]
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I thought you actually meant drunk drunk.
While drinking and swimming is a really dumb idea, it's how I learned how to swim as well as I do. One night while drunk I swam with a friends hot wife, in a buddies pool. We had a blast. I was so focussed on how hot she looked in her bikini, that I completely forgot to worry about swimming. That night I got truly comfortable in the water.
Next week at the pool, with my new found comfort in the water, I was way more able to concentrate on technique. Almost over night, I went from swimming 100m short course in about 1:45, to right around 1:30.
When I get tired in races, I will think about being drunk and swimming with her. I get more relaxed, my stroke lengthens and slows down and my speed goes up.
I certainly do NOT recommend the above to anyone, but it worked a treat for me.

As for your swimming, maybe sight breathe a little more often? Was that swim in the river down stream of Niagara Falls? It looks all over the place!

TriDork

"Happiness is a myth. All you can hope for is to get laid once in a while, drunk once in a while and to eat chocolate every day"
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Re: Does anyone else swim drunk? Help! [apmoss] [ In reply to ]
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A quick follow up about GPS and swimming. At an OWS in downtown Indianapolis (I know - a walking district canal of sorts, 25 yds across, 2k in length with some 90 degree turns).

According to my GPS:

1. I used the adjacent walkway a lot
2. Watched the race for a minute on a walking bridge that spans the canal
3. I climbed a tree in a nearby park, about 50m away
4. I cut the last corner by walking across a small plaza
5. I swam 1:40 min / 100 yds, exactly 4 sec / 100 yds slower than last week's 600 yd OWS.
So there's a mixed bag when it comes to GPS and swimming, but my ability to swim straight is not quite as bad as I believed.

All best,
Andrew Moss
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Re: Does anyone else swim drunk? Help! [apmoss] [ In reply to ]
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You may have a slight tendency to veer to the right with OWS and when you site correct left; rinse and repeat. Easy to test out with a few swims in open water preferably with someone else. Agreed with others that a lot of the sharper stuff is noise, but some of the longer tracks may be a tell.
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