>>I have one main question, without lane markers on the bottom, how does
>>one navigate a straight course? My crawl always seems to drift
>>badly to one side, most likely because I'm stronger on one side, but I
>>don't feel it. How do I solve this?
> As any triathlete will tell you, the key to swimming in a reasonably
> straight line in open water is to look up.
> What I do is every third stroke (freestyle), after I breathe, roll my
> head forward until my eyes are water level, then down; all in one
> smooth motion.
I do the same, although I look up less frequently. You need
to practice this in the pool for two reasons: 1) you need to
develop your neck muscles; and 2) you need to perform this
quickly and smoothly or your hips will drop.
> Granted, this won't correct your stroke. But, if you swim in open
> water enough, you'll get sick of correcting your direction, and eventually
> start swimming in a straight line.
What will correct your stroke is swimming in the pool with your
eyes closed. You might also examine which side you drift
toward. Is it to your breathing side? If so, bilateral breathing
will go a long way toward correcting your drift.