swimming for triathlon training

My First Triathlon: Sink or swim

After that, I checked out the swimming isle. I took a deep breath and bought the cheapest pair of goggles I could find, an ugly black swim cap and an even uglier black Speedo. Eek! I was not looking forward to the swim. Not one bit.

swim gallery pic

Since I was dreading the swim so much, I decided to just get it over with and start my training with a pool workout. I hadn’t been swimming since I was 12 and played shark attack in my grandparents’ pool. I also hadn’t been in a locker room since I was 18 and didn’t know if I should wear my bathing suit under my clothes or change while in the locker room.

I decided that since walking to the pool in my unflattering one piece black Speedo and cap was going to be embarrassing enough… thigh jiggle and all, I would try to reduce my embarrassment and wear my bathing suit under my clothes. When I got into the locker room, I was so relieved that no one else was there. I would have been SO embarrassed if I saw anyone I knew… or if I saw anyone period.

Hidden in the corner between two lockers, I quickly took off my shirt and shorts and wrapped myself in my towel. I was feeling pretty confident after my fast towel wrapping skills and so I went over to the mirror to put on my swim cap. Right at that moment, a whole group of girls came into the bathroom.  Mortified, I averted eye contact and continued to stuff my bright red hair into the impossibly small rubber cap as fast as I could. It snapped off my head a few times before I finally got it on. Seriously? The cap was so stinking tight that it instantly gave me a headache and it made my eyes look Chinese. There was one benefit, however, no one would recognize me… especially when I put the goggles on!

swimming for triathlon training

I successfully made it to the pool unnoticed and was very happy that there was only one other person swimming. I studied him for a few seconds, trying to get some tips on how to swim. I took my towel off at the last possible second and made my way to the edge and did a few arm circles to make it look like I knew what I was doing. As soon as I hopped into the water I heard someone say, “Hey Jess!”

WHATTTTT?! Who was that?! Who recognized me in my black swim cap and tinted goggles?! Horrified, I turned my head around… and then up. The LIFEGUARD was a guy I went to college with. You have got to be kidding me right now. “Hey Chip” I said. “How long have you been swimming?” he asked. “Uh, just today” I answered, and then I quickly dove under the water and started to do my best “fake it till you make it” breast stroke, or whatever they call it. I could not believe it.

The one day I decide to swim, I know the lifeguard. COME ON! So, between gasping breaths, I planned to just keep on swimming until he left so that I didn’t have to talk to him when I got out of the pool. I kept peeking up at the lifeguard chair to see if he was still there. I was so tired. It had only been 15 minutes and so I came up with a Plan B. I’d get out at the opposite end of the pool and make a b-line to the locker room. Even if he had tried to talk to me, I had so much water in my ears that I wouldn’t have heard him.



I guess I did alright for my first swim because Chip never jumped in to save me. And I’m happy to say that Plan B worked. I made it to the locker room, un-suctioned my goggles off my face and pulled off my super tight swim cap. I was a sight to behold… goggle marks around my eyes, mascara rings under my eyes, tangled hair and goosebumps. The locker room is WAY colder then the pool room. I quickly hid in a corner to change, but I FORGOT MY UNDERWEAR. At this point, I didn’t care and since I had already embarrassed myself, I pulled on my clothes over my wet Speedo and power walked to my car with water dripping down my legs.

Things can only go up from here, I thought.

Read on about my first triathlon: a bike? I should’ve gotten a trike!



About Author

Trainer DaveyTrainer Davey is an Orange County personal trainer at heart, but has since moved to Nashville and taken on the new challenge of triathlon training. Of course, he misses his home of Surf City...but Music City ain't so bad either!View all posts by Trainer Davey →

  1. scott

    I know a thing or two about poo-induced body image panic. May sound silly, but if more thin people like you were as about their insecurities, some of us in the larger (sic) population would feel better about ourselves. Thanks so much for sharing this. How about a follow up to your pool approach nowadays?

    • Jess Anderson
      Jess Anderson10-01-2013

      Scott, glad you enjoyed this post! And what a great idea! I’ll work on a post about my current pool approach 🙂