Tips From My 1 Mile Open Water Swim (first time)

Occasionally I’ll throw a personal story out there and hopefully you can take something from it.

Yesterday I completed the “Sharkfest Swim.” It’s a 1 mile long course that goes from point A to point B, basically the length of the Coronado Bridge in San Diego.


Other details

  • I swim regularly in a pool and feel comfortable swimming a mile there, but had never done more than .5 at a time in the open water and that was over 3 years ago
  • I signed up for the event about a week before and decided to just go for it
  • It was 74 degrees out and the water was 75, so I didn’t wear a wetsuit

Screen Shot 2015-10-16 at 3.52.39 PM

  • I kinda disregarded the note on the event website, I trusted that I would be more than okay making it across

My goal?

  • Since this was my first time and I had no idea what to expect, my goals were to
    • a. make it across and
    • b. finish hard so that I was wiped coming across the finish line (I figured that when I had about .25 left, then I would push my pace as much as possible to the finish)

My motivations?

  • To use this physical challenge to grow and improve to better serve others. If I get a little better (mentally and physically) then I’ll be able to help others get a little bit better. Each time we face new challenges, we are given the opportunity to uncover more of our strength.

2009 Enviro Sports Sharkfest San Diego to Coronado Swim

My plan?

  • To have fun and enjoy the environment. To remind myself of how grateful I am to be able to take on challenges, use my body, and play in the beautiful, natural world.
  • To break it down by counting up to 12 strokes at a time. I would breathe every 3 strokes (on average) and once I reached 12 I would glance up to see if I was headed in the right direction. Of course, I fell off of this plan numerous times because of focusing on other things (smacking into people, looking for spots of blue in the sky, thinking about form, reminding myself why I’m doing this, staying grateful, wondering how far along I was), but I always brought my attention right back to the stroke count. Towards the end of the mile I looked up every 6 strokes to make sure I was going in the straightest line to the beach finish.

Some Strategies Used:

It was an incredible event and I can add it to the list of things I never thought I’d do!

What’s next for you? How are you going to get out there and challenge yourself? Is there an event you can sign up for to push your boundaries?

Comment below with your plan.



I’m Dawn Fletcher, the owner of Driven Mind. I help driven-individuals perform better and achieve greatness in all that they do.

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