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help....i have considered myself a strong swimmer up until May 2011. I have been racing in multisport now for 4 years...a competitive age grouper! Trained hard in the winter months of 2010 through March 2011 preparing myself for 70.3 Gulf coast Triathlon in Panama City Fl. Yeah! talk about a open water 1.2 mile swim....no problems what so ever, had a swim time of 36 mins. I signed up for a Olympic race 2 weeks following my 70.3....Memphis in May, the swim leg was just under a mile....no sweat. Me and my 2 training partners arrived a day early and planned to do a practice swim in the man made lake. There were quite a few other racers in the water as well. I felt very comfortable and set out for a quick out and back with my training partner at my side. About 400 yard out we decided to head back in....I turned to take a breath and gulped in water, no problem right! It's happened numerous times before...WRONG, for some reason I couldnt catch my breath, I went into a a slow breast stroke, which didnt help. I began to yell to my partner...he was a few yards ahead of me, he couldnt hear my shouting! Panic set in even more...i could not control my breathing, and as i was looking around and saw that there was no one around...I began to panic even more! I began to yell frantically to shore, hoping someone would come to my rescue! Honestly I thought I was goin' to drown...2 Triatheletes on shore saw my distress and rushed out to me...by the time they got out to me, I had calmed myself down. I was sooo embarrassed, and ashamed. i was able to swim to shore following the 2 guys that came to my rescue! I did complete the Olypic distance the very next day.....breast stroke the whole way....Long story short....I have raced in 4 Tri's since the episode, Lake swims and Gulf swims....my swim times have been greatly affected by this and I can't seem to get passed it or overcome the panic now. I was a strong swimmer and now i'm struggling to get through my races...please any advice will be taken!