Open water swimming

05 June 2018

The season of open water swimming is now here and what nicer way to enjoy the benefits of swimming than to be outdoors. 

Here are a few tips to help you back into the open water or to help with your first outdoor dip.

  • Breathing to both sides is very important – this helps you navigate safely and see where other swimmers are. Practice in the pool - it does become easier.
  • Front crawl is the most efficient stroke but you also need to be able to swim breast stroke, this allows a mini rest.
  • There are no walls to push off so practice treading water in the pool and starting from that position to help in open water. The ability to tread water for several minutes is essential.
  • Practice sighting – bouys are there to guide you around a course or keep you in a safe area. Look up in front to keep on track. Check there are no black lines on the floor or lane ropes in a lake!
  • For race preparation – train at your local pool when it’s a busy session to get used to lots of arms and legs being around you. It is quite daunting when first entering the water in a race situation.
  • A correctly fitting wetsuit/trisuit makes the whole experience more pleasant. If the suit rubs your shoulders or fills up with pond water as soon as you get in, this can make the whole experience more challenging.  Well-fitting anti fog goggles are also essential.

Safety first

  • Do wear a brightly coloured hat - or two - to help keep you warm and seen
  • Do swim with other people, safety in numbers
  • Do know your area – plan you entry and exit
  • Do have a warm drink and dry clothes ready for afterwards
  • Don’t underestimate the weather and currents. Local knowledge is essential
  • Do visit for more advice and information about local areas to try open water swimming

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