Are you looking to set yourself a new challenge by moving away from the pool? Or maybe you’re interested in completing a triathlon, but are yet to take the, ahem, plunge, into open water. We investigate how to get started in open water swimming.
Whilst you don’t need to be an Olympic standard athlete to take to open water, you should at least be a competent swimmer. Unlike the pool where the water is treated with chlorine, the waters are smooth and the temperature constant, the open water leaves you open to the elements, temperatures can be cold and the water choppy. However, open water swimming is fast growing in popularity and with so many organised events now available to take part in, it’s an exciting alternative to the pool.
Swimming lessons aren’t just for kids. It’s a good idea to brush up on technique, especially if you are not the most confident. Although pool swimming isn’t the same as being in the open water, you can practise your crawl and head lifting. You will also want to improve your stroke rate; open water is cold and a faster stroke rate will help you to keep warm. Many pools and gyms offer adult swimming lessons or triathlon training sessions, so give them a call, or see best nootropics if there is a swimming club in your area.
Open water swimming is a lot of fun, but there are also safety factors to take into consideration and it’s really important to be prepared. Always check the water temperature and be sure to wear a wetsuit where necessary to keep warm. You will also want a thicker swimming hat for the same reason. You should also research your swimming location – are there currents? Can you get out of the water easily? Are there lifeguards on duty? How’s the weather? Can someone kayak alongside you for your first time out? Never swim alone. Take a note of your surroundings. Most importantly of all, once you are in the water, make sure you are relaxed and calm.
As mentioned before, a wetsuit and a thicker swimming hat to keep warm are musts. You will also want goggles to keep any debris in the water out of your eyes and so you are able to see. If you’re swimming in the sun, be sure to apply sun cream. Just because the water is cold doesn’t mean that you can’t get cold. Vaseline is also useful to prevent chafing from a wet suit and has the added bonus of helping to keep exposed skin warm.
Take a challenge
Looking for a bit of extra incentive? Why not register to take part in one of the many swim events running across the country and take on the challenge of completing a set distance in open water?
For further information on getting started in open water swimming, please visit swimming.org.